How do I know if I should consult a lactation specialist?

Updated on: Jan 13, 2016

In certain situations, the mother should see a lactation consultant. Pain in the breast or other discomfort in the area, as well as concern over the growth of the baby are good clues that indicate the need for consultation.

Breastfeeding should not be painful. During the first week of life of the newborn, the breasts adapt to the suction, which can hurt the nipple skin. Normally, after a few days, this discomfort should disappear.

However, if the pain is still present after several days, it is possible that the breastfeeding technique is not optimal. Also, if the pain persists after 5-6 seconds of breastfeeding, it is very likely that the method is not adequate. To watch an adequate technique of breastfeeding, you can consult the guide “Living well with our child from pregnancy to two years” or watch videos on breastfeeding made by Dr. Jack Newman. If the mother is unable to find a good method of breastfeeding, then it is better to see a lactation specialist to resolve the situation.

There are other situations where it is necessary to use the services of a lactation consultant.

In the mother:

  • Fever;
  • Redness or areas of the breast that are swollen / hot;
  • Crevices accompanied by cracking and bleeding from the nipple;
  • Breast surgery;
  • Pain / burning sensation inside the breast during lactation;
  • Constant pain after breastfeeding.

Note that these problems are different from those related to increased sensitivity of the breasts during breastfeeding, which is normal.

In the baby, several signs associated with the child’s growth occurring in the first 21 days may indicate the need to see an expert in breastfeeding. It is important to consult as soon as one of the following is noticed:

  • Loss of 10% or more of the birth weight of the baby after returning from the hospital;
  • Return to the birth weight after 14 days or more;
  • Weight gain of less than 20 g per day (N.B. if the daily weight gain is of 20 g to 30 g per day, the weight gain should be monitored closely);
  • A slowing growth curve (weight, height, head circumference) in the first 3 months;
  • Baby dozing off during feeding;
  • Difficulty to breastfeed;
  • Meconium (very dark first stool of the baby) still present after 5 days;
  • Absence of daily stools before the age of 21 days (baby must have at least 2 to 3 bowel movements per day before this age);
  • Reduction of the urine volume (less than 6 diapers per 24 h).

In case of doubt or questions, it is necessary to refer to a professional so that breastfeeding stays a positive experience for the mother and the baby. Before turning to a commercial preparation, please consult.

Info-Santé (811) and your CLSC can provide information. Several CLSCs offer breastfeeding clinics where experienced nurses can check the weight of the baby and give advice about breastfeeding. It is also possible to find help with community groups in your region, which can offer free community clinics with lactation consultants (IBCLC).

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Here are some additional resources to support breastfeeding:

QUEBEC ASSOCIATION OF LACTATING CONSULTANTS GRADUATED FROM THE INTERNATIONAL BOARD OF CERTIFIED LACTATION CONSULTANTS (IBCLC)

  • 514-990-0262
  • Services: Directory of lactation consultants (fees apply), list of free clinics.

BREASTFEEDING INC.

JEWISH GENERAL HOSPITAL OF MONTREAL, GOLDFARB BREASTFEEDING CLINIC

LA LECHE LEAGUE

  • Free aid: 1-866-ALLAITER
  • Services: Nursing instructors (free support), information meetings, helpline

NOURRI-SOURCE

  • 514 948-9877
  • Services: Nursing godmothers (support), support for fathers during breastfeeding, prenatal information sessions

Références

Riordan, Jan. (2004). Breastfeeding and human lactation (3e éd.). Sudbury, Massachussets: Jones and Bartlett publishers.



 
Ressources

Doré N. et Le Henaff, D. (2015). Mieux vivre avec notre enfant de la grossesse à deux ans, guide pratique pour les mères et les pères.



Hôpital général juif de Montréal, Clinique d’allaitement Goldfarb. (2014). Mastite : Document à l’intention des patients.



Hôpital général juif de Montréal, Clinique d’allaitement Goldfarb. (2013). Production de lait réduite : Document à l’intention des parents.



Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec. (2011). Aide-mémoire pour les mères qui allaitent.



 

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