"I've heard of LC's but couldn't believe that there are women who would pay for help"

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
"I've heard of LC's but couldn't believe that there are women who would pay for help"
15
Fri, 12-10-2010 - 12:42pm

I found this thread on a parenting board for NYC moms about about started by a mom who didn't seem to comprehend the point of a lactation consultant. She asked "Would you pay for a lactation consultant?" seemingly mystified as to why anyone would pay to get help with breastfeeding. I really illustrates the poor state of BF support in the U.S. and how misinformed some women are about how getting good help with BF'ing. You can see the complete thread her: http://newyorkcity.momslikeme.com/members/JournalActions.aspx?g=188457&m=10409573&grpcat=

Here is the opening post she wrote:
"DH was reading an article in the NY Times this morning titled "The Breast Whisperer" He suggested I put it on here. Its about a woman who can help moms in breastfeeding. She charges $200 to help breastfeed. I've heard of lactation consultants but couldn't believe that there are women who would pay for help. I couldn't breastfeed and gave up after trying for a few days. I didnt consider calling anyone except my mom. Would you go as far as to pay for assistance? Here's the link to the article. What would you do?
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/nyregion/21freda.html?ref=nyregion "

Notice how she says that she she tried for a few days then gave up. I think if she had seen an LC she might have had better luck with breastfeeding. I assume she probably spent probably spent at least $1500-$2000 on formula for a year so does so it's very possible she could have saved the as up to $1800 even with a $200 LC consultation. Does she not realize that the LC would help you be successful at BF'ing not thus not need to buy formula?

It seems she was not the only one who failed to get what the benefit of paying for an LC is:
"Nope. I didn't even take classes when I was pregnant. Was too busy working, stressing and being exhausted to worry about that. I did it for a little while because I wanted to see what it was like. Kiddo spit up alot,but it was nice. My mom never breastfed so I wouldn't have known who to ask anyway."

Whether her mom BF'd or not is not going to necessarily help her with finding an LC, unless her mom is either a LC herself , an LLL leader, doctor who works with an LC, WIC employee, etc. This a failure I think on her hospital and her doctors for not providing a LC for her or not having a LC associated the doctors practice. I also think that if a mom is going to have a baby that they should find the time to prepare better for it even if they are working

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iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2008

When DD was 4 days old, her jaundice got really bad. She ended up back in the hospital (so tramatizing for mommy.) I knew we were having issues with BFing and was going to call the LC at the hospital I delievered in the morning. Well that night, she wouldn't stop screaming I couldn't bf, nothing. So we took her to the ER (of course being coughed up to FTM and FTD that we were just paranoid) but then did the biliroubin test. We also gave her a bottle of formula then, cause I knew, she was hungry (not being able to BF for almost 3 hours cause of the screaming.) I don't regret that, in anyway shape or form :-) Found out though that her Billi levels were at a 19, so she was hospitlized. Luckly, the LC at this smaller hospital was able to help me. Though due to DD being slightly tounge tied, she had my use a shield. It worked, I got to BF, but later when we were trying to get rid of the shield, I was having issues. She was 6 months old by then, and sometimes would latch other times wouldn't. It was a nightmare. As I searched for tips to get rid of this D@mn thing, I read that it should of only been used for approx. 1 week!!! I can't believe the LC didn't tell me that, I would of started so much earlier. I would of been upset if I would of paid for her advice, but I didn't it, and I did get to BF DD. I know if I have to I will use a shield again, but I don't wanna.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2004

Honestly, before I became an active debator here (when my older child was about 18 months old and nursing was more than well-established), I didn't have much faith in "lactation consultants" myself. I had some good help from the hospital LC's when I had him, but I went home and encountered a bunch of issues (including mechanical difficulties related to my needing to be on bedrest for the first six weeks of his life, and needing to learn how to BF mostly lying on my back or in a semi-reclined position, as well as what I ultimately understood to be issues related to oversupply and overactive letdown).

I waited a good month before asking for help, just assuming that BF was meant to be kind of hard for me. When I finally did contact the LC clinic back at the hospital where I birthed, I left a long, detailed phone message on their answering service, and waited for a reply, which never came. I called a second time and left another long, detailed phone message, and still no response. So I gave up trying to get help from them and decided that maybe LC's weren't all that interested in helping women BF after all. I am pretty sure that my insurance at the time would have covered some or most of a consult with a LC, but after that experience, I doubt I would have been willing to pay for the whole thing out of pocket. I think I was turned off enough by the lack of response to my needs that I would not have felt LC care was worth the money.

Because of my experience, I have trouble feeling animosity or disappointment toward women who aren't willing to contact LC's, especially if they've already had lousy experiences in a BF class, or in the hospital after birthing. I always suggest it, and I usually give them the link to ILCA's IBCLC look-up page, so they can find an IBCLC in their area if they're interested in seeing one. But I can understand why prior negative experiences, or even just rumors about them spread by other people, could make them less likely to actually contact one. I'd like to say that I think women should be willing to go to any length to BF successfully, but I know from personal experience that sometimes it's just easier to get online or pick up a book and see if someone out there can help you for free, provided you can articulate what your perceived problems may be. That's what ultimately happened to me with the oversupply and overactive letdown: I got onto a iVillage board where I was active at the time, posed my problems, and people told me what was wrong and how to fix it. I started doing what they recommended with the next feeding, and literally never looked back after that day. I'm glad I had somewhere to turn that was free and that there were people there willing/able to help me, but I think most of us have that if we're willing to look for it.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008
I can understand if someone had a negative experience with an LC in the past they might be turned off to seeing one in the future. I really wish though that they would treat an bad LC like they would bad doctor/pediatrician where they would simply find another rather then swear off doctored altogether. In this case though it doesn't seem as if they simply had bad experiences with them but rather just didn't understand the purpose or benefit of LC's and how it might have helped them actually be successful with BF'ing. I also think it's unfortunate that some people easily believe other people's criticism of LC's as a whole based on one or two bad LC's the other mom had experienced.It's like when someone badmouths LLL based on one bad leader or one local group who's member they didn't like. With any profession their are going to be bad apples but they shouldn't be held up as representative of the whole bunch. In the case of a bad LC, try a different one, if possible and at least realize that not every LC is that way. I suspect that some mothers who didn't succeed at BF'ing have a heard time accepting that maybe an LC might have been able to resolve their BF issue and feel better believing their was simply nothing they could have done to succeed even if that might have not been the case.

In your case, I think if you had contacted a private practice LC you would have most likely gotten a response back unlike the hospital LC' who may have simply been overworked due to having to handle to many mothers at once.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 06-04-2004
Well, I didn't really know what a LC was supposed to be for at the time either. I really just didn't know much of anything about what to expect from an LC, and I didn't even know that such a thing as a private-practice LC existed, until I started being active on this board a year and a half after I needed an LC's help.

I guess I just don't really agree with the premise that mothers are out there refusing to see LC's with complete knowledge of what an LC can offer. I think it's probably one of the better-kept secrets of successful BF, actually, along with the quality of help and support available from LLL. I don't know what the answer is, because obviously word needs to get out and people need to be able to feel less intimidated by the idea of asking for help before flat-out quitting when the going gets rough with BF, but I don't know what the answer to that really is. Word of mouth is a powerful thing, and when everything you hear is negative, it's hard to get past that. It happened to me with LLL; it took attending many meetings and becoming a member and getting involved in the community for me to really form my own opinion of LLL outside of the one formed in me by public sentiment, whether it was a valid opinion or not.
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iVillage Member
Registered: 04-13-2008

I had never heard of LCs before seeing mention of them on this board. Doubt that they existed in the 80s when I had my babies, but even now, I have done searches on the internet for them, and there only seem to be two serving the whole of the northern part of our vast state. Remembers, Australia only has 60 states to your 50, and I am in the second largest one. So many women would have to travel many hundreds of kms, to visit their nearest LC.

I was given some basic instruction in the major hospital where my daughter was born, but I know that it likely contributed to the severe cracked nipples I had with each baby. My extremely sensitive skin did not help either.

But I transferred to a hospital closer to home after 5 days (complications meant I spent nearly 2 weeks in hospital with my first baby). There a lovely young nurse taught me to uphill feed to cope with the massive oversupply I had, and also an even greater gift, how to nurse lying down. She seemed very caring and interested, and later went on to marry and have 6 children of her own.

My other two were born in a smaller hospital closer to home, and I'm sorry to say, for BF, it was as bad as I'd heard. When I sought help for my nipple which was sore with the beginnings of a crack, and I wanted to avoid major problems, I was bluntly told 'You;; never be able to BF that baby!' Glad the baby didn't hear that. He enjoyed nursing for 18 months.

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Registered: 10-01-2010

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-20-2008

Considering it can cost over $1500 a year for formula, I would pay $200 for an LC if that was the going rate in my area and I felt that only a IBCLC could properly addre3ss my BF issues. While I agree that an LLL leader can be very useful as a free BF resource, they are generally not trained as IBCLC, so there are certain BF issues that an IBCLC is invaluable for. I think some people just don't realize how much many they could save avoiding the need to pay for formula and that even a couple of visit to an LC at $200 a pop is less then a years worth of formula.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-29-2005
In my case I paid $150 for an IBCLC to come to my house and help with latch issues. She was there nearly 4 hours, and assisted me with 3 feeds (showed me 3 different positions for feeding including side lying, yay!) It was invaluable ... worth every penny.

As it turns out, my issues weren't all that complex and a LLL Leader likely could have helped, though many leaders don't do home visits and may not want to spend that much time if they did.

I think a lot of times the issues moms have *are* things a LLL Leader can help with, and a good leader knows when to say a mom needs more expertise than they can provide.

Sometimes all a mom needs is a little reassurance that things are normal (bfing-wise and emotionally) and leaders are perfect for that.

 


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Registered: 06-04-2004

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-01-2005
If it came down to cost between an IBCLC or formula...I would have forked out for the LC. That said, my DH would have been antsy about the potential cost up front for such a service. I think people dont look beyond the initial sticker shock of paying someone 200 bucks for a few hours. I would have had to convince him it would have been worthwhile and would have had to put it in plain sight for him the costs of an LC vs formula for a year.

I dont think people make that connection all the time or if its been a week or two after the birth, hormonal and struggling...its not something that would is pursued because it can be a very hopeless feeling if things arent going well, especially if there is formula in the house or formula is being pushed as the solution instead of a BFing solution.

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