What Is a Lactation Consultant and Do I Need One?

What Is a Lactation Consultant and Do I Need One?

A lactation consultant is the go-to expert for all things breastfeeding. They don't just teach you how to breastfeed but also help make the experience more enjoyable and comfortable for you and your baby.

Lactation consultants typically have a background in health, particularly in birth-related health. They may have qualifications in midwifery, obstetrics and gynecology, or be GPs, family health nurses, dieticians, or childbirth educators. To be a qualified lactation consultant, they must be an "Internationally Certified Lactation Consultant '' (IBCLC), which is obtained through the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners.

Although their main focus is on breastfeeding, lactation consultants also advocate for breastfeeding mothers, especially in situations where there are larger medical considerations. They also work to promote societal acceptance of breastfeeding and support all women to breastfeed for as long as possible.

Do I need a lactation consultant?

You can contact a lactation consultant when you have any breastfeeding concerns. If you are facing any of the following issues while breastfeeding, it is recommended to seek help from a lactation consultant:

  • Pain during breastfeeding
  • Damaged nipples that are not healing
  • Difficulty with your baby waking up for feeds
  • Poor weight gain in your baby
  • Low milk supply
  • Overproduction of milk
  • Suspected blocked duct or mastitis
  • Signs of thrush in you or your baby
  • Concerns about medications or drugs and their effect on breastfeeding
  • Pregnancy and concerns about your ability to breastfeed
  • Medical or surgical conditions that may make breastfeeding challenging
  • Needing help with weaning
  • Needing help with returning to work after maternity leave.



You might also be concerned if your baby:

  • Has breastfed less than six times in 24 hours in the first four to six weeks
  • Is not wetting at least six nappies a day in the first six weeks
  • Is difficult to wake for feeds
  • Is not gaining any weight
  • Seems unhappy at feed time
  • Refuses to breastfeed.


If you need help with breastfeeding, don’t hesitate to reach out to a lactation consultant! They are a vital part of a care team, especially when it comes to caring for mothers and babies with complex needs. Breastfeeding isn’t always easy for some as it is for others, and having someone on your side can make a world of difference. There is no such thing as a silly question or an invalid concern when it comes to breastfeeding your child.



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