Lactation consulting: A successful career option with hidden depths

Have you ever thought about a job where you help those little humans get the best start in life? If yes, lactation consulting could be your calling.

This field is growing rapidly as more parents recognize the benefits of breastfeeding. But wait, there’s more than just that! These consultants do much more than teach new mothers how to help their babies latch on for feeding. In fact, this career dives deep into the health, emotional, and physical well-being of both the mother and her baby. 

So, if you’re interested in a career that helps moms and babies thrive, keep reading. You might be surprised at how awesome and varied a job as a lactation consultant can be!

Clinical expertise and support

Lactation consultants do much more than help with basic breastfeeding techniques like latching and positioning. They tackle a range of complex issues that can affect breastfeeding success.

Many new moms face challenges that can make breastfeeding tough. Some common issues include low milk supply, tongue ties, and mastitis, as well as an inflammation of the breast tissue. However, a consultant is trained to identify and manage these problems. They know various strategies to boost milk production. Also, they offer solutions to relieve and prevent painful conditions like mastitis.

There’s more to it! These experts bring specialized knowledge to their work. They deal with unique situations, such as premature babies, twins, or more, and mothers who have health conditions that might affect breastfeeding. Their expertise ensures that every mother and baby pair gets the right kind of help specific to their needs.

Education and advocacy

Lactation consultants also educate and advocate. And why not? After all, a lactation consultant has completed more than 1,000 hours of lactation-specific clinical practice, which is directly supervised. Along with that, they have passed the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) exam, making them highly qualified. So, if you want to be a board-certified lactation consultant, you must also meet these rigorous standards.

They play a key role in teaching parents about the many benefits of breastfeeding. They explain why it’s good for both the baby’s and the mother’s health and teach techniques that make breastfeeding easier and more effective. Beyond just talking, they provide resources like local support contacts so parents feel well-equipped and confident.

Not to mention, these experts often take on the role of advocates. They work to change policies in workplaces, healthcare settings, and communities to support breastfeeding mothers better. This could mean pushing for private spaces where women can breastfeed or pump at work or helping hospitals adopt practices that encourage breastfeeding from birth. Their advocacy helps ensure that mothers get the support they need, no matter where they are.

Research and evidence-based practice

Moving on to research, this part of their job ensures they provide the best support possible and help advance the field of lactation consulting. So, how do they stay involved in research and evidence-based practice?

These consultants make it a priority to stay informed about the latest research in breastfeeding and infant nutrition. This ongoing education helps them apply the most current and effective methods when advising mothers. This ensures that their guidance is based on solid evidence. 

Beyond just using the latest research, these consultants can also contribute to it. You read that right! Some even take part in studies about breastfeeding, while others might help develop new guidelines and protocols. By contributing their on-the-ground insights and data, they help shape the scientific understanding that will guide future consultants. 

Over the top, these experts also play a key role in evaluating the effectiveness of various breastfeeding programs. By reviewing how well these initiatives work, they can give feedback that leads to improved designs and outcomes. 

Additional career paths

Let’s explore some additional career paths that lactation consultants can pursue, from writing and consulting to working on public health initiatives.

  • Writing and Consulting – They have a wealth of knowledge that can benefit more than just their direct clients. Many find opportunities to write articles or blog posts about breastfeeding and maternal health. This helps spread valuable information and establishes them as experts in their field. 
  • Product Development – There’s also a creative side to lactation consulting. They often work with companies that design and make breastfeeding products like pumps, bottles, and nursing bras. Their real-world experience and feedback can help make these products better suited to the needs of new mothers. 
  • Public Health – Finally, these IBCLC-certified experts play a vital role in public health. They work on initiatives that aim to increase breastfeeding rates and support the health of mothers and their children. This might involve leading community workshops, creating informative materials, or participating in campaigns that encourage breastfeeding. Their expertise is crucial in helping to shape health policies and programs that benefit families community-wide.

Lactation consultants are superheroes for new moms and their babies

It turns out lactation consultants aren’t just about helping babies latch. They’re the superheroes for new moms and their babies, using their brains and big hearts to make sure everyone gets the best start. So, if you’re looking for a career that’s different, helps people, and always has something new to learn, lactation consulting might be for you.