It's March 6 -- Happy IBCLC Day!
Wait, what's an IBCLC? Great question! IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Translated, that means: a professional breastfeeding helper super hero. More technically, an IBCLC is a healthcare professional who specializes in helping people with breastfeeding and chestfeeding. An IBCLC is required to have extensive education and clinical experience in breastfeeding, as well as pass an exam for certification. An IBCLC is also called a "lactation consultant."
To celebrate IBCLC Day, we're passing on two super-important pieces of information: reasons why you would want to contact an IBCLC (in other words, how they can help), and how to find an IBCLC near you.
Why call an IBCLC?
1. "Feeding hurts." Nipple pain, breast pain, engorgement you can't solve, and more. Breastfeeding discomfort should only be fleeting and minor (see here for further explanation on that). If it goes beyond, contact an IBCLC.
2. "You dread feeding because of pain or fear." If you approach each feeding session with a sense of dread, you need support. It's not sustainable to "grin and bear it" each time you sit down to feed your baby. An IBCLC can help you get to the source of your pain and/or fear and come up with solutions.
3. "Your baby does not seem satisfied." Babies eat often, for sure, but if your baby is fussy or doesn't seem like they're getting full or satisfied after a feeding, it's important to get help from an IBCLC to observe and assess any issues that could be going on.
4. "You are concerned about your milk supply." More often than not, a person's milk supply is just fine. But, sometimes it's not. Or, sometimes it is but there is another underlying issue that's causing feeding problems. Either way, if you are worried about milk supply, talk to an IBCLC.
5. "You are worried about your or your baby's wellbeing." If you're feeling anxious about your health or your baby's as it relates to feeding, don't wait: get help right away. Call an IBCLC and schedule an appointment.
How to Find an IBCLC
There are many ways to find an IBCLC near you. For starters, you can get a referral from your: OB or midwife, doula, child's pediatrician, childbirth class or breastfeeding class teacher, hospital or birth center where you plan to give birth, your mom/parent's group, or a friend who has breastfed. It helps to locate and save the number of an IBCLC or two before you give birth. That way, if you're a new parent in need, you'll have access right away.
If you don't have a direct referral to an IBCLC, find one in your area using this lactation consultant directory. I just did a search using my zip code and found seven IBCLCs within 25 miles of me, some less than a few miles away!
Breastfeeding works best when there's adequate support, which includes guidance and care from an IBCLC. Please help us celebrate IBCLC Day by sharing information about this amazing resource with your network of friends and family!