“Why would I call an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) after I’ve had my baby in the hospital?” “Isn’t there a Lactation Consultant in the hospital to help me with breastfeeding?” These are excellent questions to ask! It is so essential to inform yourself of your options. I encourage you take a look at the hospital you’re planning on giving birth in and see what best fits your laboring, birthing, and breastfeeding needs. This includes taking a look at your breastfeeding support options in the hospital.
Things to look for in a hospital that will help breastfeeding get off to a good start:
- The hospital is a Baby Friendly Hospital (BFH) http://www.babyfriendlyusa.org/ or is going through the steps to become a BFH
- They allow rooming-in with your baby
- Says things like “Family Centered” or “Home like atmosphere”
- Take a look at the hospital’s website and look for lactation or breastfeeding information to see what type of services they offer
- They offer breastfeeding classes or support meetings
- They have an IBCLC on staff to help you with positioning and latching your baby
What is likely to expect in the hospital from a Hospital Lactation Consultant (LC):
- Ideally she is there for that initial breastfeeding to help you know what good positioning and latching looks like with your baby
- She will help you learn the signs of good sucking and swallowing, to know if your baby is nursing efficiently at the breast
- Ideally, you can call on the LC if you run into any breastfeeding issues and she can help give you suggestions to help adjust
- She may show you breastfeeding videos and give you information sheets on different breastfeeding topics to help you get off to a good start
- She will keep an eye on how many times your baby is nursing, wet and poopy diapers, and weight gain or loss to help her determine how your baby is nursing
- The LC on staff will likely be the only LC there at the time you are
- She will need to take care of all other mother’s on the maternity ward, which means she may have only 15-20 mins with you at a time
- She will need to follow current hospital policies which may or may not be beneficial to breastfeeding (depending on the hospitals Lactation training)
Why call me while you’re still in the hospital?
- I have years of Lactation training and experience
- I will give you longer one on one time to work on anything you may need to help get breastfeeding off to a good start
- If there are complications from birth and your baby needs to be separated from you, I will provide you with all the information you need to ensure your milk supply is safeguarded and best steps you can take to keep your baby at the breast
- Hospital policy can get in the way of breastfeeding. I will give you suggestions that best suit you and your baby’s needs at the time and help you talk to the hospital staff about how to implement these suggestions. This will help protect your breastfeeding efforts.
- I can be available when the Lactation Consultant in the hospital is not available
- I will help you feel more at ease giving you extra support, information, and peace of mind that all is well, and you can do this!
Get informed, trust your intuition, do what’s best for your family!
Melissa Preitauer, IBCLC