Is breastfeeding not working out for you? Contact a lactation consultant!

What exactly is a lactation consultant and why would you need one? Jacqueline Gasse explains her work and what she does if her help is required. “Can you see the movement of that little jaw? Can you hear that munching sound? Now your baby is drinking properly!”

What does a lactation consultant do exactly?

“A lactation consultant is a specialist in the area of breastfeeding. I give mothers advice, I observe breastfeeding and provide them with tips for pumping milk for example. You can contact me for every problem you face when breastfeeding. A mother might feel sick, for example, because she has just had an operation. An expert approach might be required in this case. But even when breastfeeding itself proceeds well, it sometimes occurs that the production of milk is not optimal. Maybe the baby is lacking strength to suckle properly or the mother is in pain. In these cases I can help. Besides that, there are always future mothers with a lot of questions, which I can answer.

Does breastfeeding always develop naturally?

“No. Some women have very little glandular tissue. It will be hard for them to breastfeed. Sometimes milk is produced, but not enough. In this case you need to feed more often. This can be a problem nowadays; things must be done quickly. It is not common these days to spend a lot of time feeding or to keep trying until successful. Everything should be accomplished after the second week, but that implies two weeks of intensive investment. Very often I hear: “I don’t want to do it anymore” when things don’t come easy right away. They’re out of patience and they start bottle feeding. But you have to realise that breastfeeding is new, for you as well as for your baby. Both of you need to learn and that takes time. But please take that time!”

When do you reach out for help from a lactation consultant?

“When it’s not working out for you! Obviously it’s also possible that you are uncomfortable with breastfeeding. This if fine too; if you don’t feel comfortable, don’t do it. But it is such a shame to feel that you have to give up because it is simply not working out for you just yet. Do you feel your baby doesn’t want to drink or are you having a hard time latching on your baby? Ask for help! The first week is especially important. Your milk production needs to get started. Sometimes I meet women that are struggling for at least ten days and feel excruciatingly tired. We will have to try very hard to succeed anyway and that costs a lot of energy again. So if things are not going well, ask for help on time!”

Why is this first week so important?

“Your baby’s stomach is still very small at birth: about the size of a marble. The first day they take in about 10cc’s of milk. The second day the stomach expands a bit, taking in 20 cc’s of milk. This increases rapidly: your baby is able to drink up to 80 cc’s of milk per feed on day 8. You’ll have to be able to produce that amount by the end of the week. When the baby drinks enough, you’ll start to produce more milk. Your body complies to the request. If your baby doesn’t immediately drink enough, start pumping or latch on your baby on the other side after feeding to stimulate the production.”

And what if all goes well?

Surely, it is very comfortable if all goes well from the very start. You won’t need a lactation consultant, that is obvious. But it is always fine to contact a consultant for a visit if it makes you feel comfortable. I observe the feeding and give advice. Can you see the movement of that little jaw? Can you hear that munching sound? Now your baby is drinking properly, can you feel it? The result is a confident young mother, which is also very beneficial for the whole process. “

KZG offers lactation consultant service. Usually your insurance will cover this. If this is not the case, KZG will cover the biggest part of the consultation.

Read more on breastfeeding on this website.