Why don't I say it? Essentially because it's rude. How do I say that we are better? What makes us better?
Many parents have met with a breastfeeding helper (hopefully they are an IBCLC) in the hospital in the days immediately after baby is born. Unfortunately, during their shift the hospital IBCLC is tasked with seeing an entire list of new families as well as the babies in the NICU. They are allotted about 15 minutes per family. Sometimes a family gets lucky and the IBCLC has more time to spend with them.
During an appointment with The MILC Group we spend 1.5 to 2 hours with families. We have the opportunity to fully listen and discuss the issues the breastfeeding dyad is having. We can examine the baby and observe a relaxed nursing session. We feel privileged to have this time with you.
Some families have gone back to the hospital lactation centers for outpatient visits to work on the latch, etc. It would be my expectation that during that consult a full and thorough oral examination would be done as well as looking at the baby's structure and function. Time should be taken to listen. A full health history can show much about what is going on. Sadly this is often not the case.
Why do the IBCLCs of The MILC Group take more time doing the type of exam mentioned above? Part of it is experience, but more so training we have received. We have chosen to pursue additional hands-on training as well as other professional development which has assisted us in identifying issues that others miss. Taking the time to really look at a baby. Is the baby's alignment straight or crooked? Does their body curve one way or their neck twist another? How does their mouth move when nursing? How does their jaw look? What is going on inside of their mouth?
This past week, a parent posted in an online group. They wrote they were switching to exclusively pumping and bottle feeding. They had seen several IBCLCs at the hospital and they were still having latch and pain issues. I tried to explain the bottle can get the job done feeding their baby, but the issue causing feeding at the breast to go poorly is still there. This is a hard thing to explain to someone who is in pain and desperate.
How many kids do you know who get pulled out for speech therapy in elementary school? How many times do you hear a parent say that their kids are picky eaters, won't eat foods with certain textures, that they can't swalllow pills, etc.? These are often signs of an oral issue that might have been caught with a thorough examination by a well-trained IBCLC. Taking a full and thorough health history and asking questions about family oral anatomy can tell so much! I always get excited putting the dots together for people. You can switch to bottles as so many families have done for the past 100 or so years BUT that oral anatomy won't change.
Can The MILC Group fix every problem? No. We can do our best though and through our Weight Check Wednesdays and Friday Breastfeeding Support Group we do our very best to continue supporting families who are having issues and working through problems. We offer support and encouragement. We provide referrals. We hope to be the people who keep you going. We do this because someone did it for us.