With any major milestone in life there are choices to make and people to include. You don’t just pull out the phone book and pick out your life partner. You do research on your Obstetrician or Midwife as well as any Doula you may hire. Choosing a Lactation Consultant shouldn’t be any different. I encourage moms to do their research before their baby arrives. Not every mom needs a lactation consultant, but when you do, knowing who you will call makes reaching out for that help so much easier.
Every mom has different needs from her support people. Some moms need a cheerleader, some moms need a motherly force, and some moms need someone to fit more of a medical provider role and tell them what to do to fix it.
What does each of these people look like?
A Cheerleader Lactation Consultant will cheer you on, encourage you, and provide you with resources to empower you to make your own decisions. She will encourage you to make your own decisions and trust yourself. She will hold your hand and tell you you’re doing a good job. Her goal is to see you meet your goals.
A Motherly Force will treat you with concern and compassion. She will care for you like she would for her own daughter. She’s been supporting breastfeeding moms for years and she knows just what calming words to use. She will console and support you to meeting your breastfeeding goals.
A Medical Focus Lactation Consultant will focus on the issues at hand. She will be blunt, though caring, and help you figure out what needs to be done to get you to your breastfeeding goals. She will not beat around the bush or coddle you. She will be caring, but firm and direct. She will help you craft the plan necessary to support you in reaching your breastfeeding goals.
Not every IBCLC will fit into one of these personality types specifically, but these seem to be the three I notice when I look around the room at every conference I attend. We all share characteristics of each other and the end goal of any lactation consultant is to help YOU reach YOUR goals. We all want to support moms and babies, though our methods and strengths are all as different as we are. So do your research. Figure out who is in your area. Talk to other moms and see what they have to say about the Lactation Consultants in your town.
What are you looking for in a Lactation Consultant?