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Breastfeeding can be much more challenging than many women expect, and this is often the reason why breastfeeding rates rapidly decline in early weeks, once your newborn has arrived.
When women struggle with breastfeeding, it can often feel daunting to ask for support. Statistics show that by the 3 month mark, only 39% of babies are still being exclusively breastfed.
Our friendly lactation consultant, Lara Dee, offers mums peace of mind during a potentially stressful time by providing support, answering questions, giving advice, and empowering mums with the tools they need to troubleshoot breastfeeding issues.
What is a lactation consultant and what do they do?
Lactation consultants are registered nurses or midwives who have undertaken further study to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
A lactation consultant can help you navigate any number of newborn challenges, including:
+ Normal baby behaviours
+ Normal baby feeding patterns and output
+ How do I know if my baby has had enough milk?
+ Antenatal preparation for breastfeeding
+ When and how to introduce solids
+ What to do if breastfeeding isn't working
+ Sore breasts and nipples and how to care for them
+ Maternal wellbeing
+ Sleep and settling
When should I see a lactation consultant?
The best time to call a lactation consultant is while you're expecting, but if you don't get around to seeing one beforehand, your lactation consultant can support you and your baby after birth.
You should reach out to a lactation consultant if:
+ You are feeling nervous or worried about breastfeeding (before or after birth)
Whether this is your first baby, or your third, every breastfeeding experience is different. Just because you couldn't breastfeed your first baby, for example, it doesn't mean that you can't feed your next. This is where a supportive lactation consultant can guide you and provide encouragement.
+ Your baby isn't gaining weight
If you notice that your baby isn't gaining weight, or your GP/paediatrician mentions that your baby is losing weight, it may be related to your milk supply. If this is the case, it is a good idea to consult a lactation consultant who can provide you with simple strategies to improve your milk supply.
+ You have multiple babies (e.g. twins or triplets)
If you are expecting, or have given birth, to twins or triplets, the thought of breastfeeding can be overwhelming. Even before you give birth, you may benefit from visiting a lactation consultant to discuss the challenges that may come with feeding multiple babies. Common concerns include how to properly hold your babies, and how to feed more than one at a time. A lactation consultant can also help you in the beginning to determine if your milk supply is matching the increased demand.
+ Breastfeeding is painful
Breastfeeding can be a bit odd or tricky, but it should not be painful. If it is, then there is likely something going on that shouldn't be. If you are experiencing painful, sensitive, or even cracked nipples, then speaking to a lactation consultant can help you to determine whether there is a simple solution to your pain, or if further investigation is needed.
Lara works closely with our GP team to ensure that you are receiving holistic care and clinical input where necessary.
How much does a lactation consultation cost?
Initial lactation consults run for 75 minutes, and are available on Thursdays. A private fee of $225.00 applies. Some patients may be eligible for a rebate from your private health insurance.
During your initial consultation, Lara aims to address your questions and concerns, and provide practical tips and solutions to make the newborn days easier. The length of this consult also allows her to observe a full feed, if necessary.
Follow up appointments, if required, run for 60 minutes and attract a private fee of $180.
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