An important concept to know is that healing and hope come in the follow up I have been working as an IBCLC for 12 years and one thing that is certain, the care plan established in the initial visit can change as little as 24 hours. If the moms results are short lived she may feel that the original plan provided by her lactation consultant isn’t working, then comes the discouragement and frustration. Frustration that she just spent money on something without long lasting results and discouragement that the care plan isn’t working and therefore, breastfeeding is back to being a hassle.
There appears to a discrepancy in the expectations of a lactation consultation. With out follow up, mom and baby often times aren’t getting the results and support they are needing to succeed. By the time someone needs to see an IBCLC, it is almost never a one time direct and simple solution. There are multiple issues going on. Often times mom is on a roller coaster and it takes time to figure out which issue is causing the roller coaster to keep going. Keep in mind that the IBCLC is the only health care provider that has to assess two people; mom and her infant. She may need more time to observe mom and baby, assess and take more information from the mom to figure out the best plan of action.
When someone decides they need to see a counselor or therapist, it is understood that the changes are in the follow up. No one expects the therapist to solve a person’s problems all in a single visit. That is why there is always follow up. Those who have had contract workers in their home, if the problems still exist, you don’t ignore the problem or call a neighbor to help in hopes that the water damage for example goes away without intervention, we call the professional back for follow up. When we choose to see a chiropractor for whatever health reason, the healing can’t come unless there is a consistent commitment in the follow up.
Majority of breastfeeding issues and concerns are resolved in multiple visits. Mom often times feel embarrassed that she needs to come back to see her Lactation Consultant as breastfeeding should come naturally, right? This statement is a myth because breastfeeding isn’t always dependent on a mom’s lack of will power, control or education.
As that initial care plan can change, so will each visit. We have to take into account the training the baby needs. We have to give the initial care plan time to see if it is the right fit for mom’s real life circumstances and taking into consideration the infant’s time table. Has the mom done everything that the IBCLC has told her to do first before throwing in the towel? Sometimes breastfeeding information is absolute. If mom does not do X, Y and Z she isn’t going to get the results she wants no matter how many people she asks on Facebook or in her neighborhood or family. If she follows everything her IBCLC tells her to do and the results aren’t there tells the IBCLC that the plan does indeed need to be changed, reassessed and reevaluated. This is why a mom needs to see the IBCLC several times and why the 1 hour visit couldn’t possibly be a quick fix solution. A nursing mom deserves easy breastfeeding. She deserves peace of mind. She deserves to have pain free breastfeeding. She deserves to be validated and respected for what she can do. She deserves to have the on-going support to make sure her experiences in breastfeeding and her value on successful breastfeeding go as smoothly as possible. On-going support is vital in making sure mom and baby get all of these things.