As you know - breastfeeding or chestfeeding can be both an amazing bonding experience and, at times, a bit of a challenge!

That's where lactation consultants come in! These experts can be a total game-changer when it comes to guiding and supporting you through your breastfeeding journey.

Today, I’m chatting with Bianca Nash, a Lactation Consultant of Birth Queens & Milk Queens in Covert, MI.  She’s going to share her tips for lactating parents and how she usually do things so that you know what to expect. I did this interview while we were carpooling together on the way to the Maternal & Infant Health Summit this past June. The "bold" are the questions that I asked her and the text after that was her response.

What are the most common reasons or issues that parents come to see you?

So some of the most common reasons that a mom would reach out for lactation support are typically low milk supply, pain while breastfeeding, and then from there, also just every day issue of baby not latching or things, not being comfortable, but I would say the number one reason is low milk supply. 

Does it actually turn out to be a low milk supply or it was perceived as a low milk supply?

I think every case is different, some are true, low milk supplies, and then some are also the perception of a low milk supply due to outside forces, such as social media, giving the idea that a milk supply, should in order for it to be ample, that it should be at a certain place.

Can you tell me about your education and certification as a lactation consulting?

Yes. So I am an internationally board certified lactation consultant. I have been working with families in the lactation space for about five years. I started off as a lay lactation person, which just like a non-credential person, just using my lived experience to help people.

And from there, I became a certified lactation counselor and then after that I became an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). And in December, it'll be a year that I've been a IBCLC 

If someone is thinking about hiring a lactation consultant, when should they reach out?

I honestly believe that every lactating person should have a breastfeeding/chestfeeding consult as soon as possible.

I think that when problems arise as soon as the problem arises reaching out and asking for help because many times the sooner we're able to intercept a problem, the faster or the easier, the solution can be, so the longer someone may go the harder, it may be to fix the problem just like with most things.

Can you describe your approach to supporting lactating people with breastfeeding challenges?

Yes, so my approach is very much one of taking almost the standpoint of motivational interviewing I like to. Get a good understanding of what the issue is and then how the client or the patient would like to move forward.

So for example, if someone is experiencing problems with low milk supply, I may ask, you know, ‘what are your goals for breastfeeding or chestfeeding? Do you see yourself doing this for another five, six months?’ And other questions, just to be able to get a good understanding of where they are, where they stand and what would work faster for them from there.

I like to give them different options. And then allow them to choose the option that works best for them. I think, in most situations, there are several different options that we can take. And I think that it's important to allow them to choose what's best for them because the chances of them moving forward and following through that are much higher, if they're able to be involved in the conversation that if they feel like they've been dictated to.

What resources do you recommend to new parents to help them to feed and breastfeeding?

Good question! I really subscribe to the idea that In order to breastfeed, you don't really need anything. I don't believe that you need a special pillow or a specific nipple shield or really much of anything. Unless there is a situation that dictates it. 

When we talk about products and organizations companies that I think have good products I really like Legendairy. I think that they have a really, really good set of products that people can utilize and I'm a big fan of using natural things.

So coconut oil, vitamin E oil and things you already have around the house. So if somebody is experiencing a clogged up [duct] using a massager maybe that you use for your back or something of that nature.

I am very much a recycle and reuse type person. So I really, really like to lean into encouraging clients to use what they already have around the house for breast/chestfeeding.

That way, it doesn't feel so heavy. It feels a little bit lighter and easier when you realize you can do it within the confines of what you already possess in your environment.

How you handle situations where a parent might need to stop or supplement with formula or consider alternative feeding methods? 

Absolutely, that's a great question. I think that people sometimes believe or assume that if you are a lactation consultant, then you're against formula or that formula is a protagonist and that's not necessarily the case. Formula is a feeding option and it's a tool and I think that at the end of the day we all want to see healthy babies. We want to see babies have good growth trends. 

So for me, if a baby needs to be supplemented, it's something that I handle with care and it's something that I don't take lightly but I look at it as a tool or a way to be able to help that baby meet their goals and be healthy because that's the number one goal that I have in mind.

There's an assumption that lactation consultants only work with newborns but do you work with babies as old as.. how old?

I have worked with babies that are preemie newborn and then going all the way up to two years old. I had a family where the baby was two years old and the lactating person, just wanted some support on weaning and what that would look like.

And then also continuing feeding in different ways. So expression, and Just some of the alternatives that she had and the best way to go about walking down those pathways. 

If somebody wants to meet with you to be their lactation consultant. How do they get in touch with you?

They can go to my website, which is www.birthqueensandmilkqueens.com/ On there, if you click the tab that says "consultation," you can schedule a consult with me. I do accept most major insurance and I am able to bill those to be able to support families with lactation support. Aside from that, you can find me on social media, Facebook and Instagram. Thank you!

About the Author Kristen Schell

Kristen is a birth doula, photographer and childbirth educator. She wants to help families feel inspired by what birth can be. It can be beautiful, empowering, supported, and evidence based.

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