Just like there is no such thing as “one size fits all” bras, breastfeeding help is no different. The best person that you can reach out to for breastfeeding support is a breastfeeding professional. Makes sense, right? In this article we will discuss the different types of breastfeeding support options that are available.
As a lactating person, knowing where to turn to for help, encouragement, evidence-based info, or just a home girl to remind you “girl you doin a good job” can make the world of difference in reaching your breastfeeding goals or not.
I don’t know about you, but randomly Googling concerns you may have about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding causes me anxiety.
When planning out your healthcare team, I would advise you to add a lactation support person(s) to help you and your tiny new human.
Here’s the scoop on all of the different kinds of lactation support that is available:
Peer Support Counselors:
These are folks that have personal first-hand experience with breastfeeding. They aim to encourage mom, answer questions, and provide emotional support to new parents. No formal training needed. This person can even be a sister or friend! They are skilled at listening and affirming mom in her goals and feelings.
La Leche League (LLL):
Mother-to-mother peer support and an amazing resource! These informal meetings are for lactating people to come and gain information, support and community as it relates to breastfeeding. This is an international organization so you can find meetings all over the world here. There are several LLL groups in the Tampa Bay area. We recently got a call from the North Pinellas LLL group to let us know they started having in-person meetings outdoors again.
Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC):
A professional that has demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge, and attitudes to provide clinical breastfeeding counseling and management support to families who are thinking about breastfeeding or who have questions or problems during the course of breastfeeding. If you are looking for a CLC you can find one here.
Many of the doulas on the team here at Buddha Belly are also CLC’s and use these skills when supporting families immediately after giving birth and initiating breastfeeding.
Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (CBS):
A certified breastfeeding specialist will support and educate families about breastfeeding during pregnancy, initiation and the normal course of lactation.
Breastfeeding USA Counselors:
These counselors provide evidence-based breastfeeding information and support, and promote breastfeeding as the biological and cultural norm. Click here to see more.
International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC):
IBCLCs are the top tier or Gold Standard in the lactation world. They are healthcare professionals whose expertise is in breastfeeding clinical management. These folks have undergone at least 1000 hours of clinical practice as well as passed at least 14 specific college (mostly science-based) courses. IBCLCs are certified to provide support to breastfeeding mothers by offering leadership, advocacy, research, and professional development in several settings.
Lastly, if you qualify for WIC (Women, infants and children, a federally funded nutrition education program) you can receive services from peer counselors and IBCLCs. In most states they even have a pump program. Check out your state’s WIC website here.
In hospitals labor/deliver and postpartum wards, you will most likely be able to get a consultation from a lactation support person. If you plan to give birth out of hospital your midwife or other healthcare provider should be able to refer you to reliable lactation support in your area.
Here at Buddha Belly in Tampa Bay we have three IBCLCs that are ready to support you with your breastfeeding goals. They provide in-home lactation support to address any issues that you may be experiencing.
We also have as several doulas with lactation credentials and they use these skills while providing postpartum support.
Depending on your needs there is specialized support available for you. Reach out to us at any time to learn more and get connected up to a lactation professional.
Written by: Deidra Washington, IBCLC at Buddha Belly Doulas