Updated: Jan 17
IBCLC in Wichita Falls, TX is now offering insurance covered breastfeeding help for families in Wichita Falls, Iowa Park, Burkburnett, Sheppard Air Force Base and the surrounding areas!
Jaimie Zaki is a military spouse, mother of four, birth doula, and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) helping families prepare for birth and breastfeeding in Wichita Falls. Jaimie also supports families around the United States via virtual lactation consults. Jaimie began her career as a lactation consultant after seeing first hand the lack of breastfeeding support available to military families in small towns. Jaimie became a La Leche League leader in 2016, a birth doula in 2019, and an IBCLC in 2020. Jaimie is now excited to announce that she will be able to offer in home and virtual breastfeeding support for families with select participating insurance plans! To find out if your insurance works with Jaimie Zaki to cover up to six breastfeeding support consults, click here!
Keep reading to learn more about breastfeeding help Jaimie offers to Wichita Falls, Texas and the surrounding areas!
What is a Lactation Consultant and who should hire one?
The term "lactation consultant" is very broad and refers to anyone who provides breastfeeding support. As an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), I have undergone extensive training and education to pass an international board exam for Lactation Consultants. Lactation Consultants like myself provide breastfeeding education to families planning to breastfeed and breastfeeding support when those families find themselves struggling with breastfeeding. I am a strong advocate that anyone who plans to breastfeed hires a lactation consultant prenatally to prepare to breastfeed confidently. Prenatal lactation consults can allow the IBCLC to assess the mothers health history and determine if there are any risk factors for specific breastfeeding challenges, such as low milk production. With this knowledge, the mother and lactation consultant can work together to create a breastfeeding care plan to help get breastfeeding started well. If the dyad ends up having anticipated or unanticipated breastfeeding challenges, they've already established a relationship with a trusted lactation consultant and can easily schedule postpartum breastfeeding help.
Doesn't the hospital have a Lactation Consultant? Why would I hire a private IBCLC?
Yes, most hospitals do have lactation consultants on staff. Usually they have 1-2 IBCLCs and a few nurses who took some extra breastfeeding support classes. This is an extremely valuable resource for the community and it is very important that mothers have access to Lactation Support in the hospital. However, there are often issues hospital IBCLCs cannot help with. For instance, due to high volumes of patients and low staffing, hospital IBCLCs can rarely devote an ideal amount of time to thoroughly supporting each mother baby pair. Additionally, many breastfeeding challenges surface within the first week of feeding, after the mother and baby have returned home. While some hospitals do have outpatient lactation support, it can be challenging to get an appointment and even more challenging to get TO the appointment. Hiring a private IBCLC allows your lactation consultant to provide totally customized care, appointment lengths that suit your needs, and eliminates the need for you to take your baby away from home during the delicate early days of life. Additionally, it is not uncommon for hospital lactation consultants to miss certain feeding red flags due to the limited time they have available to spend with clients. Sometimes it takes a full hour appointment with assessments on both mom and baby to uncover the underlying feeding issues. I can't tell you how many times I have had clients tell me they knew something was wrong but the hospital LC said everything was fine, so they almost quit breastfeeding.
How much does private lactation support cost?
Private lactation support can seem expensive when you have to pay out of pocket, but most families share that it was a worthy investment after the fact. Private lactation consultant rates vary based on region, expertise, business model, etc. You can learn more about investing in lactation support here.
Does insurance cover private lactation consultants?
Yes!! The Affordable Care Act states that Lactation Support is a covered service. Some insurance plans make it difficult for families to get adequate lactation coverage. Thankfully some plans are blazing the trail to ensure that families get great lactation support. Currently I am working with a handful of insurance companies that will pre-authorize up to SIX insurance covered lactation visits, including prenatal visits! Find out if your insurance plan works with Little Bear Lactation by clicking HERE.
Unfortunately not all insurance plans are playing nice with Lactation Consultants. If your plan doesn't cover lactation support OR isn't accepted by lactation consultants, that's likely because they have a poor history of ACTUALLY paying lactation consultants. By calling your insurance company and letting them know how important lactation coverage is, you can help let them know they need to improve their lactation coverage to better support the families they serve.
What's the deal with Virtual Breastfeeding Support vs. in home lactation consults?
I love to offer in home lactation support for new families for a ton of reasons. First, hello cute babies! But also, that in person connection with new moms can be really valuable. Postpartum is a vulnerable time, breastfeeding challenges can make emotions run high. Having a calm and confident support person in the same room can bring a sense of peace to worried new parents.
Unfortunately, in home lactation support isn't always an option. Sometimes new moms are struggling with breastfeeding but also sick with a contagious illness. Other times families just don't have local lactation support, especially in a state like Texas. Some of my clients have been over an hour away from any LCs. While I do my best to serve those families in person, it simply isn't always possible to travel over an hour in each direction and fit in a 60-90 minute appointment. That's why virtual appointments can be so critical. Virtual breastfeeding support allows access to care that families wouldn't otherwise get. It also allows them the opportunity to be very hands on with their care as I walk them through how to perform assessments and help them describe what they are experiencing. Additionally, virtual lactation consults are fantastic for prenatal consults, back to work consults, and other simpler consults that don't require as much hands on help, but rather assistance creating a plan to get to the next step of the breastfeeding journey. I often do pumping consults, back to work consults, weaning consults, and even introducing solids consults via virtual support.
Why did you become a lactation consultant?
When my oldest son was born I had a lot of breastfeeding challenges. My milk came in fast and furious, but he couldn't latch and when he did, it was the worst pain I felt in my entire life. He quickly lost way too much weight and the pediatrician was very concerned. Feeling like I couldn't feed by baby was the worst feeling in the whole world. Even when we tried bottle feeding him, he'd flip the bottle nipple inside out and couldn't feed. I begged and begged the pediatrician and small-town lactation consultant to help me, and they both kept insisting there was no issue. I kept doing research and was convinced by son had a tongue tie (after all they are considered genetic and I had one myself). The pediatrician and lactation consultant insisted that wasn't a concern, and told me to quit trying to breastfeed. After a month of suffering I almost quit. But my own mother taught me what it meant to advocate for myself and my baby. She inspired me to find a provider who was competent and knowledgeable in this issue and get a second opinion. We drove 8 hours to a provider who specialized in these kind of feeding issues who diagnosed my son with a posterior tongue tie and upper lip tie. After revising both, my son breastfed beautifully. Fastforward 5 months. I had finally gotten to the point breastfeeding was beautiful and easy. We worked so hard for that! I was preparing to return to school in an LPN to RN bridge program and asked the coordinator (at orientation!) about pumping accommodations. She shrugged her shoulders and made it clear that there was no support for breastfeeding mothers within their nursing school program. This infuriated me. The industry who preaches "breast is best" and pushes breastfeeding as the healthiest option, wanted me to learn the same party lines, but couldn't walk the walk when I needed support breastfeeding my own baby. This lack of support reminded me just how screwed up the nursing field can be, and I walked away from the program. Within the next year I became a La Leche League Leader and Certified Breastfeeding Specialist, eventually working up to an IBCLC. I am very passionate about ensuring that women have the support they need to reach THEIR breastfeeding goals. This is why I'm now offering insurance covered lactation care. Cost of care should not be a barrier to feeding your baby. While I do have to charge for visits because running a business cost money, I really try to keep my prices as low as possible for self-pay clients, and am working toward working with more insurance companies in the future.
If you would like to book a prenatal breastfeeding visit, taking a breastfeeding class, or learn more about insurance covered breastfeeding support, CLICK HERE!
Little Bear Services LLC provides pregnancy and postpartum support for families in Wichita Falls, Texas and across the USA. Services include: Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes, Prenatal Lactation Consults, Postpartum Breastfeeding Help, Pregnancy and Labor Support, VBAC Birth Plan Consults, Birth Photography in Wichita Falls and More!