Cynthia is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a mama to two boys. She strives in empowering mamas to reach their goals for lactating! She offers a handful of different services ranging from breastfeeding classes to bottle consults and flange fitting (for pumping). She does in-home consults and services parts of Anne Arundel County, Calvert County, and Prince George’s County.
What does a lactation consultant do?
Officially, an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. In more everyday terms, and what matters to families, is that an IBCLC supports them in lactation and breast/chestfeeding. That may mean helping with positioning and latching, working with low or oversupply, helping families give a bottle to their babies, working with parents through anatomical issues, weaning, and much more. An IBCLC works with families on anything surrounding lactation, prenatally through weaning.
In a regular postpartum visit, I take a health history of both the baby and the lactating parent, continue with a physical assessment of both, discuss issues, concerns, and goals, and evaluate and assist with a feeding. We then work together to create a plan that will help families meet their goals.
Why should a breastfeeding mama see a lactation consultant?
I wish everyone lactating, or wanting to lactate, could work with an IBCLC! Think of all the questions and concerns that come to mind either before having a baby, or while learning to breastfeed. I can answer those questions and guide families to find what works for them. The most common reasons families see me are for concerns about baby’s weight gain, painful latching with sore nipples, concerns about supply, and babies with tongue tie. I also often see families whose baby is struggling to take a bottle. I also see families who want to make sure they are on the right track. While there are many reasons to call an IBCLC, most importantly, if you are in pain and/or your baby is not gaining weight appropriately, seek help from an IBCLC.
What are the benefits of hiring a lactation consultant?
IBCLCs are the gold standard in lactation care. For families who want to breastfeed, getting the help they need can be the difference between a successful breastfeeding relationship and one that is a struggle and full of stress. Having an IBCLC on your healthcare team means you are using evidence-based information to support your breastfeeding relationship. Everyone’s experience is so different and with an IBCLC you have the benefit of knowledge, not just about lactation, but understanding your personal health history and situation to create a plan that works best for you.
How can a mom find a lactation consultant?
- ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association) has a directory in which you can search: https://www.ilca.org/why-ibclc/falc.
- Ask your insurance company
- Ask your pediatrician for recommendations
- Ask in local Mom groups
- Google it!
When should someone hire a lactation consultant?
If you have concerns before the baby arrives, or would just like to prepare, you can set up a prenatal visit. Otherwise, I recommend calling as soon as you are struggling, whether with pain or baby’s weight gain. Ask to see an IBCLC in the hospital if you are giving birth in a hospital, and then reach out when you get home. I see families anywhere from 3 days postpartum, through weaning, so there is no wrong time to reach out!
Do you meet with clients prior to birth to get to know them and their family?
Yes, I offer prenatal consults. Prenatal consults are like a private breastfeeding class where we can discuss the normal range of what to expect, as well as your specific needs and concerns.
Do you offer education and resources for lactating mothers?
Along with the plethora of education and resources families receive during a consult, I teach the Breastfeeding Basics class and the Milk Expression 101 class at Special Beginnings. (www.specialbeginnings.com). They are open to everyone; you do not have to be a client of Special Beginnings to join us.
Do you offer insurance? If not, what’s your price range? Do you offer payment plans?
I am in-network with Aetna. Depending on their plan, Aetna members are generally allowed six visits with no out-of-pocket cost. For all other insurance members, I provide a coded receipt which they can submit to their insurance companies for reimbursement. Under the ACA, insurance is supposed to cover lactation care, so I recommend families call their insurance provider and find out what they will reimburse. Prices vary based on services, which you can find on my website at www.lactationlife.com. I have worked with families in the past on payment plans. Some people also choose to use their HSA cards.
If you could tell a new mom one thing about breastfeeding, what is it?
As I often tell new families, just like nursing, walking is a normal part of development, but toddlers fall down as they learn to walk. It’s ok to have questions, concerns, and struggles with breastfeeding! You are two (or more!) people learning together. If you are in pain, please call. Tenderness is normal, but pain is a signal that we need help. That’s why I’m here!
Any other information that you’d like your clients to know?
My tagline is No Guilt. No Pressure. Just personalized care. I always say I am helping you meet your breastfeeding goals. My work is about you and your family, not about me. If you want to exclusively breastfeed, I am here to guide you. If you want to induce lactation and breastfeed your adopted baby, I am here to guide you. If you want to do combo feeding, I am here to guide you. If you want to wean, I am here to guide you. I strongly believe in the benefits of breast milk and breast/chestfeeding, both for the baby and the parent. I will always be truthful and provide the most up-to-date evidence in your care. I also believe in supporting families where they are, and where they want to go. There is more than one right way to be a parent.
Interested in learning more? Head on over to https://www.lactationlife.com/ to see if Cynthia is a fit for your family!
Interested in documenting your journey through breastfeeding? Schedule a session with me at https://melanieamparo.com/contact
Melanie Amparo Photography, LLC
Birth, Baby, and Family Photographer