Breastfeeding can be a rewarding experience, and is a special way to connect with your newborn. Even so, starting breastfeeding may be a little challenging, especially for new mothers. This is where lactation consultants and lactation specialists come in, to provide advice and expert guidance on how to successfully breastfeed.
If you’re new to breastfeeding consultations, here is how a lactation consultant can help you, and provide you breastfeeding support for your little one.
What is a lactation consultant?
Whether you’re a new mum or you’re celebrating your second child, a lactation consultant in Singapore is an invaluable resource for you. Lactation consultants in Singapore are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), who have attained the highest level of certification in breastfeeding knowledge. To attain their certification, IBCLCs have to pass a rigorous 4-hour long examination and clock at least 500 hours of clinical experience.
As such, as a trained health professional, a lactation consultant is more than able to address your concerns about breastfeeding, and offer you useful advice and practical guidance for successful breastfeeding.
What can you expect during the consultation?
Here’s what a typical breastfeeding consultation with a lactation consultant may look like:
- Sharing of health history: At the start of the session, your lactation consultant will ask about your (and your baby’s) health history. This includes finding out more about what your delivery was like, how your pregnancy had been, your family’s medical history, and your baby’s habits and weight.
- Observation of your breastfeeding routine: To have a better understanding of the breastfeeding challenges you’re facing, your lactation consultant will ask to watch you breastfeed your baby as well as have questions about how your little one is latching on.
- Guidance from lactation consultant: Based on their observation, your lactation consultant will share their advice on what you can do to help breastfeeding go more smoothly. This may include changing your positioning when breastfeeding, sharing pointers on how you can tell if your baby is latching on well, as well as massage techniques that can help with milk flow.
- Breast assessment: Your lactation consultant may also check your breasts for possible blocked ducts or lumps that are affecting your breast milk flow. If, for example, they notice a nipple inversion, they can provide advice on how you can continue breastfeeding with the help of certain tools.
- Answering questions: During the session, do feel comfortable asking your lactation consultant any questions about breastfeeding or sharing any concerns that you have. They are your trusted partner, here to support you through this phase of motherhood.
Do I need to prepare anything for a lactation consultation?
While there isn’t anything specific you need to prepare for the consultation, it’d be good to schedule your appointment during your little one’s normal feeding times. This would make it easier for your lactation consultant to observe a typical breastfeeding session.
You can bring along your breast pump and pump parts for the session. Your lactation consultant can advise on whether the size and fit are suitable for you. Using a breast pump that isn’t your size or your fit can negatively impact your milk supply, so it’s important to find the right one for you.
You can also take note of the following, in the days leading up to the lactation consultation:
- Your baby’s weight
- Whether your baby has any special habits while breastfeeding
- The number of diapers that your baby uses in a day
- How often you pump or express milk in a day
All of this information will be useful for your lactation consultant, and can help them provide you with more tailored advice.
What are some common issues you can consult a lactation consultant in Singapore for?
Your lactation consultant can help you with a variety of breastfeeding and latching issues, such as:
- Latching techniques: Feeling pain during breastfeeding is usually because of how your newborn is latching on, and is a common problem that new mothers face. Your lactation consultant will advise on how you may adjust your and your little one’s position while breastfeeding, to support a better, pain-free latch.
- Bottle or breast rejection: For babies who suddenly develop an aversion to either the bottle or the breast, a lactation consultant can suggest how you may guide your little one back to the preferred mode of feeding.
- Engorgement: When your milk first comes in, you may experience engorged breasts, due to a build up of milk or other fluids. This can feel uncomfortable, and may also make latching on harder for your little one.
- Milk supply: On the other hand, you may be concerned about a low milk supply. Speaking to a lactation consultant can help you with identifying the reasons for this and give you tips on how you can increase your breast milk supply.
- Clogged or blocked ducts: Clogged milk ducts are caused by inflammation in your breasts. A main cause of this is if your breasts aren’t drained fully during feeding or pumping.
- Mastitis: If it isn’t resolved in a timely manner, clogged milk ducts may lead to mastitis, a breast infection. For more serious cases, medication may be prescribed to help you with managing the inflammation and infection.
- Preparing for breastfeeding: For expectant mothers, you can arrange a prenatal lactation consultation to prepare for the birth of your little one. The lactation consultant will teach you the fundamentals of breastfeeding, so that you have the confidence to breastfeed once you have given birth.
These are just some of the various concerns that your lactation consultant can address. We know it can be challenging to leave the house with a newborn for an appointment — so we’re bringing the service directly to you.
To help mums ease into breastfeeding, we’ve launched a lactation consultation service, available on the DA app. With this new feature, you can consult a lactation consultant in Singapore over a secure video-call, in the comfort and privacy of your own home.
All you have to do is download the DA app to get started. Our team of healthcare experts are ready to support you and your little one’s health, anytime you need.