The mother of a newborn with two preschool-aged children running around, my days were crazed from dawn to dusk. When problems in the breastfeeding relationship arose, it was difficult for me to find someone highly recommended at the drop of a hat. During pregnancy, gathering resources and information on lactation consultants in your area is essential so that if problems to arise, you’ll be ready.
Get information from your doctor or midwife.
Your doctor or midwife is an excellent first stop when trying to get information on a lactation consultant in your area. They may have a list they hand out to interested patients, nurses on staff who are also International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), or recommendations from former patients. You can gather information from your doctor or midwife before baby arrives and file it away for after delivery.
Contact your local La Leche League.
Local La Leche Leagues are a wealth of information and support for breastfeeding mothers. Lactation consultants may be members of their local chapter. In addition, new mothers in the group and group leaders may have recommendations they can offer as well. First-hand recommendations from group members may be much appreciated, especially if this is your first experience with breastfeeding or a lactation consultant.
Ask friends and family members.
You may be surprised by how many women have contacted and used a lactation consultant in order to help them at one point or another in their breastfeeding relationship. Ask friends, family members, and neighbors if they have recommendations. In addition to ideas of who they would use, you may hear about lactation consultants that they wouldn’t recommend-these notes are equally important as you make your selection.
Read your insurance policy or contact your provider.
With positive health benefits of breastfeeding making news every day, insurance companies are becoming more supportive of breastfeeding mothers. Contact your insurance company for a list of lactation consultant services that are covered or that they will reimburse for. They may not have information about local lactation consultants, but this information is invaluable should you decide you need the services of an IBCLC while you are nursing.
Ask for information at the hospital.
After birth but before discharge, ask for information about lactation consultants and services in the hospital. Many hospitals have IBCLCs on staff who visit some new and breastfeeding moms when they request one. If not, the nurses on the Labor and Delivery ward may still have referrals for you to take home.
Keeping information about how to find a lactation consultant on hand makes it quick and easy to locate a local support should the need arise. If you get the support when you need it, you’re likely to continue your breastfeeding relationship even through some ups and downs.