When is a Good Time to Call a Lactation Specialist?

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New Moms and Breastfeeding

New moms may experience certain situations during breastfeeding that requires the help of a lactation specialist. A certified breastfeed counselor or an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) can help assist new moms with challenges they face during the time the are breastfeeding. A few special situations that may require help from a lactation specialist include:


Sometimes a woman who is expecting multiples goes into labor prematurely or has to have a C-section. Both of these factors can cause difficulties with breastfeeding. The lactation specialist will help the mother learn the best way to use supplements (if they are necessary), and will educate her on how often to feed her babies.

Breast Reduction

While some women are able to exclusively breastfeed after having breast reduction surgery, many are not. The success a woman will have with breastfeeding will depend upon whether or not the milk ducts were damaged during the surgery. In some cases, the mother will be able to partially breastfeed. The lactation specialist will educate the mother on how to make sure her baby is receiving enough milk and how to use supplements, which may be with the use of a supplemental nursing system or feeding syringe.

Low Wet Diaper Count

Before the age of six weeks, a baby should have at least five to six wet and three dirty diapers per day. The urine should appear pale in color, and the diaper should feel full. If the mother notices that her baby is having fewer than six wet diapers per day, she should call a lactation specialist. Babies who have a low diaper count are usually not receiving enough milk. This can be due to not nursing frequently enough, a low-milk supply, medical complications in the baby or poor latch issues. The lactation specialist will help the mother determine what the problem is and will advise her on how to correct it.

Low Weight Gain

On average, breastfed babies gain about six ounces per week. While the actual weight gain of each baby will differ, the mother should consult a lactation specialist if her baby is having little to no weight gain.


Jaundice is a build up of bilirubin in a baby’s system. It usually causes the baby’s skin to have a yellow tint. There are three types of jaundice that a baby may have; physiologic (normal), pathologic (caused by medical complications), or breast milk jaundice. A lactation specialist can help the mother determine what the best course of action is. In some cases, the baby may require immediate medical attention and treatment with phototherapy. In nearly all cases, the mother is recommended to continue breastfeeding as much as possible.

Breast Pain

During the initial stages of breastfeeding, some women do experience soreness that subsides after 10 days. If a woman notices severe or persistent pain, she should call a lactation specialist. Pain may be caused by an improper latch, thrush, a clogged milk duct or other medical issues. Most conditions can successfully be treated with the help of lactation specialist.

Pumping Questions

Sometimes, women have difficulty selecting the correct size flange or shield for their breast pump. They may also have concerns on how often they should pump and how much milk they should be expressing for their baby. A lactation specialist can help the mother with any concerns or questions she has regarding pumping.

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Twins. (2008, November 12). Retrieved from http://www.llli.org/faq/twins.html

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