How to find the right lactation consultant - Ruth Health

How to find the right lactation consultant

Fast facts:

  • Breastfeeding can be frustrating and uncomfortable, but it shouldn’t be a painful experience.
  • A lactation consultant is a specially trained healthcare professional who can offer support to help you continue for as long as you intend to.
  • In addition to helping with common breastfeeding problems like latching issues and breast engorgement, lactation consultants offer general support, even before your baby is born.
  • Ruth Health offers nearly 24/7 virtual lactation support from Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) to provide individualized care on your time.

While breastfeeding is a fulfilling experience for many moms, it isn’t always easy. There are a handful of common breastfeeding problems that may arise, including latching issues, breast engorgement, low milk supply, and more.

These challenges can be frustrating, uncomfortable, and sometimes downright painful, but they are not insurmountable, and breastfeeding shouldn’t be a painful experience. There are trained experts whose job is to help you navigate your most difficult breastfeeding days.

Here’s how working with a lactation consultant can ease the journey and help you continue for as long as you intend to.

"I loved my lactation consults with Ruth Health. I received expert advice that gave me confidence in my breastfeeding journey. As a new mom, it was awesome to get that kind of counsel without leaving the house."

Jess S, Ruth Health patient

What does a lactation consultant help with?

Breastfeeding is a personal choice, but many parents don’t breastfeed for as long as they intend to because they are discouraged by breastfeeding problems. 

Lactation consultants are healthcare professionals who can offer a solution for just about any obstacle you encounter on your breastfeeding journey, so that you can fulfill your personal intentions with breastfeeding.

Many professional lactation consultants are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) or Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs).

These certifications require rigorous training requirements, and choosing an IBCLC or CLC can help ensure that you receive high-quality care.

A lactation consultant can help with the following breastfeeding issues:

  • Breast engorgement
  • Sore, cracked, or painful nipples
  • Clogged milk ducts
  • Low milk supply
  • Latching issues
  • Difficulty with nursing positions
  • A baby refusing the breast
  • Pumping
  • Support with breast infections that require treatment from a doctor such as mastitis
  • And more!

While a lactation consultant is pivotal when breastfeeding gets tough, you don’t need a problem in order to see one. They can offer general breastfeeding support and guidance, even before your baby arrives.

Ruth Health’s Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) offer individualized virtual breastfeeding support on your time.

Is breastfeeding supposed to hurt?

It’s common for nipples to become sore early on while breastfeeding — they need some time to adjust to this journey too! — but the soreness should lessen over time.

Some moms feel discomfort at the beginning of a session as their baby first latches on, but that should also ease up throughout the session.

Ongoing discomfort during a session could be an indication of latching issues. If you are unable to correct the latch, or still experience pain when your baby latches properly, it’s time to contact a lactation consultant.

My newborn won’t latch on the breast. What can I do?

So many aspects of breastfeeding — including any discomfort that you experience — come back to your baby’s latch, or how they take your breast in their mouth to feed. Pain during nursing and sore nipples are two main indications of a poor latch

Unfortunately, most babies don’t enter this world with a perfect latch, so some trial and error is to be expected. The key is to have your baby cover the areola when they latch, not only your nipple.

If you are experiencing latching issues, a lactation consultant can observe you and your baby during a feeding session and demonstrate how to encourage a good latch or correct an improper one.

They can also suggest specific breastfeeding positions that may help your baby latch better.

If your baby doesn’t latch at all, remember to pump/express milk every 2-3 hours to protect your milk supply while you wait to see a lactation consultant.

How can I find a qualified lactation consultant?

Some lactation consultants partner with hospitals, birthing centers, and pediatricians, while others have private practices or run their own businesses.

It’s best to contact your insurance company directly before choosing a lactation consultant to avoid any surprise bills.

A number of lactation consultants, including Ruth Health’s Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) offer virtual sessions, giving you access to breastfeeding support on your own time, and from the comfort of your own home.

The convenience of virtual sessions makes it much easier to honor the “slowing down” phase of postpartum.

Many lactation consultants charge between $200 and $300 per hour. Ruth Health’s 30-minute 1:1 sessions start at $75 for a single session and as low as $64 when you purchase a package.

Learn more or book a session.

"I decided to join the Ruth Health team because I wanted to be a part of a company that's doing true and meaningful work. It makes me feel good to know that other new parents can get the support they need."

Raye Parris, Ruth Health Certified Breastfeeding Specialist

What questions should I ask a lactation consultant?

It’s important to work with a lactation consultant you feel comfortable with.

Here are some questions to ask:

  • Do you support formula feeding if breastfeeding doesn’t work for me?
  • Do you have experience with inverted nipples, prior breast surgery, or hormonal imbalances? (if applicable)
  • What is your availability? 
  • How can I  contact you with questions?
  • Do you need to come to my birthing location after my baby is born to help me get started?
  • Do you offer virtual appointments?
  • What should I expect in the first few days of breastfeeding?
  • How will I know if there’s a serious issue with breastfeeding?
  • What are your fees?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • How many appointments do you recommend?
  • Do you work with any insurance companies?

You’re not alone in navigating breastfeeding problems

While breastfeeding is a unique connection between you and your baby, support is key to overcoming any issues that you encounter.

Ruth Health offers nearly 24/7 virtual lactation support from Certified Lactation Counselors (CLCs) to provide individualized care on your time. You can use this support to begin preparing for the journey of breastfeeding even before your baby arrives.

Learn how we can help with your breastfeeding journey. And don't forget to join our community by signing up below!

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