Lactation / Breastfeeding

Why It’s Important to See a Lactation Consultant?

When a baby is on the way, labor and delivery tend to occupy the minds of expectant parents the most. And they almost overlook the fact that breastfeeding is a new journey beginning after childbirth that requires proper education and training to deal with the challenge of getting a baby latched on to the breast, empowering mommy to make an informed decision about breastfeeding, etc. and enabling her to effectively address lactation issues such as decreasing milk production and pain in the breast.

It may hold true for many women who decide to discontinue breastfeeding merely owing to discomfort and pain issues that can otherwise be addressed quite effectively with some help and support from a Lactation Consultant. It is when seeing a Lactation Consultant can offer much-needed relief from a potentially stressful state by answering questions that mothers may have, assessing them for any breastfeeding problems, and giving them advice tailored to the mother’s and baby’s needs and preferences. Seeing a Lactation Consultant ensures that both mother and baby have optimal breastfeeding outcomes.

Breastfeeding often comes with many ups and downs while both mom and baby are learning, a lactation consultant can also serve as an important source of emotional support for new parents who may be struggling.

What does a Lactation Consultant do?

While WHO recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life, followed by continued breastfeeding along with the introduction of complementary foods until the baby is at least 2 years old, evidence from studies suggests that many women stopped breastfeeding earlier than a recommended duration. Why? Well, this can happen for a number of reasons besides the mother’s preference for a bottle feed to comfort herself. Some of the reasons why women stop breastfeeding are:

  • Poor milk production
  • Over milk production
  • Breast pain
  • Sore nipples
  • Trouble with latching
  • Finding a comfortable nursing position
  • Refusal to feed
  • Poor infant weight gain
  • Falling asleep at the breast
  • Infant nursing strikes
  • Problems pumping breastmilk
  • Engorgement
  • Blocked ducts
  • Preparing to go back to work

Only an LC can help address the above-listed problems. A Lactation Consultant is a trained professional who can help new parents and their babies overcome breastfeeding challenges which often helps with a longer duration of breastfeeding.

When is the Best Time to Meet a Lactation Consultant?

People see Lactation Consultants at different points during pregnancy, post-delivery, and breastfeeding. How frequently you should visit the professional can vary, based on your individual needs. However, studies show that consulting with an LC can have a positive impact on breastfeeding duration. We are here for you.

During Pregnancy

Here at American Hospital Dubai, you can meet an LC in your pregnancy during antenatal classes or after your appointment with OB/GYN, if you need.

In our parent education classes held on Saturday morning, we help mothers-to-be build confidence and gain knowledge on what to expect after birth, including:

  • How to identify when baby is hungry
  • How to maintain a healthy breast milk supply
  • When to look for help, and much more!

You can also meet a Lactation Consultant in case you are interested in the Antenatal Expression of Colostrum, which will help you to have your own supply in case the baby will need a little more extra calories during the first days of life.

During the Hospital Stay

You will be assisted in the hospital by midwives and nurses and seen by a Lactation Consultant multiple times who will explain the best practices to follow while breastfeeding your child.

After hospital Discharge When Issues Arise

After getting discharged from the hospital, some women seek the help of an LC to ensure that they are on the right track while breastfeeding, or if there is any concern regarding milk supply. The trained professional can determine if any adjustments are needed and help address any concerns you have about how breastfeeding is progressing.

Remember that even if you see a Lactation Consultant during your stay in the hospital, problems that didn’t exist in the beginning may suddenly appear at any time during breastfeeding. It’s important to have support when questions or breastfeeding issues come up, and a Lactation Specialist is the right person to call in those cases.

You should not hesitate to contact your Lactation Expert. If you have problems that do not go away or don’t get better, it’s important to reach out to them so that your issues can be addressed promptly. The sooner you can treat and resolve breastfeeding issues, the better it will be for you and your baby.

Here at American Hospital Dubai, you can schedule your visit to our Lactation Clinic by calling 800-24392 or sending an email to Wendy Menghini or Lesley Steyn

What You Should Expect During a Lactation Consultation:

During your initial meeting, a Lactation Consultant will require information about you and your baby’s health, as well as your pregnancy and delivery. They will want to know your baby’s birth weight, any changes in weight since then, and your family health history.

They will want to know how the baby has been breastfeeding, how many wet diapers your baby is having each day, information about your baby’s bowel movements, and any specific concerns that you may have.

Clinically, the Lactation Consultant will:

  • Assess baby’s appearance and behavior
  • Examine your breasts and nipples
  • Monitor your baby as they’re breastfeeding and adjust your breastfeeding position if need be
  • Check whether or not the baby is latching on, sucking, swallowing, and breathing properly
  • Correct any breastfeeding problems that are present
  • Give you advice and guidance to follow
  • Explain how to get in touch with them for additional help or questions

Breastfeeding is a very personal experience and you should not compare yourself with anyone else or even with your previous feeding experiences. Some mothers will go on with feeding without any issues, others will feed for a few weeks and some for months or a year or more. Some not at all - every mum and baby deserves the option of what feels right for them. We value and respect everyone’s preferences, and support them along the feeding journey. Ultimately, our primary aim is to see happy and fulfilled MUMS AND BABIES. We are here for you whenever you need us.