What are lactation and breastfeeding support services?
A lactation support team helps mothers achieve their breastfeeding goal by providing individualized breastfeeding information, consultation and support. Our experienced staff helps mothers with infant latching and milk supply, and avoid unnecessary supplementation or weaning infants early due to problems that are either avoidable or manageable.
When are lactation support services needed?
If a new mother is experiencing any of the following circumstances, she may be able to benefit from lactation support services:
- Breastfeeding a premature infant or an infant with slow weight gain/failure to thrive
- Breastfeeding under special circumstances such as down syndrome, cystic fibrosis and heart disease
- Infant problems requiring surgery, such as cleft lip or cleft palate and cardiac defects
- Insufficient or low milk supply or concerns about weight loss (>10% in first 2 weeks)
- Infant fussiness/sucking difficulties that interfere with breastfeeding
- Infant preference for bottle feeding or inability to latch
- Concerns about mother’s medications, chronic illness, or food intolerances/allergies
- Breastfeeding while returning to work
- Breastfeeding more than one infant (multiple births)
- Pain with nursing (sore nipples or breast and engorgement)
- Concerns about maintaining mother's milk and/or breastfeeding when the mother and infant are separated
- In the event a mother has a premature or hospitalized infant, we help with mechanical expression with a breast pump until the infant can feed directly at the breast.
Frequently asked questions about lactation support
Who is eligible to receive lactation support?
Lactation support services are available during any hospitalization for anyone having questions or concerns about breastfeeding.
What tests are used to diagnose breastfeeding problems?
We generally evaluate by observing a breastfeeding session and use pre- and post-test weighing to measure intake at the breast. We also may need to do blood tests to work-up other reasons for weight loss that may be mistakenly related to breastfeeding but can be caused by vitamin D deficiency, reflux, hypoxia due to airway issues or disorganized suck that may need additional occupational therapy evaluation, among other causes.