When should I have my first appointment with a lactation consultant?
Whether you’re expecting your first baby, or you’ve welcomed one before, visiting with an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC for short) before your baby arrives can help you prepare to breastfeed or provide expressed milk. Here are some answers to common questions about prenatal breastfeeding visits.
Why should you visit a lactation consultant before delivery?
Breastfeeding is the natural conclusion to pregnancy and birth. But “natural” doesn’t always mean “easy”! Breastfeeding is a skill that takes some time for both parent and baby to learn, and each breastfeeding pair is unique. Breastfeeding is a skill, passed along between generations, and that link has been broken for a lot of families. Education during pregnancy for lactation is one way we can continue to pass along knowledge of breastfeeding and caring for a new baby.
Prenatal breastfeeding education can take many forms such as books, breastfeeding classes, support groups like those coming to IFM, browsing trusted websites, YouTube, and talking to your midwife or provider. Another option is having a one-on-one visit with a board certified lactation consultant to discuss any specific questions or concerns you have.
What will you talk about?
During these prenatal consults, the IBCLC will cover what to expect prior to delivery, the golden hour, the first few days after birth, and may cover other topics, such as using a breast pump, depending upon what you want to know! The goal of this appointment is to help you feel prepared and increase your confidence, so your lactation expert will talk about the topics that matter most to you, after covering the basics.
Who should have a prenatal breastfeeding visit?
Anyone who is expecting a baby, no matter how long you’re planning to breastfeed or pump, can benefit from a prenatal breastfeeding visit. Partners and other support people are welcome to come along; they can ask questions and hear the same expert information, so everyone understands what to expect once your baby is born.
There are some cases where a prenatal breastfeeding visit is highly recommended:
What should you bring to the visit?
Bring your questions and concerns to us at IFM. Many people bring a written list of things they’re curious about, such as advice they’ve heard from friends or family.
If you have a breast pump, bring that along with you and we can show you how to put it together, and find the correct size flange.
Lastly, bring your nursing pillow if you have one.