Lactation Consultants are great and they are at your disposal if you are having any breastfeeding issues at all. We work on everything from latching on, to milk supply problems to, weaning your baby. Anything and everything that you can imagine, related to breastfeeding we will fix for you. You have to though find your own.
Just like you would with a doctor, you have to have a comfort level and you have to be on the same page as Lactation Consultants. What's good for your one friend might not be good for another. There are going to be some who are going to have different views on breastfeeding and it really depends on your lifestyle and what you expect out of it. What you need most is to be comfortable knowing this is your go to person, this is the person you are going to call when you have any breastfeeding issues. You shouldn't feel like you have to hesitate and you shouldn't feel uncomfortable at all asking anything that's on your mind. If you are, then you need to find one that's going to fall into the same group as you are. Lactation consultants are board certified.
There are breast feeding educators out there, there are lactation educators but if you need clinical hands on help you want to look for someone with the designation IBCLC, which is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. That is how you will know that the person has been through a proper program and has actually taken a board exam to be called a lactation consultant. If you go to the website ILCA.org, you can plug in your zip code and they will find for you a lactation consultant in your area. If you don't want to do it that way and you have a friend who has been using one for ages, then absolutely go with word of mouth because that is the most comfortable route.
You would typically use a lactation consultant from everything, anything and everything, from the very beginning. From a prenatal breastfeeding class on through weaning. Many, many women, the majority use them in the first couple of months after they have delivered, just to make sure, in many cases moms feel like they are doing fine breastfeeding but just want a breastfeeding checkup. And so Lactation Consultants can come in and just examine everything and see how the baby is doing, how you are doing, and then sometimes we are called in for more aggressive issues; the baby is not latching on, mom has no milk, mom has too much milk.
There are many different issues but you should never, ever hesitate to call because this getting issues fixed early or questions answered early is really the key to the entire experience. You don't want to wait too long.