What Happens During A Consultation?

If you have not seen a lactation consultant in private practice, you might be wondering what actually happens while I’m with you.  There is a general flow that I usually follow, but ultimately, I work around what the baby and the mother need.  All of my consultations are in your home. There are three basic types of consultations I provide – Breastfeeding Preparation Sessions (for before birth), Breastfeeding Not Going To Plan Consultations (after the baby’s born) and Return To Work Plans.  This post will discuss the Breastfeeding Not Going To Plan Consultation – which are the majority of my work. Before a consultation, there has usually been a brief phone/email conversation to establish what is needed and have arranged timing so that the baby will be looking for a feed at some point during the consultation.  We usually start with a short health history of mum , briefly discuss the birth and the potential impacts this may be having on breastfeeding and then we discuss how feeding has been going.  If your baby is not ready for a feed at this time, we discuss the likely things that may be going on and suggest some strategies that are likely to improve the situation – so you know what to expect and feel prepared when your baby is ready to feed. If the baby is showing feeding cues while we are discussing the birth or feeding history, I usually suggest we go back to the history after your baby has fed. After or during the feed (depending on the length and comfort level of the feed), we make a breastfeeding plan that the mother feels is manageable – trying to meet breastfeeding goals for both you and your baby.  We agree on a timeframe for you to contact me to discuss your progress (usually 24-48hrs depending on the situation)  After I leave, I email a summary of our discussion to you so that you can refer back to it when necessary. The consultation fee is payable on the day and includes follow-up with phone/text/email and a discount should another consultation be needed.  I do my accounts once/week usually and will email the paid invoice to you.  Some private health funds will give a rebate for my services. Things to do if I’m coming to you – Have your child health record handy (the red/maroon book) Write down any questions you...
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Weaning?

Weaning can be a joyous celebration of an amazing breastfeeding achievement for some and for others it can be a time of great distress and emotional turmoil.  There are lots of factors which influence how you feel about weaning.  One of them is what breastfeeding goals you set yourself.  If you’ve reached those goals – whether it’s to feed for 3 weeks or just to enjoy breastfeeding – will have a big influence on how you feel about weaning. Technically, weaning is the introduction of anything other than breastmilk into a baby’s diet.  This may be when you start solids or start to introduce a breastmilk substitute.  Most people understand weaning as the process of stopping breastfeeding. The decision to wean may be initiated by the baby, the mother or a mixture of the two.  If the baby is less than 12 months old and seems to be weaning, it may be that s/he is going through a period of breast refusal.  This can be a very distressing time for both the breastfeeding mother and her baby.  There are many techniques which can be used to encourage a baby to go back to breastfeeding, and support your supply in the meantime. If the baby is older than 12 months and starts the weaning process themselves, it may come as a shock to the mother and she may be distressed that her baby has initiated weaning before she is ready.  During these times, it can be helpful to discuss breastfeeding goals and strategies, to either support the weaning process or ways to encourage the baby back to the breast. If the mother is initiating weaning her baby, for whatever reason or age, it can be helpful to discuss the likely progress of this process and ways to reduce the risks both to your baby and to the mother.  A slow and gentle process can help the baby to adjust to the lack of breastmilk and let the mother’s supply dwindle naturally.  Very rarely, there is an immediate need to wean the baby off the breast, and in these cases much management may be needed to help the transition. In all cases of weaning – if you’re not ready to wean, but feel unable to continue – getting the right information and support can often help you to overcome the hurdle and continue to breastfeed until you feel the time to wean is right for both of you.  Please...
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Asthma and Breastfeeding

There has been much discussion in the last few years about the link between exclusive breastfeeding and asthma prevention.  Here’s an article from ScienceDaily.com discussing research supporting the view that exclusive breastfeeding duration reduces asthma-related symptoms in children. Breastfeeding May Prevent Asthma, Research Suggests ScienceDaily (July 22, 2011) — Feeding a baby on only breast milk and for up to 6 months after birth can reduce their risk of developing asthma-related symptoms in early childhood, according to new research.   The study, which is published online July 21, 2011 in the European Respiratory Journal, looked at the impact of the duration of breastfeeding and the introduction of alternative liquids or solids in addition to breast milk. The researchers, from the Generation R Study, Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, used questionnaires to gather data from over 5,000 children. They ascertained in the first 12 months after birth whether the children had ever been breastfed, when breastfeeding was stopped, and whether any other milk or solids were introduced. Further questionnaires were completed when the children were aged 1, 2, 3 and 4 years to check whether they had any asthma-related symptoms. The results showed that children who had never been breastfed had an increased risk of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during their first 4 years, compared to children who were breastfed for more than 6 months. The strongest links were seen with wheezing and persistent phlegm, as children were 1.4 and 1.5 times more likely to develop these symptoms if they had never been breastfed. Children who were fed other milk or solids during their first 4 months in addition to breast milk had an increased risk of wheezing, shortness of breath, dry cough and persistent phlegm during the first 4 years, compared to children who were exclusively breastfed for their first 4 months. While previous studies have shown a similar effect between breastfeeding and asthma risk, this research is the first that showed a link between the length of breastfeeding and the number of wheezing episodes. Also, this study found evidence that the first asthma-related symptoms occur earlier in life if children were breastfed for shorter lengths of time or not exclusively. Dr Agnes Sonnenschein-van der Voort, researcher at Generation R and lead author from the Erasmus Medical Center in The Netherlands, said: “The link of duration and exclusiveness of breastfeeding with asthma-related symptoms during the first...
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A Mother’s Testimonial

Here’s a testimonial that I received from a lovely mum I worked with. “I contacted Stacey after a recommendation by a relative, and my baby and I are very thankful to have utilised her services.  At 6 weeks of age my baby began crying constantly and not sleeping.  My husband and I were at the end of our tether not completely understanding why.  Stacey was quick to realise the problem had been not enough food as I had been advised to feed on one breast every 3 hours due to an oversupply of foremilk that was causing baby very painful wind.  She helped me to get back to recognising my baby’s needs rather than a set routine that obviously was not working.  I instantly had a contented baby and although looking back on it now it would have made sense to see I had a hungry baby – sticking to the advice I was given, attending to a very distressed baby and sleep deprivation had really clouded my judgment.   Stacey also reassured me my baby was getting plenty of milk after assessing a feed.  Soon after increasing the feeds, offering both breasts and relaxing with the ‘routines’ that I had read so much about in books, I had a much more relaxed baby who began sleeping through the night when she was 7 weeks old.  As Stacey had suggested she would find her own sleeping pattern with time and she did.  Stacey also helped me work out a plan for returning to work that was excellent and put my mind at ease that it is possible to carry on with breastfeeding while working.   I thank Stacey for the way she was compassionate and understanding through the whole consultation.  Stacey was also very in tune with the demands and guilt that mothers feel and was very proactive in recognising and helping deal with my emotional health issues.   Her follow-up emails were a great support.  As breastfeeding comes with many challenges and ongoing changes as baby develops I would recommend Stacey’s lactation services to any breastfeeding mum who find themselves confused by all of the advice out there that isn’t working for them.” Danielle F For more testimonials from mums, please check out my testimonials...
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Breastfeeding Plans

When someone finds out they are having a baby, a whole new world opens up.  There is often a huge focus on when/where/how the birth will take place.  People discuss at length, exactly how they are going to manage labour or a C/S.  No detail is left to the imagination and friends and family often like to give you their opinion on what your choices should be. This is not always the case with breastfeeding.  I often find that when I’m talking to mums of young bubs, they felt totally unprepared for the reality of life ‘on the other side’.  Most women think that because it is such a natural process that they don’t need to do any preparation for breastfeeding.  And while this is true for alot of mums, many women find that being informed may well have made their journey much easier. What are your choices in terms of breastfeeding, what can you do to help get breastfeeding off to a great start, what can you expect from a breastfeed and a breastfed baby, when do I need to get help, how long should I feed a baby, when should I change sides, how do I know that my baby is getting enough?  These questions are best answered before the baby arrives – when you (and your partner) are calm, well-rested and able to absorb information that can help you to make a smoother transition into breastfeeding.  It can also help to already be in contact with someone who is able to support you once your baby arrives, knows your individual situation and is expecting your call. Having a breastfeeding plan and information suited to your individual situation has helped many people to make better choices during the first few hours and weeks with their new baby.  If you would like to have a breastfeeding preparation session with me or would like to discuss  your individual breastfeeding needs, please feel free to contact me.   Image by adamr...
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