A virtual lactation consultation may be right for you…
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, I was able to pivot from my usual office and in-home lactation consultations to virtual consultations. This allows me to continue to safely and effectively support families who are experiencing lactation challenges yet don’t want to venture out with their little ones unless it’s absolutely necessary. I immediately began offering virtual consults which I am able to do because I use secure platform for my HIPAA-compliant electronic health record (EHR) system. That makes it easy to collect health history forms beforehand and then connect to video sessions where we can see each other, review questions and goals, and work together during our session to make a care plan that covers all your lactation needs.
Secure connection to expert lactation support, right in the comfort of your home.
What’s included in a virtual lactation consultation?
We begin each virtual lactation consult by reviewing your and your baby’s health history information, discussing your questions, challenges and goals, and determining the top priorities to cover during our time together. Depending on complexity, we can typically cover two or three topics or goals within each consult.
Bodyfeeding and bottle-feeding related consults will typically include a visual assessment and observation of a feeding. Guidance and education about infant cues and reflexes, positioning, latch, bottle-feeding strategies, as well as demonstration of techniques for improved feeding. Through all of this we are exploring and discussing your questions and challenges and working to arrive at strategies and solutions that you can begin to implement right away. Every consultation includes a individualized plan and recommendations specific to your goals. You will receive a write up of your plan and resources within a secure client portal. Collaborative care is important so a report will be sent to your health care providers and they are welcome to reach out if they’d like to discuss your plan in more detail.
Your follow-up and on-going support will depend on the specifics of the plan and needs, but often includes secure messaging and/or virtual follow-up sessions to make sure you’re seeing progress and feeling supported toward your unique goals.
What’s different compared to an in-person lactation consultation?
Philosophically, I’ve always been a fairly “hands-off” lactation consultant. I choose instead to empower parents to move their babies and bodies. This has long-lasting benefits compared to momentary hands-on support that doesn’t always transfer to being able to do it on your own. Since March, I have also completed advanced training on specific aspects of offering virtual lactation consultations. I coach my clients on any changes that need to be made to ensure an effective consult. With very few exceptions everything typically covered during a lactation consultation can be done during our virtual consultation. For example, you’re working on positioning and latching your baby comfortably, you’ll receive demonstrations, videos, and verbal directions, to make sure I can assess and guide you and your baby effectively. I provide education and support so that you will feel empowered to do what you need to do yourselves. Beyond positioning and latching this can also include aspects such as anatomical considerations, infant oral function, pumping, and more. If you or I suspect that there may need to be a more specific assessment of an aspect of your feeding pictures — such as your baby’s oral function, latching technique, or your or your baby’s body — I provide clear directions for you to assessment and capture via video. I will review those and in many cases analyze them through screening tools. We will discuss them in detail so that you have clarity about how those elements may be impacting your goals and what steps can be taken to optimize them.
One of the biggest differences between in-person and virtual lactation consultations tends to be weighing your baby. If you or I have any concerns about your baby’s transfer while feeding or weight gain, it may be recommended to use a scale to collect that information. I have scales available for my clients with easy, no-contact pick-up for those in the Seattle area. This gives an opportunity to collect data in the comfort of your home on your one timeline and you can share those numbers with me so that we can analyze them and discuss the findings in the context of your care plan. And, if you’re not local to me, I can help you find other options for scale rentals near you.
Speaking of geography…
One of the most exciting things about offering virtual lactation consultations has been connecting with families all over the world. So far these connections have often come from direct referrals to friends and family members, but others have simply found me via an online search – this is especially true for some of my specializations, including inducing lactation, supporting LGBTQ+ families, and full-term nursing. I’m happy to provide support to all families, meeting them where they are and aiding them in their goals. Often the biggest consideration for families farther away can time zone coordination – for that I offer consults in the evenings a few days per week and I’m happy to work with individual families to find a suitable time!
I hope that this has been a helpful overview of how a virtual lactation consultation works! If you’d like to schedule a consult, you can book now via this link.