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If you were hoping to breastfeed, but came up against difficulties such as mastitis, inverted nipples, a bad latch, or oversupply, that does not necessarily mean you have to give up nursing and either pump or use formula. It does mean you need a little (or a lot of) help, and that is where lactation consultants come in. Unlike midwives, obstetricians, nurses or family practice doctors, lactation consultants are professionals specifically trained to help mothers and babies overcome breastfeeding complications. Lactation consultants can help with any kind of breastfeeding question one doesn't have to have trouble nursing to consult one.

If you are going back to work and are wondering how best to maintain your milk supply, there are there. If you are wondering about weight loss and breastfeeding, they are there. But when trouble does come along, lactation consultants are the most valuable. Where do you find them? Many hospitals now provide lactation consultants to women who give birth. If you have good lactation consultants at a nearby hospital, they may well be covered by insurance or even come to visit postpartum mothers and their babies as a matter of routine to help them in preparing for breastfeeding and getting milk supply established. Some lactation consultants work at clinics or doctors' offices. There are also private lactation consultants, who can be a bit pricey. Look for the certification International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants, or IBCLC, for a well-trained lactation consultant.

If you are unable to afford a lactation consultant or they are not available where you live, the internet and organizations like La Leche League may also be able to help you overcome breastfeeding difficulties. Mothers who are not sure where to start can ask their midwife, obstetricians, pediatrician or head to breastfeeding forums on the internet, where other local moms could have recommendations. Breastfeeding is one of the biggest gifts new moms can give their babies. Hopefully, if you have trouble, you will be able to overcome it with the help of a lactation consultant.

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