It's no secret that the entire world of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum... ESPECIALLY posptartum seem to be veiled under some cloak of mystery. We aren't supposed to talk about it. But here we are, getting louder and education women around the world.
But so much mystery remains, yet. Most new mothers have books and blogs a plenty to tell them about "What to Expect" during pregnancy, and even to some degree, childbirth. If nothing else, there's likely a midwife or OBGYN guiding you through your pregnancy and somewhat preparing you for birth.
But who is preparing you for after? Who is preparing you for breastfeeding challenges? There's no standard 7 day breastfeeding check in. Even the breastfeeding support at many OB and Pediatrician offices is severely lacking. Once you leave the hospital it can feel like you're on your own. And if you have a home birth, then you may have never had a lactation expert on your team at all, in any form, to begin with.
So when you are having trouble breastfeeding, you'll probably talk to someone who will tell you to see a lactation consultant. You need a breastfeeding expert to help you navigate your questions and challenges. But where do you find one?
Google probably. Maybe recommendations from a provider or friend.
Then what? Where do lactation consultants have appointments?
Some LCs have appointments in a breastfeeding center, a clinic (OB or Pedi), maybe a chiropractor or midwife or birth center shares space with an LC. But the real treat is the lactation consultant who offers home visits! You don't even have to worry about gathering the baby and strength and energy to head out the door. Unlike most providers, support can come to you.
But what is that like?
Here is a loose outline of how I run my breastfeeding support visits.
1. First contact. We say, "hey!" You contact me with a brief description of what is going on and we schedule our home visit.
2. Fill out intake forms. After scheduling your visit, I'll send you an email with information on creating a client portal profile and filling out all of your intake forms and signing consents. Completing these prior to your appointment allow me to go over you history before our visit, but more importantly leaves us more time during your visit to focus on problem solving!
3. Appointment Day! I will usually confirm with you the day before or day of your appointment that you're still available. I will come to your home and introduce myself to you and your partner. After making sure my hands are clean, I will observe you feeding your baby, assess your breasts, and possibly assess your baby's mouth. Next we will talk about my observations and ways we can make small adjustments to hopefully improve your breastfeeding experience. Once we go over our "Care Plan", we address any questions you have, and discuss potential needs for follow ups.
4. Within 24 hours I will email you a copy of your care plan that we discussed during your visit.
5. Follow Up. A week later, we will either have a follow up appointment or I will send you a text message or email to check in.
My goal during every home visit is to make sure that you are feeling comfortable and supported. I want to leave with you feeling confident in our care plan we build together. I want you to feel empowered to make the next step decisions from a place of informed advocacy for your child and yourself.
I can not express the joy and pride that I feel in a client who advocates strongly for herself and her child in the face of breastfeeding challenges. A mother who demands respectful support is a true #MamaBear indeed!