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Did you know that Breastfeeding Housecalls (yours truly) teaches *free* monthly breastfeeding classes for groups of birth professionals' clients?
If you're a doula, childbirth educator, midwife or physician and have multiple clients needing a breastfeeding class, let me know!
November's class was for TranquilSeasons.com, and this upcoming class is for Journey to Motherhood (SanAntonioMotherhood.com)! Most classes have space for moms from the general public, too! Class time is 10-12 pm this upcoming Sat, and will be located at my office, @ 15303 Huebner Rd. Bldg 15, San Antonio, TX 78248.
To register for a class, please RSVP by emailing your name and phone number to Laura @ breastfeeding firstname.lastname@example.org.
The acronym IBCLC stands for "International Board Certified Lactation Consultant", an allied healthcare professional who has robust hands-on training and education in evidence-based breastfeeding management. An IBCLCs preparation and practice is governed by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. IBCLCs are experts in anticipating and preventing breastfeeding issues, and they help families restore breastfeeding when issues present throughout the duration (no matter how long) of a family's breastfeeding season. For this reason, IBCLCs are relied upon by obstetric, midwifery, pediatric, pediatric dentistry, speech pathology, and neonatology providers. In addition, community breastfeeding supporters such as support group leaders, breastfeeding peer counselors, doulas, etc. refer families to IBCLCs routinely.
Where do IBCLCs usually practice?
Just like other healthcare providers, IBCLCs practice in different settings.
To find an IBCLC in your area, enter "IBCLC (your city or zip code name here)" in to a search engine.
Important: Not everyone who says they're a lactation consultant is an international board-certified lactation consultant (which ensures they are trained to what the
US Surgeon General considers the gold standard of lactation training). If you have questions about whether or not someone is certified as an IBCLC, you may visit www.IBLCE.org to verify their certification status.
Interesting facts about IBCLCs:
Who can be an IBCLC?
A IBCLC can be any person (yes, men and women who have never been mothers can be breastfeeding experts, just like they can be obstetricians and midwives) who is serious about committing time to pursuing the education required to sit for the IBCLC Board Exam (which takes about 2-5 years to prepare for). Although many IBCLCs have a healthcare background, or a degree, neither is currently required to qualify to sit for the exam. Candidates should, however, expect to work hard via an internship, possibly returning to college or university, and taking lactation-specific classes. To learn even more about becoming an IBCLC, visit the IBLCE's Certify page.
Families and providers alike can rely on the skills and critical-thinking skills of IBCLCs. Where most providers can take on only a mother, or only a baby as a patient, IBCLCs are very experienced and able to care for both a mother and her baby. An IBCLC will understand the intricate relationship and dependance that one has on the other, and will help you troubleshoot and balance your breastfeeding.
If you are in San Antonio or surrounding areas and feel like your breastfeeding relationship needs balancing, Laura Gruber, IBCLC can help.
IBCLCs provide breastfeeding families
Lactation Consultant’s Advice about Choosing the Right Doctor for Your Baby (no matter your planned birth-setting)...Read Now
This article is based on my professional experience working with new parents in the communities which I lovingly serve (San Antonio, Texas USA and its surrounding rural areas). It's possible that other parts of the US or other countries have different models of healthcare than the relationships represented in this article (pediatricians, midwives, general practice doctors and lactation consultants).
The thoughts shared below are based on my experiences with the referral of mothers and babies to their healthcare professionals when clinical scenarios present to me during lactation consultations. In order to prevent bias toward any genre of providers, no physician, midwife or other lactation consultant was directly involved in the writing or review of this article,.
My hope is that the following thoughts are insightful to parents seeking to build life-long relationships with providers who support them and their babies.
Choose a Doctor Who Supports Your Family's Health Goals
One of the most important things that expectant parents can do is choose their baby's doctor well before their sweet baby arrives, even when planning on birthing with a midwife (more on this below). Many parents don't realize that they don't have to wait until their insurance company, hospital or midwife provides them with a list of pediatricians (a list not usually given to parents until after baby is born). In fact, by doing their homework about doctors prenatally, parents will have time to think about what matters most to them and be able to make an educated choice about the providers who will support them.
Discovering Your Family's Health Values
Your pregnancy (or your baby's gestation, if you are adopting) has given you a few months to think about your growing family's future health. If you haven't already talked to your partner or other support people about health topics that are important to your family, as soon as possible is the right time. Educating yourself about health topics and defining your health values will prove very important to choosing your baby's doctor.
What are health values?
Your health values are those things that are important to you and your family when it comes to health and wellness, and these values are different for every family. For example, when it comes to babies some families will discuss vaccinations, circumcision, the family's diet, a mother's breastfeeding goals, and even the what-ifs of childhood (discipline/behavior or adolescent issues). Once you and your partner or support person have talked about what is most important, it will be easier to ask your friends and community for referrals to providers who will support you (much more about about how to do this in just a bit).
Valid points to ponder...
Choose your baby's providers based on their ability to support all of your family's health goals, not just one or two of your health goals.
Choosing a Doctor Who Supports Your Breastfeeding Goals
Ideally, because breastfeeding is still relatively new to our chapter in humanity, in addition to the health topics discussed above, it is wise that breastfeeding families choose a physician (or midwife for care during baby's first weeks) who has taken the time to update their practice with contemporary and evidence-based breastfeeding management skills. If your doctor or midwife is not also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (most are not, and that's ok) it is important that he or she have access to or knowledge about resources that offer prompt care from International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) as a supplement to their medical care and guidance. IBCLCs are breastfeeding experts who help troubleshoot and improve breastfeeding and will provide information about your baby's feeds which is helpful to doctors.
Remember, you doctor or midwife doesn't have to be a breastfeeding expert, but knowing who to refer you to when a breastfeeding expert is needed is an important aspect to consider when choosing a provider for your baby.
Does this advice apply to me since I plan on using a midwife as my newborn's healthcare provider?
Yes! It absolutely applies!
In the same way that parents who deliver with a midwife prepare a Plan B for birth (in case of a hospital transfer) there is a lot of wisdom in asking your midwife for referrals in selecting a doctor just in case your baby needs one during the early days. Midwives can be an excellent referral source for families seeking like-minded physicians. In fact, there are two points when families who see midwives will need to have their baby's care transferred to a doctor.
These two points during midwifery care are:
Remember that selecting a doctor for your baby "just in case" won't mean that your baby won't continue seeing your midwife for their healthy and normal newborn care. It simply means that you will be prepared when your midwife is ready to transfer your baby's healthcare to a doctor. Also, rest assured that just because your baby has to see a doctor during your early weeks for medical reasons, doesn’t mean you can’t resume care with your midwife until baby is old enough to graduate out of their care.
Some important things to think about:
• Emergency Rooms: Not being registered with a doctor's practice can cause parents to be routed to a hospital emergency room for their baby's routine and non-emergency medical care--although in cases of emergencies babies should always be taken to emergency rooms for evaluation and treatment. Being registered with a doctor (yes, this could involve taking baby in at least once to the doctor's office so that there is an established patient-provider relationship) would allow parents to be able to call their doctor in cases or non-emergencies, instead of being seen at an emergency room for non-emergencies. Most doctors who have not yet seen baby at least once will not offer medical advice over the phone, and will refer families to emergency rooms.
• Other Providers: Other healthcare providers often require families to be on-record with a physician in case clinical situations arise during their care for which a report or a referral is necessary. For example, speech pathologists and lactation consultants are examples of healthcare professionals who work with babies who may require that a baby have a doctor.
Finally, here are some TIPS that can help you pick the right doctor for your baby:
Questions to Ask Your Baby's Doctor
Below are are some questions (mostly about breastfeeding, but can be insightful for all parents) to ask your baby's doctor. Having attended a breastfeeding class during your pregnancy can help your understanding of contemporary breastfeeding practices, something which will be helpful when asking your future pediatrician about their breastfeeding supportiveness. If you haven’t yet taken a breastfeeding class, now would also be a good time to register for one.
Questions about breastfeeding to ask your baby's doctor:
Remember, the only "right" answers to these questions are the answers that most closely match your family's health values.
And, here are some additional points to ponder when choosing a provider:
Remember that you will be seeing your baby's doctor during your baby's first days, first months, throughout their first year--and of course, every single time you have a medical question or concern about your baby (which will be frequently, trust me). Needless to say, your baby's doctor will be a very big part of your baby's life (and of yours) so taking the time to choose them wisely will be one of the most important choices you will make for your baby's future health!
If you found this advice helpful, make sure to share it with your friends! 💜
Sharing is caring! Please share or print this article for educational purposes, but please do not copy/paste or take any parts of it as your own.
As a lactation consultant whose business phone number comes up on Google 24/7, I would selfishly rather that you not drink, smoke or get high during the holidays...because then you call me.
You see, I get calls and texts every single year the morning after Thanksgiving, on Christmas morning and on New Year's morning from moms or concerned family members. These calls wake me up, or come in as I'm sitting down with my kiddos around the tree. They come to my business phone (which is linked to my personal cell phone that never shuts off because, well, babies) from new moms (or from mother-in-laws demonizing their imbibing DILs) asking if a "a friends" baby can still breastfeed after she has had a "half a glass of wine", or after having had "just a few puffs from a cigarette", or after having "not inhaled after having just one puff". Mmmm hmmmm.
Most of these are sweet yet remorseful moms (or MILs looking to get dirt on your amazing DIL) in all-out google/panic-mode, and sadly this is the one morning (ok, three mornings) per year, so you just might be one of these mamas, please (pretty please), read on...
(rant over, btw)
Tips for Preparing to Party
With so much love for you and your little gobbler...
laura m gruber