Babies & newborns Featured

Breastfeeding? Here’s when to call a lactation consultant

A woman breastfeeding her baby.
Sue Hermann
Written by Sue Hermann

As healthcare professionals specializing in helping mothers to breastfeed their babies, lactation consultants have the privilege of being with women and their families during an exciting time of their lives.

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, also known as IBCLCs, help women who are experiencing breastfeeding problems such as latching difficulties, painful breastfeeding and low milk supply. Lactation consultants provide women with information about pumping and storing breastmilk when they are returning to work or school, and also help women if their babies are not gaining enough weight.

For breastfeeding women with questions or having issues, they can provide a unique body of knowledge and skill in routine and high-risk situations. Ultimately, this improves breastfeeding outcomes.

Many families want to know, “When should I call a lactation consultant?” You should call if you:

  • have difficulty latching your baby;
  • experience pain while breastfeeding;
  • notice unusual lumps or redness in your breast;
  • think your milk supply is low;
  • are concerned about medications and breastfeeding;
  • need help with weaning;
  • need help with returning to work or school, or;
  • have any questions or concerns about breastfeeding

Lactation consultants can also help if your baby:

  • breastfeeds less than 8 times in 24 hours in the first 6 weeks;
  • is not having 5-6 wet diapers in 24 hours in the first 6 weeks;
  • is not gaining enough weight or you are worried about your baby’s weight, or;
  • seems fussy at your breast or refuses to breastfeed.

You’ll find International Board Certified Lactation Consultants working in a variety of places including hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices, some have their own private practice.

They can assess you and your baby breastfeeding and then provide you with helpful strategies for your specific situation.

It’s normal to have questions and concerns during breastfeeding. To find a lactation consultant in your area, please visit the International Lactation Consultant Association.

If you are a health care practitioner, please visit our Breastfeeding Centre of Excellence.

Another great reference can be found at on the International Lactation Consultant Association’s website.

About the author

Sue Hermann

Sue Hermann

Sue Hermann, master’s prepared nurse, is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and coordinator of Sunnybrook’s Breastfeeding Clinic.

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