Edited on 6/11/17, to add a seventh reason (out of 5,473) ;)
By Laura María Gruber, IBCLC
Not every mother experiencing a breastfeeding issue needs an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), but those who do may not know that they have options with regard to where they go they go for expert support. One type of IBCLC that many families don't know about is the lactation consultant who practices outside of hospitals and free breastfeeding clinics. In fact, these lactation consultants can often be found in the very comfort of a mother's home (or in the sweet comfort of their own private cozy clinic).
In this blog, I offer six reasons why hiring a private-practice lactation consultant can be worth their weight in gold (liquid gold, that is).
#1. Lactation consultants in private-practice spend sooo much time with you.
Because we aren't bound by hospital or government agency budgets (or the volume of clients), private-practice lactation consultants are able to spend time with breastfeeding families. Most private-practice lactation consultants spend two to two and a half hours in your home (and about one to one and a half hours in our cozy offices). We spend our time with you gathering everything we need to know to help you us create a plan for you to meet your breastfeeding goal.
#2. We understand that grumpy nipples and hungry babies can't wait.
Most private-practice lactation consultants have the life-logistics to be able see you relatively soon after you reach out to them. Although we do enjoy our family-time and have boundaries just like anyone else, you don't usually have to wait until Monday at 8 to call us. In fact, many (not all) private-practice lactation consultants will see you during evening, weekends and some holidays.
#3. We very often work with mothers and babies where they breastfeed the most--in their home.
Private-practice lactation consultants who do home visits are able to assess a mother's breastfeeding exactly where it happens most. Again, being able to work with a client in her own space, on her own furniture and around those who support her is important to help a mother nurse confidently.
#4. We get to know your family.
Most of us who do home-visits want your partner, mother, mother-in-law, sister, friend, or family dog to be present during the consult because they're exactly who you will breastfeed around when we leave. With your permission, we involve family members in our teaching, and spending time with your household helps us identify and work with any family members needing extra help in the breastfeeding-supportiveness department. ;)
#5. We know your birth and breastfeeding community better than you do...and we can teach you to navigate it wisely.
Private-practice lactation consultants know their birth and breastfeeding community exceptionally well. Since we are mostly self-employed, we are able to make the time to get to know community physicians, midwives, pharmacies, chiropractors, mommy groups, etc.. And because we know who does what in our communities it's often private-practice lactation consultants who can help clients with things like locating weekend breast-pump rentals, or can help clients locate niche professionals, like licensed herbalists or infant masseuses who support breastfeeding.
And finally, based on the comments of the hundreds of families I've worked with...
#6. We can be that one reliable and steady opinion about your breastfeeding.
Private-practice lactation consultants are available to families from pregnancy (usually via group or private breastfeeding classes) through the weaning season. We see clients as often as they need us, and most of us support mothers through all of their babies' breastfeeding seasons.
So there you have it, the top six reasons why spending time with a private-practice IBCLC is worth it's weight in gold (I mean liquid gold!).
To read more about why lactation consultants are valuable to mothers, visit this awesome article from BestforBabes.com: http://www.bestforbabes.org/are-lactation-consultants-too-pricey/
If you're a mom wanting to experience breastfeeding support from a private-practice lactation consultant and if you're in San Antonio, just tell me when and where, and I'll be there. If you're far away and don't have an IBCLC nearby or available to you, know that I can see you and your baby virtually.
To find a private-practice lactation consultant, you can type in "private-practice IBCLC _________" (the blank is for the name of your city or zip) in to your browser. ILCA's Find-A-Lactation-Consultant search tool is also helpful, though not all private-practice lactation consultants are members of ILCA, so they may not be listed.
If this blog has helped you or could help others, please share! ??