KANSAS CITY, Mo. – As parents continue to find ways to feed their babies amid a national infant formula shortagesome families have started using lactation consultants.
Lactation consultants help families with a variety of barriers they may face while breastfeeding. Consultants can help mothers with insufficient or excessive breast milk intake, feeding plans, and help with potential pain.
Dr. Lauren Hughes of Bloom Pediatrics and Lactation says more and more Kansas City families are interested in breastfeeding because they no longer have a fallback plan.
“I’ve definitely seen an increase in families who were considering stopping breastfeeding and who are going to continue breastfeeding because they have no other option,” Dr. Hughes said.
Depending on your health insurance, Dr. Hughes says initial lactation consultant visits should be covered, but aren’t for all families.
“Breastfeeding isn’t a choice for everyone, whether they can’t physically or mentally, breastfeeding isn’t just automatic for everyone,” Hughes explained. “Everyone seems to think so because it’s a natural thing, but there are people who have real contraindications, whether it’s mom or baby.”
Mental and physical tolls can also impact mothers trying to breastfeed their babies.
“You can have anatomical issues where your breasts don’t produce milk tissue, that absolutely happens and you physically can’t produce milk, just because the way you’re built, nothing wrong with you, that’s just the way you were built.” Hugues said.
Interest in donated breastmilk has also taken center stage, but depending on where you get breastmilk, there are safety issues.
According to the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, affiliated milk banks go through a rigorous pasteurization process to ensure that the breast milk they have is safe and contains the correct nutrients. The association’s affiliated milk bank in Kansas City was forced to close in January 2022 due to staffing issues.
Dr Hughes has his own breast milk bank and performs screening and laboratory tests on donor mothers, but does not test breast milk. She expects to have more than 1,000 ounces of breast milk given to her by the end of this week.
“What I have here is pretty reliable, because I screen all the donors but I don’t test the milk,” Hughes said. “So there is no 100% guarantee, which I have listed all over my website.”
Some groups on social media link parents to centers willing to donate breast milk, but Hughes warns that health problems arise if you don’t get your milk from a reliable source.
“Peer milk sharing, I really suggest avoiding social media groups and not receiving milk unless you know the person, you know their medical history, you know the medications they takes, that you know if she is using substances,” said Dr Hughes. said. “We don’t know what they do if they take edibles, how much they drink, like all those edibles they take, because it could pass through breast milk and be potentially harmful to your child, depending on your as well. than the specific medical history of the child.