When to Consider Seeing a Lactation Consultant

Contributing Blog Author: Robyn Price, RD, CBS

 

 Robyn Price is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Breastfeeding Specialist and mother of two. Robyn graduated with two degrees in Nutrition and in Physiology and Pharmacology from the University of Saskatchewan, and currently operates her private practice online Canada-wide. She centers her practice on educating and empowering mothers in nourishing themselves and their baby and reaching their breastfeeding goals. Follow Robyn on Instagram for free information, tips, and recipes for mothers and breastfeeding supporters! @breastfeeding.dietitian

 

When you’re breastfeeding, sometimes you run into issues. Knowing when the time calls for one-on-one help will ensure that you can overcome the challenge!

WHEN BREASTFEEDING HURTS

Pain during breastfeeding is not normal. Not even in the beginning. Maybe there CAN be a sense of discomfort though, as this is a new feeling for your body. So, what is the difference between discomfort and pain? If you catch yourself feeling like you have any wincing, toe curling, or negative anticipation of your baby latching… time to get checked out. An improper latch is often the culprit of pain, but others can be thrush, tongue tie, milk blebs, nipple damage, vasospasm, mastitis or even an overactive letdown that makes baby want to clamp down. Whatever the cause, all of them can be solvable, mama!

WHEN DIAPER COUNTS ARE LOW

A tell tale sign of whether your baby is getting enough breastmilk is their diaper output. What goes in, must come out! When your baby is not reaching these numbers, it’s a sign something is up with breastfeeding. By day 5 of life your baby should have at least 3 yellow “loonie” size poops per day and at least 6 wet diapers.

WHEN YOUR BABY IS NOT GAINING WEIGHT

Your baby’s growth rate is the fastest it will ever be in their lifetime. Most will double their birth weight by six months and triple it by one year. It is normal for your baby to lose weight in the beginning (mostly fluids), but they should gain regularly from day 4 onwards, reach their birthweight by day 14 and settle into their own growth curve. Weight gain is happening daily, but it may be too small to measure on your home scale. If this is not happening, this calls for some investigation.

WHEN YOU ARE SUPPLEMENTING

Sometimes babies need help and have to be supplemented. That is okay and thank goodness we have safe options. Depending on the reasons for supplementing, a lactation consultant can help. Maybe exclusive breastfeeding is part of your goals and you want to return to it. Maybe you have low milk supply and want to increase your milk production. Maybe you combination feed and just want to maintain what milk supply you have. Whatever your situation with supplementing, a lactation consultant should be part of the team.

WHEN THINGS ARE NOT FEELING RIGHT

Okay so this one is a catch all, but it’s also a reminder to trust your mama gut when something doesn’t feel right. Why? Because you know your baby best. Maybe you’re experiencing some of these “not normal” breastfeeding situations where your baby...
  • ...constantly feeds. Like 24/7.
  • ...does not wake to feed, not cue to feed, or feeds less than 8 times in 24 hours.
  • ...tires out at the beginning of every feed.
  • ...has reflux symptoms like excessively spitting up, vomiting and recurring respiratory infections.
  • ...has swallowing issues like choking, coughing, uncoordinated suck/swallow/breathe, messy, or any physical abnormalities (tongue ties, high palate, cleft lips/palates, etc.).
 When something doesn't feel right, don’t hesitate to reach out for help, mama. A lactation consultant works with you to get to the bottom of what is going on so you can reach your breastfeeding goals.

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