Lactation Consultant Visit: What To Expect


Many women envision nursing their baby from the breast immediately after birth and are shocked and disappointed if that isn’t their reality. My whole life I expected to breastfeed my child and never considered that it might not come naturally to me. After a rough first night after delivering my daughter, I quickly realized that I needed some help. That is when I was first introduced to a lactation consultant.

What is a lactation consultant?

A lactation consultant (LC) is a certified health professional who undergoes specialized training to offer support, advice, and guidance to people who choose to breastfeed. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) certifies lactation consultants who meet its rigorous criteria and pass its exam. IBLC’s complete:

  • 90 hours of education covering breastfeeding, anatomy, nutrition and more.
  • 1,000 hours of lactation-specific clinical experience.
  • A rigorous exam.
  • Continuing education hours each year.
  • Recertification every five years.

Many hospitals have lactation consultants that are available after delivery. UC Health Memorial North, where I delivered my daughter, has lactation consultants available to meet with mothers who request breastfeeding support during their stay. The LC met with me in my hospital room and observed me breastfeeding my daughter and taught me different positions to hold my newborn to get a better latch. I felt better about breastfeeding, but once I got home on my own a few days later, I realized I still needed more help.

Lactation Consultant Support in Colorado Springs

After some panicked middle-of-the-night Google searches, I came across Pikes Peak Lactation and scheduled a 1-on-1 consultation. They provided the option to come to my house for the appointment or to visit their office, and I chose the in-home option because I couldn’t fathom packing up my tiny newborn and leaving the house at that point. 

The morning Mary, the LC, arrived at my house I was full of anxiety. I didn’t know what to expect and I was feeling a little like a failure for having to ask for help with something I thought I would be perfect at. 

Gaining Confidence

Mary arrived with a Mary Poppins-esque bag in tow, which I soon found was full of gadgets. After washing her hands, the first thing that Mary pulled out was a scale. We weighed my newborn down to the ounce and then did a weighted feed, so we could determine exactly how much milk my baby was getting from nursing. This was my favorite part of the visit because I felt very empowered seeing my daughter’s weight go up after breastfeeding.

While I nursed, Mary provided recommendations on how I could position my baby and get a deeper, more efficient latch. She was very hands-on, which at an earlier point in my life may have been weird. But I found this very helpful because it does take some manipulation to get your breast and baby in the best position when you are first starting out.

The in-home visit lasted an hour and at the end of it, I felt much more confident in myself. Mary even gave me some tips to get my baby to sleep, which was an added bonus. She sent me a follow-up document later that day with notes on everything we discussed which was great because the postpartum brain fog is a real thing.

Medical Insurance 

I was relieved to find out that my medical insurance, Aetna, covered 100 percent for six visits with a certified lactation consultant. Pikes Peak Lactation provided a form that I submitted to my insurance and was reimbursed for the cost of the visit with no issues. Make sure to check with your medical insurance provider, as coverage may vary. 

Going Back to Work

Later as my return-to-work date approached, I scheduled another appointment with an LC to discuss how I could still support breastfeeding while working full-time. 

During this appointment, they taught me how to properly use my breast pump. It turned out that I was not using the correct flange size, and that can impact milk production. We were able to measure for the proper size and once I switched out the flanges, I could tell an immediate difference in how it felt.

We also discussed a pumping schedule, how to avoid mastitis (which I had already had once and do NOT recommend), and what I found most important: getting my baby used to drinking from a bottle. 

As my 15th month of breastfeeding approaches, I can’t say enough great things about the lactation consultants I worked with and how much they helped me get a strong start. If you are an expecting mom, a newborn mom, or any mom who needs support with breastfeeding, I highly encourage you to reach out to a local lactation consultant. Breastfeeding is natural, but that doesn’t mean it is easy. The support you need is out there, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to take advantage of it.