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Virtual Lactation Consults vs. In-person Breastfeeding Support

Updated: Apr 8, 2023

Virtual and Breastfeeding Help doesn't seem like it could belong in the same sentence. Breastfeeding help is personal, and it can be difficult to understand how it works virtually. Today we will talk about how Lactation Telehealth works, the benefits, and the drawbacks.




 

 


What is virtual Lactation Consult?


Virtual Lactation Support is exactly what it sounds like - breastfeeding help offered via Telehealth, usually a secure video call. Virtual Lactation Support can sometimes take the form of email, text messages, or telephone support as well. In my practice, virtual lactation consults are video consults with text/email follow up available as needed, in addition to video follow up.


Benefits of Virtual Lactation Consults


Virtual Lactation Consults are convenient


Virtual Lactation Visits are fantastic for visits that require less hands-on support. For instance, I only offer prenatal lactation consults virtually because scheduling them in person can be inconvenient and time consuming for families.


Other low-physicality visits like "back to work" and Weaning consults are also ideal for virtual support because most of the consult is discussing strategy, and requires little, if any hands on support.

Furthermore, virtual lactation consults mean that parents who have a cold (or don't want to be subject to the risk of germ spreading) can still have their appointments without the need to cancel, whereas in-person appointments with colds may feel more risky.


No Lactation Consultants Nearby


I have worked with military families that lived in an area where there are no lactation consultant around. I have worked with families in remote parts of the country that don't have access to hospitals without a 2 hour drive, let alone home-visit IBCLCs.


While I prefer in person visits for troubleshooting breastfeeding, the reality is that's not always an option. Providing virtual lactation support for families means that more families are able to access breastfeeding support and reach their breastfeeding goals.


Parents can take an active role in lactation care


Breastfeeding challenges can make parents feel very helpless sometimes. When I am helping a family virtually, I typically have to walk mom or dad through the various assessments I would perform in person. I ask them to carefully describe what they see, feel, and observe. This allows them to take an active role in their care, and often fosters a stronger sense of confidence as we identify the problem together.


But what about all of the benefits of in person support?


There is no doubt in my mind that in-person breastfeeding support is ideal for postpartum families who are struggling with breastfeeding. The personal connection, personal touch, and intimate setting allows for vulnerability and healing in ways that go beyond just solving breastfeeding issues. As an intuitive person, being hands-on with care always feels a little more personal to me. However, that doesn't minimize the value that virtual lactation support can have!


If you're hesitant to schedule a virtual lactation consult, I totally understand! I will admit that I personally prefer in-home visits as well. I am so very grateful, however, that breastfeeding Telehealth exists because it means that more families can receive lactation support. If you're interested in booking a virtual lactation consult, CLICK HERE to see if your health insurance works with Little Bear Lactation. If not, there is also an option to book a self-pay lactation visit HERE.



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