Lactation Consulting

Lactation consultants (LCs) are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) who can be a tremendous resource for anyone on their breast feeding, bottle feeding, or combination feeding journey. Whether you’re a first-time parent or facing challenges with an established breastfeeding routine, LCs can provide guidance, support, and expert advice. Here’s a breakdown of how they can help:

Getting Started on the Right Foot:

  • Prenatal Support: Even before your baby arrives, an LC can address any questions or anxieties you have about breastfeeding. They can teach you about positioning, latching, and newborn feeding cues.
  • Postpartum Support: In the early days after delivery, when breastfeeding is often being established, an LC can be a lifesaver. They can help you achieve a comfortable and effective latch for your baby, troubleshoot feeding difficulties, and ensure your baby is getting enough milk.

Overcoming Common Challenges:

  • Low Milk Supply: If you’re worried about your milk supply, an LC can assess the situation and offer personalized advice to increase production. This may involve techniques like pumping, power feeding, and herbal remedies (always consult your doctor before using herbs while breastfeeding).
  • Sore Nipples and Pain: Breastfeeding shouldn’t be painful. An LC can identify the cause of nipple pain, such as latch issues or incorrect positioning, and suggest solutions to make breastfeeding more comfortable.
  • Tongue and Lip Ties: An LC can assess your baby for tongue and lip ties, which can hinder effective breastfeeding. They can collaborate with you and a healthcare professional to determine if a frenectomy (surgical release of the tie) is necessary.

Understanding Lip and Tongue Ties:

  • Lip and tongue ties are frenula (small folds of tissue) that are unusually tight or short, potentially restricting a baby’s tongue and lip movement during breastfeeding.
  • These specialists understand the impact of these ties on breastfeeding mechanics, such as latching, sucking, and milk transfer.

Assessment and Support:

  • They can perform a visual and functional oral assessment of your baby to identify potential lip or tongue tie issues.
  • During a feeding observation, they will assess your baby’s latch, suck, and transfer of milk to see if these ties might be hindering breastfeeding success.
  • They can discuss the potential benefits and risks of a frenectomy (surgical release of a tie) and collaborate with you to develop a personalized feeding plan.

Benefits of a Lactation Consultant with Lip and Tongue Tie Specialty:

  • Early identification and support can lead to a more successful breastfeeding journey.
  • They can help you achieve a comfortable and effective latch for your baby.
  • They can address any underlying issues caused by the ties, such as low milk supply or nipple pain.
  • They can offer guidance and support throughout the breastfeeding process, even if you choose to have a frenectomy performed.


Safe and Effective Introduction of Bottles:

  • Timing is Key: LCs can advise on the best time to introduce a bottle, considering factors like breastfeeding establishment and your baby’s feeding needs.
  • Nipple Selection: They can help you choose a bottle nipple that mimics the feel and flow of your breast to minimize nipple confusion, which can lead to bottle rejection.
  • Pacing Techniques: An LC can teach you paced bottle-feeding techniques to ensure your baby gets milk at a similar rate as they would at the breast, preventing overfeeding.

Maintaining Milk Supply:

  • Pumping Strategies: If you plan to pump to maintain your milk supply while bottle-feeding, an LC can show you proper pumping techniques to maximize milk output.
  • Scheduling and Efficiency: They can help you create a pumping schedule that complements your feeding routine and ensure efficient milk removal to maintain supply.

Combination Feeding Support:

  • Latch Assessment: An LC can assess your baby’s latch on the breast to ensure comfort and effective milk transfer, even if you’re also bottle-feeding.
  • Positioning and Comfort: They can provide guidance on positioning techniques for both breast and bottle feeding to ensure your baby’s comfort and efficient feeding.
  • Troubleshooting Challenges: If you encounter difficulties like nipple preference, inconsistent milk intake, or low supply while combining feeding methods, an LC can help troubleshoot and develop solutions.

Additional Support:

  • Emotional Support: Combining feeding methods can be a personal decision and may come with emotional challenges. An LC can offer support and guidance to navigate these feelings.
  • Communication and Planning: They can help you communicate effectively with your partner or caregivers about feeding responsibilities and create a plan that works for everyone involved.

Important Considerations:

  • Not all lactation consultants have specialized training in lip and tongue ties. Look for an IBCLC with additional training or experience in this area.

While they can assess and support breastfeeding with suspected ties, they cannot diagnose them definitively. They may collaborate with a pediatrician, frenotomy provider, or other healthcare professional for diagnosis and potential treatment.