Lactation education

Daily Dose – Atrium Health lactation consultant saves mother’s breastfeeding journey

Something didn’t feel right. At Ashley Hilton her son John was fussy and had trouble eating and feeling satisfied. “He never seemed satisfied. I guessD maybe it was colic. She knew she needed help. After her first pregnancy, Ashley soughyou advice from a lactation consultant who suggested weighted foods; when from the mother measure their baby before and after feeding to determine how much breast milk the infant receives in one feeding. But her second child had trouble latching on and bottle feeding. “He was trying to eat all the time, but for short periods of time because of his difficulty latching on.” John was irritable and mom and baby were frustrated.

Desperate need for help

Ashley contacted Megan Dunn, IBCLC. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Atrium Health, desperate for help. “We provide help before the baby arrives and after the baby is born. When moms are in the hospital, the milk may not have arrived yet. I can help them meet their challenges. As lactation consultants, we support food choices; a combination of formula and breastmilk or exclusively pumping, it doesn’t have to look a certain way. There is no pressure. I provide the information parents need to inform their choices. We also help with supply issues, nutritional advice, breast and nipple symptoms while breastfeeding, latching and positioning, pumping and bottle feeding.

A collaboration between Atrium Health Women’s Care and Atrium Health Levine Children’s, lactation services are offered in pediatric or OB/GYN practices, making it easy and convenient for families. It’s a place they know well, with which they feel comfortable, and the mothers can already be there for other appointments. And lactation services are available to patients whether they have private insurance or Medicaid.

When Ashley brought John in for a consultation with Megan, she was expecting another weighted meal. “I wasn’t expecting much more than that, but I wanted to at least see how much milk he was getting,” Ashley says. “I was blown away by how much more I gained on the tour!”

“As part of our clinical skills as IBCLCs, we examine the mother and baby for signs and symptoms of structural or functional barriers to breastfeeding,” Megan explains. “We refer, where appropriate, maternal or baby health care providers and other professionals who can diagnose and treat conditions that impact breastfeeding.”

Megan’s reference leads to answers

Ashley’s son was finally diagnosed with tongue and lip tie by his pediatrician and dentist. After her treatment and continued breastfeeding consultations, Ashley says Megan helped save her breastfeeding journey. “The wealth of information we received was invaluable. Based on her expertise and examination, she recommended seeing her doctor and a pediatric dentist. He was eventually diagnosed with both and had the release procedures performed. Megan’s recommendation to have it checked out likely saved him from more trouble in the future. I really can’t thank her enough.

Ashley would argue that this service is just as important as prenatal care and should absolutely be recommended – insisted on – as part of postpartum care for all mothers. “Just because babies eat doesn’t mean they eat well.”

Atrium Health Lactation Consultants want moms to feel confident and empowered in their breastfeeding journey and are there to help them listen and trust their bodies.

Learn more about Atrium Health Lactation Resources.