And How You Can Benefit from Working with One
A Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) holds the leading National Certification in Lactation Management in the United States and has therefore shown competence in lactation skills, knowledge and attitudes that are essential to supporting women and have agreed to comply with the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice code of ethics. Professionals with the CLC certification have received training and competency verification in breastfeeding and human lactation support. This includes assessing the latching and feeding process, providing corrective interventions, counseling mothers, understanding and applying knowledge of milk production including in special circumstances and other commonly encountered situations.
A CLC works as part of a healthcare team for mothers in the postpartum phase and is trained to provide knowledge and counsel mothers about optimal and sub-optimal breastfeeding. A very important part of a CLC’s job is to meet the mother where she is in her lactation journey and support her individual and unique decisions, as it is understood that each woman’s values and goals may differ. This is why the counseling approach works well for CLCs as they are trained to gather information and provide appropriate support to the mother and her family. CLCs work as part of the healthcare team and provide referrals and recommendations. They are also qualified to provide education, counseling, and clinical management.
Where Can I Find a CLC?
Certified Lactations Counselors are found working in a variety of locations, mostly in community and public health centers. They can be found in hospitals in maternity units, neonatal intensive care units, and special care nurseries. You can also find CLCs working with local community programs, outpatient lactation clinics, parenting centers, and physician and midwife offices. You can now also find many online, including with me here!
How Can Working with a CLC Benefit Me?
A Certified Lactation Counselor can help you feel knowledgable and prepared for breastfeeding before you have even given birth by providing you with the breastfeeding basics. You can ask to cover skin-to-skin importance, latching, milk production, and anything else you have questions about. A CLC can also help you and your baby discover the initial latch and help you feel confident in those early hours after labor. See my Breastfeeding 101 virtual class here.
After this initial phase, a CLC can be helpful to have in-person or virtual assessments with to troubleshoot any issues you are experiencing with breastfeeding your baby. They are trained to observe numerous small movements, gestures, and postures that can immediately improve a baby’s ability to feed more effectively.
You can also contact a CLC when you are considering changing your established breastfeeding routine because of lifestyle changes such as return to work or a desire to wean. Having the support of a trained professional can help you alleviate any concerns effectively and make a plan to reduce feeding in a way that suits you.
How Can Online Lactation Counseling Be Effective?
Online lactation counseling can be incredibly helpful if you would prefer to stay home or could use help immediately. Especially over the last few years, lactation counselors have become familiar with providing support via video calls in an effort to offer the social-distancing, comfort of home, and support that many families are looking for right now. Virtual assessments should be offered with complete privacy and can be a great way to immediately connect with a professional if you are experiencing difficulty or need advice. Find out more about my virtual lactation offerings on my service page.
If you have further questions about breastfeeding or would like to book a consult, feel free to contact me here. You can also find more about my in-person and virtual lactation counseling offerings on my service page.
As always, thank you for being here!