“Here’s your new baby.”
These four words are life changing for anyone, but especially a woman. They’ve just experienced their body transform over months and months, growing another human. Now, after delivering, it’s time to keep this new life alive. A large part of this in the beginning is breastfeeding that provides vital nourishment to infants. This part of motherhood is amazing, but also comes with questions, concerns, and stigma. We consulted with Lactation Consultant, Emily Schwerzler, RN, RNC-OB, IBCLC, to answer your questions about breastfeeding and visiting the doctor.
How many visits will I have with a lactation consultant?
You will have three one-on-one visits. The first will be the prenatal breastfeeding consultation and the second one will be the lactation follow-up right after birth. The third will be an outpatient lactation follow-up a few days after delivery. If needed, a few more appointments may be set up as well.
What is a prenatal breastfeeding consultation?
About 36 to 38 weeks into your pregnancy, you’ll meet with a lactation consultant. You’ll discuss the expectations for the breastfeeding journey, your health history and breastfeeding/lactation goals, and any anatomical issues that may impact your lactation experience. It will also be a time to learn how to tell your baby is getting enough to eat, how to establish a healthy milk supply, and how partners and support people can help you achieve your breastfeeding goals.
What is an inpatient lactation follow-up appointment?
Inpatient lactation occurs immediately in the hospital 24-48 hours after delivery. The lactation consultant observes feeding, teaches helpful breastfeeding positions and how to ensure a good latch, and shows the best way to pump, along with any other questions the mom and partner may have.
“If there are concerns or feeding is not going well, I assist the assigned nurse with observing multiple feeding sessions and help with implementing feeding plans as needed,” explains Schwerzler.
What is an outpatient lactation follow-up appointment?
An outpatient lactation occurs three to six days after delivery. This is all individually based on how feeding is going for each family. Ideally, mom will bring a hungry baby to the appointment.
“During our time together, we’ll weigh the baby pre-feeding and weigh the baby post feeding to show mom how many ounces babe is transferring from the breast,” says Schwerzler. “With the feeding session I am able to assess mom’s anatomy, baby’s anatomy, latch and effectiveness of feeding.”
This appointment gives both mom and lactation consultant time to ask and answer questions and make sure the baby is getting the food they need and mom is feeling able to feed them properly. There is also time to do education on things like pumping, cleaning supplies, storing expressed milk, plugged ducts, and mastitis. This appointment usually takes around 45 to 90 minutes.
Do you need a referral for these appointments?
Yes, but all providers can give this referral. You can call 218-362-6234 and schedule an appointment without one and the lactation consultant will reach out to the provider to get a referral as well.
Will insurance cover these appointments?
All insurances cover a portion of lactation appointments and many even cover the entire cost.
Can I contact a lactation consultant after these appointments?
Yes. You can call at any time during your breastfeeding journey to schedule an appointment for concerns or questions.
What if I can’t breastfeed?
That’s okay. Formula was created for a reason. If that’s the way your baby gets fed enough, use it.
“A fed baby is a happy baby,” states Schwerzler. “Each mom and baby needs to figure out what is best for them. Each feeding journey is different for every baby and what works for one won’t work for another. Breastfeeding does not always come naturally, and it takes time for mom and baby to figure things out.”
Do not feel ashamed if breastfeeding is not going as planned. Every body works differently. Do what is best for you and your baby.
Start Your Journey with Us
If you’re pregnant or dealing with breastfeeding issues, reach out to our team to ask questions and learn more about breastfeeding. We’re overjoyed to help you with this important time in your life.
“I love my job,” shares Schwerzler. “Educating and supporting moms is extremely rewarding. All parents need a support system. I love being able to give parents encouragement and praise that they are doing a great job and things are going well when they are at their most vulnerable state.”
We have a team of lactation resources waiting to work with you.
Terra Eichorn, RN, CLE
Angela Sandys, RN, CLE
Nicole Pink, RN, CLC
Lisa Buenger, MD
Amy Tuthill, FNP
Jeanne Antonich, FNP
Rebecca Tervo, FNP
CLE: Certified Lactation Educator
CLC: Certified Lactation Counselor