Wisdom for Today - Human
Author: TLN

“I Finally Called an IBCLC”

One Parent’s Real-Life Experience

Most new parents feel anxiety about breastfeeding. In the prenatal stage, prior to giving birth, it’s common to hear from friends and family that lactation is difficult—meanwhile, there’s cultural pressure to breastfeed ‘perfectly.’ Post-partum, new parents are raising a baby for the very first time, which can feel overwhelming even when their baby’s birth goes according to plan. 

This is one mom’s story about a birth that did not go according to plan, but it’s a success story, nonetheless.

Rose’s Story

Rose, new mom to one month old Evie, prepared for pregnancy and breastfeeding by every means necessary. She talked to people who had breastfed their kids, she read the books, she watched the films, and while pregnant, she started to search for an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Rose had heard that IBCLCs were the highest accredited healthcare professionals specializing in the clinical management of lactation. But the closest IBCLC covered by Rose’s insurance required an hour-long commute, and as a visual learner and a first-time mom, Rose knew she’d feel more confident with a hands-on expert guiding her through the process. Fortunately, Rose came across The Lactation Network, who offered to connect Rose to an insurance-covered IBCLC in her area. 

Then, three weeks earlier than expected, Evie was born. With this timeline change, Rose suddenly needed support immediately. And within 24 hours, Rose heard from her new IBCLC, Lori.

Natural… But Not Easy

Rose understood breastfeeding to be a natural process, but she had heard from many loved ones that it wasn’t intuitive. Her sister-in-law, in particular, informed Rose of some possible latching issue (Rose’s nephews had lip ties), and she had been warned by a midwife that the shape of her breasts weren’t conducive to latching. Rose had also heard that breastfeeding hurt. Before Evie arrived, Rose’s confidence was understandably a little shaken.

The First Consultation

Lori reassured Rose about everything immediately. “She could pick up on the fact that my husband and I needed encouragement, and she was so positive,” Rose said. Regarding worries about her breast shape, Rose recounted that Lori walked in and “was like, no girl, you’re fine! You don’t need different nipples, you just need to understand the mechanics of how breastfeeding works!” And after so many women had told her breastfeeding would be painful, “to have an expert come in and say this should not hurt. This should be comfortable for you and your baby. That just made me feel really good,” Rose said. With all her fears addressed, Rose felt like she could finally relax, which was especially important because all the stress of having a new baby—and having her early—was blocking Rose’s milk production. Lori listened, and demonstrated exactly how to hold Evie and how to use her breast pump for nighttime feedings. Lori also taught Rose how to navigate a fast letdown, how to manipulate the flow of milk so Evie could maintain a latch, and how to keep Evie awake while eating. Like most newborns, Evie had lost some weight in her first few days postpartum, but with Lori’s encouragement and Rose’s newfound confidence, Evie got back up to her birth weight in five days.

Rose’s Overall Impression of Working With an IBCLC

“Having Lori come in and not just want to fix it, but to hear me… to understand my anxiety and that I wanted it to work. That was awesome,” Rose said. 

In total, Lori and Rose had three visits. At the end of each consultation, Lori outlined the plan for the next consultation, and Rose appreciated the flexibility and personalization. Lori also followed up via text in the evenings to ask Rose how she felt throughout the day, and made sure Rose had all the support she needed.

Rose’s Experience With TLN

“I would have never found Lori if it wasn’t for The Lactation Network. Just to know that everything was going to be taken care of with my insurance, that was one less thing to think about. Because those first few weeks, there’s so much to do: getting your baby on your insurance… leaving work unexpectedly,” Rose recalled. “It was one less thing to delegate to my husband who was already taking care of everything else in the house, and supporting me and all the changes that come with postpartum.”

“If you feel like you can’t feed your baby… you panic,” said Rose, understandably. “Just for someone to say, there’s nothing to be stressed or worried about—that made such a difference for my mental health.” 

When Evie was born early, Rose remembers thinking “I’m not ready for this!” But she credits Lori with helping her realize she was ready. If you have anxieties about lactation, you are not alone. An expert IBCLC can help you feel comfortable, confident, and ready—just like Rose. See if you qualify for insurance-covered lactation consultations with TLN, and get the care you deserve.