27 Aug Q & A with Midwife & Lactation Consultant Georgina Campbell
What is a lactation consultant?
A Lactation Consultant is a breast feeding specialist who is trained to educate mothers how to breastfeed their new babies. Some lactation consultants are midwives, like I am, and others are passionate mothers who have decided to specialise in lactation. Lactation Consultants assist in navigating any breast feeding challenges such as difficulty attaching baby, feeding premature babies once out of hospital, twins and issues with milk supply (too much or not enough).
To become a qualified Lactation Consultant, you need to have years of breast feeding experience and must pass an exam set by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.
When should I seek the support of a lactation consultant?
Breastfeeding is not always easy, and a Lactation Consultant works with women and their families to help and support breastfeeding when they are experiencing problems, such as latching difficulties, painful nursing, and milk supply.
Lactation consultants can also provide advice and assist with babies who aren’t thriving or gaining weight and for babies who are premature or sick and spent time in Special Care or NICU (neonatal Intensive Care Unit) and need additional support to establish lactation and thrive.
How do I find a lactation consultant?
Finding a Lactation Consultant is easy. You can look up the LCANZ website (https://www.lcanz.org/find-a-lactation-consultant/) to look for a Lactation Consultant in your area, google search Lactation Consultants or ask your Maternal Child and Health Nurse to point you in the right direction.
What are some of the common problems you see as a lactation consultant?
The most common breast feeding problem I generally come across is issues with latch and painful breast feeding. For many of us we never witnessed our mothers, aunties, cousins or sisters breast feed. So when a new mum begins her own journey into parenthood, she (along with her baby) has to learn everything from scratch. This can be a very steep learning curve for both the mother and her baby. Fortunately, persistence is key! If you are patient and persistent with yourself and your baby, with the right advice and support most women can successfully learn to feed their babies!
What’s your top piece of advice for breast-feeding mums?
Patience. Persistence. Practice. …repeat!
Breast feeding takes time. It takes about 6 weeks to establish. In that time there are so many changes happening both physically and mentally for mother and the baby, and there are a lot of new skills to learn.
Be Patient with yourself and your baby, no one can learn to be a master of anything first go.
Be Persistent. Sometimes it feels easier to give up on the whole thing rather than continuing the journey. Mother’s milk is the best food you can give to your baby. It is perfect for every stage of baby’s development and is unique to each mum and bub. No one else can provide this nourishment for your baby the way you can! Breast feeding also gives mum and bub a quiet time together where they can bond, get to know each other and have private “conversations”!
Practice. Practice. Practice! Breast feeding is a learnt skill! I can’t stress this enough. It is important to remember that. Learning any new skill has its challenges and successes, breast feeding is no different in that regard. Getting expert advice antenatally and/or postnatally from your midwife or Lactation Consultant can go a long way to ensuring you learn the right skills to feed your baby!
As a Lactation Consultant and Midwife, being able to help women to feed their babies is one of the most beautiful and fulfilling aspects of my career. I feel honoured that I am able to share this small (but GIANT) step in a new family’s journey together.
Georgina can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or check out her Facebook page here.
Thank you to Mammapillo and Chloe Cook @thecookieclan for the beautiful image.