How & Why to Work With a Lactation Consultant

Here’s a video that shows exactly what it’s like to work with a lactation consultant and how they can support you and your baby with breastfeeding.

Here's a video that shows exactly what it's like to work with a lactation consultant and how they can support you and your baby with breastfeeding :)

Breast milk. It does a baby good.

But what if you’re having trouble breastfeeding your baby? Where can you turn to for support, for coaching, and for some good old fashioned help?

Try working with a lactation consultant!

A lactation consultant is like a personal trainer in all things breastfeeding. As health care providers, they specialize in offering nursing assistance and education for families.

Many hospitals have lactation consultants on staff. Or you can hire one to come to your home for a personal consultation. To me, they provide “life and death” assistance, since not being able to feed your baby can be a scary emergency.

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If you have insurance, you can probably see a lactation consultant for free

Good news! It seems that the U.S. healthcare system is finally getting hip to just how helpful a lactation consultant can be. The Affordable Care Act now requires most insurance plans to cover lactation support!

You can learn more in my post, How to Get a Free Breast Pump, but the short version of the story is to call your healthcare provider and ask about lactation consultant coverage. You may be surprised to find out that this vital service is actually covered.

Just note that the exact terms of coverage (how many sessions and where they take place) are likely to vary from plan to plan—you may have to do some digging, but it’s totally worth the effort.

Looking for a lactation consultant in your area?

There are great lactation consultants in all areas of the country.

The fastest way to find an certified lactation consultant is to check the International Lactation Consultant Association’s website and enter your zip code to find one near you.

You can also ask your local La Leche League leader or Breastfeeding USA counselor for a list qualified individuals. They may even be able to give input on which lactation consultant is best for your unique situation.

Remember that lactation consultants can work in hospitals, but many have private practices. A private practice may offer home visits—a huge relief when you are struggling to feed your baby. The downside is these types of practices are less likely to be covered by insurance.

Want to learn more? Here’s a full post on how to find a lactation consultant who’s a good fit for you.

Need breastfeeding help?

I’ve got tons of resources for new breastfeeding moms who are looking for some extra pointers. Check it out below:

Breastfeeding Gets Easier (So Stick With It!) Cheat Sheet

Here are more breastfeeding resources

How about you?

Did you work with a lactation consultant? How was your experience? I’d love to hear all about your experience. Share with us in the comments below!

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

11 Comments

  1. I wish more people would post valuable content like this. This is the first time I’ve been on your website, but after this, I doubt it will be the last time.

  2.  I came across your website by chance and you have inspired me in so many ways! I’m so happy you freely share your thoughts about lactation and I’m so glad to have bumped in here, very inspiring.  Thank you!

  3. DUDE! I am so excited right now after reading this! Thaaaaankkk you!

  4. I don’t have enough milk to feed my child. So is it OK to breast feed and give formula milk immediately or do we have to wait and then give him formula milk.

  5. You’re so right in how much lactation consultants can help with breastfeeding, especially for new mothers. Great post! I’d also suggest that moms find a dentist that can properly identify tongue ties and upper lip ties in infants, as these can cause difficulty with latching and creating proper suction. Some lactation consultants are not familiar with this type of diagnosis, so it’s good to branch out to other resources.

  6. My baby is almost weaned off the breast onto cows milk. I though this was going to give me my freedom back. However today when I was cooking dinner my baby grabbed for her bottle instead of cling to me until I feed her. It hurt to see her choose her bottle over my breast. Is this normal, I was excited to wean and now that’s it’s almost at a end I’m hurt.

  7. Hey Mama Natural,
    I have a question about the first three days after the baby is born. As far as I have learned, you are not supposed to give the baby any food other than your colostrum (first milk), although my mother-in-law disagrees. What was your experience?

    Thanks so much!!!

    • Hi Larisa!

      Yes, it is VITAL that babies only receive breastmilk if possible, especially in those early days and months.

      In fact, babies do best with only breastmilk as their nourishment up to 6 months. I didn’t start solids with Griffin till then and still at 9 months the majority of his nutrients come from breastmilk. This is ideal up to his 1 year birthday when solids become more of his calories.

      Remember this is YOUR baby. Mama knows best :).

      • I completely agree with you, Genevieve!
        And your response made me even more confident in my own judgement and in the fact that nature is so smart that it wouldn’t give you a baby and nothing to feed it with in the first days of his/her life!

        Thanks

  8. our lactation consultant basically saved my life (and my sanity). one of the most patient and caring women i have ever met and i will honestly never forget her. breastfeeding was tricky at first and had me in tears more often than not and she sat next to me, helping henry re-latch, playing instructional dvds and telling my husband to run and get me some dinner 🙂

    i’m totally in love with your blog. your videos are funny and beautiful and your little griffen is so adorable. i’m excited to read more!

  9. Sharing some comments on this post from our Facebook page.

    Gina Mac Gillis-Hirt
    I needed help in the worst way…in my moment of weakness, my LC came to the rescue! I enjoyed BF and the work she did to help me. It became my long term goal to become an IBCLC and I just passed my boards. Gotta love the empowering feeling that you get when you see your little one turns into a chubby, healthy baby…ALL FROM YOU!!!

    Christina Foley
    Mine was pushy..and I ended up quitting :/

    Rachel Anne Leigh
    I saw 2 different ones and they were so tough on me I never saw either again

    La’El Pierce
    I had some MAJOR issues while nursing my first baby. Went to the doctor, she told me the pain was in my head, went to WIC and they didn’t have a Breast Feeding Peer Counselor for this area, went to LLL and they tried their best to help to …

    Jessamina Longislandgoddess
    A good LC can be a real Goddess of Mercy…after bf 3 kids, I thought i knew it all!!! No! I had a clogged duct that my midwife said would go away, don’t worry..I had it for 3 weeks after that..LC had my boob all better in 2 days. luv her.


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