6 questions to ask when choosing an online lactation consultant

Guest article provided by: imama.us

New motherhood is one of the most unique times in a woman’s life. Emotions can swing from the thrill of a new baby’s smell to the desperation of sleepless nights and the pain of chafed nipples. 

In addition, times have changed. More and more women are working from home and seeking help from home as well. (Who hasn’t looked up “counseling virtual” at least once?..)

Suddenly, instead of searching for local music venues and fun restaurants, new mothers are googling certified lactation consultants and breastfeeding resources. 

Today, 92% of pregnant moms intend to breastfeed their baby. Breastfeeding benefits are clear for mothers: faster weight loss after birth, less postpartum bleeding and less risk of depression, among others. Research shows that breastfed babies have fewer illnesses and have stronger immune systems. 

But postpartum life is difficult for many new moms, and as many as 70% struggle with establishing breastfeeding patterns in addition to emotional realities such as the baby blues, depression and feelings of failure that all affect maternal bonding. Timely breastfeeding help can be the key difference between continuing to breastfeed and abandoning it. The good news is that help is closer than ever! 

Online lactation consultants are a lifesaver to busy moms that need help right away. An online lactation consult may be right for you:

-If you need help urgently 

-If you don’t have access to a lactation consultant in your area

-If you don’t want to expose your baby to illness 

-If you have time constraints 

-If you prefer the convenience of your own home

1. What does a lactation consultant do? 

The breastfeeding specialist can help you with:

 -Latching problems and fussiness at the breast. 

 -Milk supply: increasing or decreasing it

 -Lactation aids 

 -Baby weight loss or inadequate weight gain 

 -Breast engorgement, blocked ducts and sore nipples

 -Nutrition support while breastfeeding 

 -Baby-led weaning

 -Exclusive pumping and going back to work 

 -Other breastfeeding information and education 

2. Is the lactation specialist trained?

Finding a certified lactation consultant is simple, just look for the abbreviation IBCLC – that means “International Board Certified Lactation Consultant”. You can go to the ILCA.org website and enter your zip code to find one near you. These certified lactation consultants receive advanced education in health, and specialized breastfeeding training, and then they have to pass the exam to become certified. They also have hundreds of hours of breastfeeding support experience.

There are other types of breastfeeding consultants and educators like CLC’s (certified lactation counselors), but their training is more limited. They do provide valuable support and breastfeeding information, but they might only be able to help mothers with simple breastfeeding problems.

3. Are online breastfeeding consultations safe and reliable? 

If you are looking for a virtual lactation specialist make sure the online platform they use is secure. HIPAA is a federal law that requires protection of sensitive patient health information. Zoom is not HIPAA-compliant! Is Skype secure for telemedicine? No, and neither is FaceTime. Certified lactation consultants must use a secure online telehealth platform. 

4. Does the lactation consultant support your choices and your breastfeeding goals? 

Does she take the time to ask questions and listen to you?

 You could look at her website if she has one. In addition, local reviews might be very helpful. 

5. How much do lactation consultations cost? 

An in-person consultation with an IBCLC generally lasts an hour and may range in price from $150 to $350 depending on where you live. 

That is why online options might be a more budget-friendly alternative without losing quality. Services such as iMama Lactation Consultations https://imama.us are very helpful to find an online consultant that works for you. 

6. What are the pros and cons of online lactation consultations and telehealth?

Telehealth consultations offer convenience, lower prices, time savings and reduction in spread of illness. However, as in all cases of telehealth, if there are serious health concerns, then the online consultant may refer you to a local in-person certified lactation consultant. 

Ultimately, remember that you are not alone, and help is near. An online lactation consultant is often just a phone call away.