Then why are you choosing anyone besides an IBCLC to help you with breastfeeding difficulties? In my private practice I have heard over and over from parents that their pediatrician, nurse, midwife, or doula (the list goes on) gave them such and such information related to nursing their baby. To be blunt, most of that information is FALSE! It's not that they don't want to help these parents, or aren't great professionals, its that they are not specialists in breastfeeding.
I'm not putting these professionals down. They all specialize in something. Specializing is what makes medical care great. However, when one steps outside of their scope rather than referring to the CORRECT specialist for a specific condition, it causes incorrect information that circulates Dr. Google to continue its life span.
So what exactly is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)? In short we (I am referring to myself in this since I hold this credential) help educate, support, and manage breastfeeding/chestfeeding. We are considered the gold standard of professionals when it comes to lactation related care. There are tons of various certificates which give people tools to help with NORMAL breastfeeding/chestfeeding. Once the help that is needed goes beyond basic latch-on, positioning, and milk supply maintenance, a referral to an IBCLC should be provided. The people holding those certificates should know their scope of practice and stay within their scope. Failure to yield and refer out to a proper specialist or expert, almost always results in sub-optimal care of the parent and baby.
With that being said, just because a referral is made does NOT mean that care ends for the referring provider. It is SO important for all providers of a care team to communicate to one another to keep your care as continuous as possible. This means that your IBCLC obtaining your consent to send charts to you, and your baby's other providers (OBGYN, Midwife, pediatrician, dentist, or any other involved professional) about their findings. If you are unsure they do this, simply ask. This is one of the biggest issues in the care we receive today from the medical world.
In short, it is important to choose the proper medical professional for any medical condition you currently have or will have. Failure to do so leads to sub-optimal outcomes. I have heard time and time again from family and friends that they didn't even know there were professionals available to help specifically with breastfeeding/chestfeeding. They almost always state that had they known, things would have ended up differently. Hearing this creates mixed emotions. I first apologize for the lack of proper support they received. I then explain that what they didn't know they didn't know and they cannot go back and fix that. The second thing it does, is it solidifies my decision I made to fight to become an IBCLC. Providers need to know we are out there to give proper referrals, and parents and babies need our support.
To find out more about what an IBCLC does please visit www.IBLCE.org