If you would like to breastfeed, or are having difficulty breastfeeding, a breastfeeding counselor may be able to help you. A breastfeeding counselor has usually completed a program specific to supporting women through breastfeeding challenges. There are several different types of breastfeeding support that may be available to you:
- Breastfeeding Counselor – someone who can support you with common breastfeeding problems and has usually completed a course specific to breastfeeding physiology and counseling. Many breastfeeding counselors are working towards their IBCLC certification which takes several years.
- Breastfeeding Educator – someone who provides classes in breastfeeding, most commonly during pregnancy
- Lactation Consultant – someone who has completed a comprehensive course in human physiology, lactation support and also passed the IBCLC examination
- La Leche League Leader – a peer supporter who has breastfed herself and can help with support and encouragement for breastfeeding mothers
A great breastfeeding counselor will spend time listening to you explain the concerns and problems you are having. They will encourage you to reflect on your breastfeeding experience and identify solutions that will work for you. They may provide telephone as well as face to face support. Most importantly, you should feel “heard” when you are talking with a breastfeeding counselor.
If you are not experiencing any significant problems but would like to have support of other breastfeeding mothers, a peer-to-peer support group may be right for you. La Leche League offer support groups around the world.