You’re a vocal supporter of exclusive breastfeeding, and it’s now your turn to breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding doesn’t turn out to be as easy as it looks, and you’ll be seeing a lactation consultant for some help.
A lactation consultant is a professional that helps nursing mums in their breastfeeding efforts. They also answer questions that mothers have regarding breastfeeding and give general nursing advice.
If you’re meeting a lactation consultant for the first time, you may not know what questions to ask.
Since you need to learn as much as possible for a successful nursing experience, here are some questions to ask a lactation consultant in your first meeting.
Pay special attention to the third question!
Questions to ask a lactation consultant
1- How often should I feed my baby, and how long does each feeding session take?
Unless you’ve once nursed a baby, the feeding duration and frequency will be confusing at first. However, your lactation consultant should offer some informed advice in this regard.
Generally, this should depend on age and weight. New babies typically need to feed for about 15 minutes on each breast, and the mother should always be ready to feed her baby on demand.
As the baby gains weight, the feeding schedule could relax a bit. You may only need to feed the baby during the day and not during the night.
However, your lactation consultant can give you personalized advice based on your baby’s weight and related statistics.
2- Am I making enough milk; how will I know if I’m not?
One of the major concerns of new nursing mothers is the quantity of breast milk they produce. If a baby doesn’t get enough breast milk, they either lose weight rapidly or gain little weight over time.
Many warning signs show that a baby isn’t getting enough breast milk. While the general way to check is by counting the baby’s nappies, your lactation consultant can tell by looking at your baby, thanks to their experience.
Your lactation consultant will also recommend tips to help you produce more breast milk to help your baby feed efficiently.
If you’re unable to produce enough breast milk, you can work out a supplemental feeding plan for your baby with your lactation consultant. You will need to supplement your baby’s food with donor milk or formula as your consultant recommends.
3- What should I eat to increase breast milk?
Pregnancy restricts one from many foods; you’re a living witness of this fact. However, the pregnancy has ended, and you’re a nursing mother; can you start eating whatever you please?
As you might have guessed, the answer is no. Some foods don’t let you produce enough breast milk to feed your baby.
Discussing your favorite foods with your lactation consultant will help them draw up a personal food timetable that benefits you and your baby.
Foods that help to increase the production of breast milk are generally called galactagogues. You will be e needing more of them in your diet throughout your lactating journey.
4- Can I pump and give bottles yet; how soon can I start doing that?
Most mums want to start pumping as soon as possible to get a break from having to wake up every two hours to breastfeed their baby.
Before pumping and giving bottles to your baby, you should see your lactation consultant for professional advice.
Typically, babies can start feeding on a bottle after three weeks, but you can’t feed your baby with any bottle you choose. The nipple size and flow rate are all important considerations for a healthy feeding experience.
Pumping before the recommended three weeks may lead to oversupply and unhealthy feeding practices.
The best bottle for feeding your baby is the one that best mimics the natural feeding experience of the breasts. Your lactation consultant knows better.
5- What do I do when I produce excess milk?
Most nursing mums pump when they oversupply or produce excess milk. While that sounds intuitive, it’s bad practice.
Extracting excess milk with a pump only stimulates the breasts to produce additional milk to replace the extracted milk. This situation leads to the production of even more milk, defeating the overall purpose of pumping in the first place.
You should always see a lactation consultant when you’re oversupplying. Excess milk isn’t exactly harmless, as it increases the chances of mastitis and can be annoying.
While your lactation consultant may recommend doing nothing to counteract the excessive flow, you may get some helpful tips to reduce oversupply.
Oversupply in the first few weeks after birthing your baby is normal, and you’ll learn to live with it, and so will your baby.
6- How do I wake my baby to eat?
For the first few weeks of a baby’s life, you may have to feed them every two or three hours, including midnight.
If you know how babies sleep, you’ll understand how that’s impossible without having to wake the baby up to feed.
If you’re having a hard time getting your baby up for a feed, you may need the help of a lactation consultant.
While the general idea is to unswaddle the baby while massaging his hands and feet, you don’t always have to do that.
Depending on your baby’s age, you may not have to wake them up to feed at all. Allowing your baby to have a good night’s rest might be the best idea after all.
However, you’ll never know for sure if you don’t ask your lactation consultant for personalized advice.
7- Can I drink tea or coffee while breastfeeding?
The answer varies depending on the baby, as some are more sensitive to caffeine from tea and coffee than others.
However, you can always have your coffee or tea while nursing, but more strategically. If your baby doesn’t seem to react to it at all, you may take coffee whenever you please.
However, if you notice increased wakefulness or restlessness in the baby right after feeding them, you should consider cutting down caffeine intake.
Your lactation consultant can help you confirm the correlation and recommend better ways to enjoy your favorite beverages.
Also, you should avoid taking coffee right before breastfeeding a child, as there are higher risks of passing more caffeine to the baby that way.
8- What are the signs of mastitis; how do I correct it?
Mastitis is a breast tissue infection caused by the presence of bacteria in the breast. It causes pain to the mother, but a baby can continue to feed on an affected breast.
Mastitis is usually self-diagnosable, as it has many prominent symptoms. Fever and breast swelling are two telling signs of mastitis for which every nursing mother should look
You don’t wait for the signs of mastitis before learning some strategies to counteract it. While you may need to see a doctor, your lactation consultant will recommend lifestyle changes to control the infection.
You should continue to feed your baby even after getting infected. It’s not your baby’s problem; it’s yours, so deal with it.
9- How can I ease the pain while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt but can breed discomfort at times. If you feel nipple pains while feeding your baby, you should see your lactation consultant.
You may have to take pain relievers for constant breast pain, but you should only do that after clearance from your lactation consultant.
Nipple pain in nursing mothers could be part of the regular discomfort you may have to endure as you get used to the new experience.
However, you should regularly check in with your lactation consultant to verify that the nipple pain isn’t a symptom of more inflammatory infection like mastitis.
10- When and how can I contact you?
If this is your first breastfeeding experience, it helps to have a lactation consultant at your fingertips.
While you can always make an appointment whenever you have a question, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, it’s way easier to put a call across or shoot an email.
Before leaving your first meeting with your lactation consultant, it’s crucial to arrange for a way to contact them frequently.
Most people prefer emails and text, while others are ever ready to answer your calls anytime. You’ll need their help more frequently than you think, so you shouldn’t consider skipping this question.
Breastfeeding can be a tiring experience, especially when it’s your first time. Thanks to lactation consultants, the whole experience is less stressful now, but that only happens if you consult them.
When seeing a lactation consultant, they’ll ask many questions to devise a working breastfeeding strategy for you and your baby.
For a seamless experience, you need to ask some questions too. Breastfeeding tips and advice don’t come naturally, and you need to explain your problem to get solutions.
If you find it demanding to think up questions to ask your lactation consultant, here are ten simple questions to get the discussion off the ground.
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