Breastfeeding is a natural but tricky business. It’s important to surround yourself with people and resources that will help you through the experience. Lactation Consultants like myself can be valuable for new and experienced moms, in any stage of breastfeeding. A Lactation Consultant is usually a nurse with specialized education in helping moms and babies to breastfeed. They provide a variety of services, including these four:
If a Lactation Consultant is available to see you in the hospital after the baby is born, take advantage of her services. She can watch you latch the baby on if you would like, just to make sure it is going well. If you are struggling with breastfeeding, she should definitely be involved in helping to develop a plan of care that helps you meet your breastfeeding goals, while also making sure that the baby’s feeding needs are being met. A Lactation Consultant can also answer any questions you may have. The Lactation Consultants at Toledo Hospital also see outpatients on a daily basis for after you’ve gone home with your baby. If you have any breastfeeding-related problem, or just need some reassurance that all is going well, call us and set up an appointment. This is a service available for babies of any age, not just newborns.
2. Moms Groups
One of the best kept secrets of our Lactation Services at ProMedica is our Nursing Mother’s Group. Led by a Certified Lactation Consultant, this group meets on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the newly constructed Ronald McDonald House across from the Toledo Hospital from 12:30 to 2pm. This group is a great way to make contact with a Lactation Consultant in an informal setting to ask questions, weigh the baby, or even have a quick latch check. It’s also nice to talk to other moms, and share the experiences that new breastfeeding moms have. It’s one more bit of support that you can count on to help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
3. Parenting classes
The Preparation for Parenthood Department at ProMedica Toledo Hospital, for instance, offers classes on a continuing basis to help parents understand the very basics of breast milk production and latching on as well as normal newborn feeding behaviors. The classes are taught by Board Certified Lactation Consultants, and we love to answer as many questions as you can ask. These classes are typically offered to parents who plan to deliver at Flower Hospital or Toledo Hospital, and aren’t just for new parents — sometimes it’s nice to have a refresher before your second, third or seventh baby arrives! You should plan on bringing your partner, or whoever is going to be helping you the most once you take the baby home. There is a lot of information given, so it helps to have a second set of ears to remember what you may forget. The Preparation for Parenthood Department also offers a class for moms returning to work and planning to continue to breastfeed.
4. Phone services
At ProMedica Toledo Hospital, we have a Breastfeeding Warmline available to answer your breastfeeding questions, give you a pep talk to keep going, or help you figure out whatever new piece of the puzzle your little one has given you. The line is checked multiple times a day, every day, by Certified Lactation Consultants. If you have a question at 2 a.m., call us, leave a message, and we will call you back first thing in the morning. The phone number is 419-291-4577.
Lactation Consultants are here to encourage, assist and provide you with expert guidance on breastfeeding. Never be afraid to reach out to us!
Angie is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Parent Instructor for ProMedica and a former Labor and Delivery nurse at ProMedica Toledo Hospital. Click here to read previous columns from her breastfeeding series, Let’s Spill the Milk!