PART II: How to Find the Right IBCLC For You
When you’re a new or expecting mom, there is an entire world you have to become acquainted with that you’ve never stepped foot in before.
Part of that is breastfeeding and breastfeeding help. In Part I, we discussed what an IBCLC is and why you need one.
But how do you go about finding one? And not just any one, but the right one?
Start in your circle
Ideally, beginning with a personal recommendation from a friend or relative is the most reliable option. She knows you and your personality and can likely vouch if you would gel well with her own Lactation Consultant. Even if she has a recommendation of who not to see - that is also helpful in narrowing your search.
Expand your search
If you don’t have any mom friends in your same season with young babies, then you may find it helpful to look online. But instead of a basic Google search, join a local mom “support” group on Facebook - it can be baby or breastfeeding focused, as long as it’s somewhat local to you. When asking for recommendations, ask some specifics as well. Things like: Did they help you with any specific breastfeeding problems? Did they seem generally patient and like they enjoy helping new moms? Were they more encouraging and helpful or critical?
Set up a preliminary meeting
If you’re able to make it happen before you give birth, set up a time to tour the office or clinic where they work and have a quick in-person meeting to get an idea of their philosophy on breastfeeding, how they structure their appointments, etc.
This might seem like overkill in the midst of everything else you have on your pregnant mind, but the reality is your breastfeeding plan deserves at least as much attention and thought as your birth plan (if not, more!)
Some points to consider in your meeting:
- Do I feel comfortable in this space?
- Do I feel comfortable with this consultant?
- Does she seem knowledgeable and eager to help?
- Do I sense any critical spirit or condescending tones?
- Are they able to accommodate me and my baby as needed, not just in the first week after birth, but on an ongoing basis?
- How will I pay for this service? Do they accept my insurance?
Yay, you’ve found an IBCLC!
Now what happens if you aren’t pleased with them or their approach after your baby arrives?
Great news - you aren’t bound to stick with the first IBCLC you use.
Sometimes it just turns out to not be the right fit. That’s okay. If you feel bullied, condescended to, or like they are just not on your side or looking out for your best interests, it’s time to find someone else to oversee your breastfeeding journey.
Hopefully in your initial search process you looked into more than one option. Now’s the time to circle back to that list and get in touch with your plan B person.
Ultimately, you want to find someone who’s going to cheer you on and make it their mission to help you meet your breastfeeding goals.
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