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Should I schedule a Prenatal Lactation Visit?

Updated: Jun 26, 2023

Ok- I recommend "Prenatal Lactation Visits" all the time and people look at me like I have 3 heads. Why? Because, I'll admit, it does sound odd. Why would you have a lactation visit before you are lactating? But there are 3 very important reasons to schedule these types of visits and I want to make sure you know what they are...

Drum roll please...

The most obvious reason to schedule a prenatal lactation visit is to learn about the lactation process and practice positioning in advance. While breastfeeding and breastmilk might be "natural" and "instinctual" to your baby; for parents, breastfeeding is actually a LEARNED SKILL. More akin to riding a bike. The first time you tried riding a bike how did it go? Were you immediately successful with perfect balance and no skinned knees? Highly unlikely. You probably fell a few times, you probably got hurt a bit, but you kept getting back up and eventually you got it, right? It clicked. And you probably even found it enjoyable! I think breastfeeding is like this too. It takes a few weeks...somewhere around 2-3 really figure things out. My hope is that our prenatal session and a positioning practice session with a weighted doll will help you feel more confident for when your precious babe arrives.

The 2nd reason is to identify potential barriers to successful lactation and then plan and prepare for them. Have you ever heard the saying "if you don't plan, you plan to fail"? This is harsh wording when applied to breastfeeding, but does have some merit here. There are interventions we can initiate before your baby is born if certain barriers are identified in advance. For example, if your nipples are flat and don't protrude much, we can explore the various methods for "pulling them out" to help your baby latch (and I can suggest some products to bring to the hospital with you just in case you need some help). We can also explore different nipple shields and devices that can help in the event that your baby can't latch directly from the breast in the beginning. I have lots of tricks up my sleeve and I will share all my secrets! Another example is gestational diabetes. Have you been diagnosed? Do you know that this can sometimes negatively impact lactation? Well, I do. And in that case, colostrum harvesting might be a great idea for you. Not sure what colostrum harvesting is...? I can explain that too. I will help you feel as prepared as possible to overcome these and whatever other lactation curve balls are thrown your way.

The 3rd and perhaps the most important reason to schedule a prenatal lactation visit is to get yourself elevated to VIP on my client list. When I see someone prenatally, I circle that due date in red on my calendar and I make a promise to be there for you: hell or high water. Even if my week is busy, I will squeeze you in. On the contrary, if I haven't met you yet and you call during a crazy week I might not have the flexibility in my schedule to see a brand new client. Many lactation consultants are private practitioners juggling life and kids and all.the.things. In the extremely unlikely event that I can't make it to you fast enough after your baby is born, you better believe that I will do everything in my power to connect you with an alternate lactation consultant ASAP. In my area (Delaware County PA) lactation consultants are generally scheduling 1-2 weeks out. If you are having nipple pain but need to feed your baby every 2-3 hours that is an e-t-e-r-n-i-t-y! Do yourself, your baby and your nipples a big favor and become an established client with an IBCLC prenatally.

So if you are reading this…and you are pregnant…what are you waiting for??? Schedule a prenatal lactation visit today and start building your breastfeeding confidence!

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