How a Lactation Consultant Can Help with Low Milk Supply

Feb 7, 2024 | Breastfeeding

Young mother with low milk supply breastfeeding baby at home

Breastfeeding is a crucial aspect of infant development, providing essential nutrients and fostering a strong bond between parents and their babies. However, some parents may encounter challenges, such as low milk supply, which can be a source of frustration and concern. Lactation consultants play a vital role in supporting parents facing this issue, offering expert guidance and personalized strategies to enhance milk production. In this article, we will explore how lactation consultants can assist parents experiencing low milk supply and the evidence-based practices that support their effectiveness.

Understanding Low Milk Supply

Low milk supply is a common concern among breastfeeding mothers. It can be caused by various factors, including hormonal imbalances, ineffective latch, insufficient glandular tissue, or certain medical conditions. It is essential for parents to seek professional help from an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) when facing challenges with milk production. 

IBCLCs: The Experts in Breastfeeding Support

IBCLCs (International Board Certified Lactation Consultants) are trained professionals specializing in breastfeeding education and support. They possess in-depth knowledge of lactation physiology, infant feeding behaviors, and evidence-based strategies to overcome breastfeeding difficulties. Lactation consultants work collaboratively with parents to assess their unique situations and develop tailored plans to address low milk supply.

Assessment and Personalized Care

One of the key roles of lactation consultants is to conduct a thorough assessment of the mother and baby’s breastfeeding dynamics. This includes evaluating the baby’s latch, observing feeding sessions, and considering the mother’s health history. Through this comprehensive assessment, lactation consultants can identify the root causes of low milk supply and develop a personalized care plan to address each specific issue.

Implementing Evidence-Based Strategies

Lactation consultants utilize evidence-based strategies to enhance milk supply. This may include recommendations for frequent and effective breastfeeding, proper latch techniques, and the use of breast compression to maximize milk transfer during feeding sessions. Additionally, consultants may advise mothers on lifestyle factors that can positively impact milk production, such as adequate hydration, balanced nutrition, and sufficient rest.

Galactagogues and Medications

In some cases, lactation consultants may discuss the use of galactagogues, which are foods, herbs, or medications that help boost milk supply. Lactation consultants guide parents on the appropriate use of these interventions, always considering the individual’s health and preferences.

Emotional Support and Encouragement

Addressing low milk supply can be emotionally challenging for parents. Lactation consultants provide empathetic support, addressing concerns and fears while offering encouragement to persevere through difficulties. This emotional support is integral to the overall well-being of both the mother and the breastfeeding relationship.

Lactation consultants play a crucial role in assisting mothers facing challenges with milk supply. Through comprehensive assessments, evidence-based strategies, and personalized care plans, these experts empower mothers to overcome breastfeeding difficulties and enjoy a fulfilling breastfeeding journey. As the importance of breastfeeding continues to be emphasized, the role of lactation consultants becomes increasingly vital in ensuring that mothers receive the support they need to navigate and overcome challenges related to milk supply.

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Sarah Early - MSN, APRN-FNP-C, IBCLC

Sarah Early, MSN, APRN, FNP-C, IBCLC, is a clinically trained Integrative and Functional Health Family Nurse Practitioner who specializes in women's health and is the owner of Peony Women's Integrative Health and Lactation Room. She graduated with a Master's in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner with high distinction and is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Sarah has been a practicing International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) since 2011 and opened Lactation Room in 2014. Lactation Room specializes in supporting parent/baby dyads who are struggling with infant oral dysfunction, feeding difficulties, and tongue-and-lip ties. They earned the prestigious IBCLE Care Award from the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® (IBLCE®) and International Lactation Consultant Association® (ILCA®) have recognized Lactation Room for excellence in lactation care. She is a member of ILCA, USLCA, MBC, AANP, IATP, and MBC.