Breastfeeding can be a beautiful experience between parent and baby, but just because it is natural, does not mean that it comes naturally; there are times when breastfeeding can feel difficult, painful and frustrating beyond belief. Thankfully, there are lactation consultants around the world determined to help parents reach their breastfeeding goals! Once you’ve realized there is an issue you can begin your search for a lactation consultant that’s perfect for your situation. “Can’t I just Google it?” you might be asking yourself - yes, but there are better resources to find lactation help online that you should look at before using a general search engine. What’s better than Googling it? Let's find out!
Before we go over the resources, let’s clarify what a lactation consultant is and when you should reach out to find one. A lactation consultant, in short, is an individual that can provide families with lactation support. Your lactation consultant should be trained to help families reach their breastfeeding goals and assess possible reasons for breastfeeding difficulties. There are a few different certifications for different levels of lactation support, but for this post we’ll be discussing two types of certifications. The first are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) and the second are Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs), and along with these titles a consultant can also have a background in other medical fields. If a parent is searching for lactation support we’d recommend the first thing they look at is the type of certification. If you are experiencing lactation problems that your primary physician and pediatrician cannot help with resolving, you should reach out to a consultant as soon as possible.
Now it’s time to find some lactation consultants to compare. There are two main directories we’d recommend to parents search for an IBCLC, and those are the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) database and the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) database. These directories allow you to view lactation support in your area, read a little about them, see the languages spoken, areas of practice, and their experience (along with more depending on the site). Try to find two or three that you feel you’ll work well with, so you can compare and pick your perfect lactation consultant.
Now it’s time for Google (all roads lead back to Google, right?)! After you pick a few lactation consultants from the directories, look them up on Google to confirm their listed details, check out their online and community reputation, and book an appointment! Be sure to write down any specific concerns and questions you may have for the consultant. Some questions you might ask are:
- What is a nipple shield, and do I need one?
- What type of breast pump would you recommend?
- Should I get a breastfeeding pillow? (Yes! You should get the littlebeam, of course!)
Now you have a couple of trustworthy and credible resources you can use to find lactation help online and we hope they come in handy on your breastfeeding journey! If you still feel that you need more lactation support, look up and reach out to your local La Leche League group to find information on local breastfeeding support groups and meetings.
Do you have other favorite resources or suggestions? Let us know by sharing with us on social media!