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Lactation Consultants: Easing the Transition to Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding may be a natural process but it doesn’t come naturally to all mothers and babies. That’s why MarinHealth Medical Center offers breastfeeding education and assistance for new moms and their little ones.

MarinHealth Medical Center’s Anne Hauss Davies discusses the training she underwent to become a Board-Certified Lactation Consultant. She also details the practices the hospital has adopted to encourage successful nursing and the support she and her colleagues offer breastfeeding moms–even after they’ve taken their baby home.
Anne Hauss Davies, RN, MSN, IBCLC
Anne Hauss Davies, RN, MSN, IBCLC, is a Lactation Consultant at MarinHealth Medical Center.

Bill Klaproth (Host): So, what is a lactation specialist and what kind of breastfeeding help and training can you expect at MarinHealth? Well, let's find out with Anne Hauss Davies, a Lactation Consultant at MarinHealth Medical Center. This is The Healing Podcast brought to you by MarinHealth. I'm Bill Klaproth. Anne, thank you so much for your time. It is great to talk with you. So, first off, what is a Lactation Specialist? And can you give us some background on your training and your role?

Anne Hauss Davies RN, MSN, IBCLC (Guest): Yes. Lactation Specialists have specialized training and extensive training and experience in breastfeeding education and support. Here at MarinHealth. All of our Lactation Consultants are Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants, and that has required about a hundred hours of specific training and documentation of a thousand hours or more of experience in the role prior to the time that they sit for an exam, which then gives them final qualification as an IBCLC or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Host: So, there's a lot of training involved in this, and I know one of the big requirements is the training for breast feeding. So, can you tell us what kind of breastfeeding help and training do you offer women while they are recovering in the hospital?

Anne: Well, a big part of that is making sure that the education and the information that they're receiving is the best evidence-based practice information that we have access to. So, that's where a lot of our practices are coming from in terms of encouraging mothers, to stay skin to skin with their baby, to respond to their baby's cues, to feed on demand rather than on the clock. Women will receive that kind of support and information from us. And then we also want to make sure that the breastfeeding experience is one where both mom and baby feel calm and comfortable and that they're staying close and in good alignment.

Host: Right. And then talk to us about after delivery. What about when mom and baby return home?

Anne: Yes, before they leave the hospital, we make sure all parents understand how to identify that their baby's getting enough to eat. And how to reach out to lactation support available to them. Here at the hospital, we offer seven day a week free phone advice. And we also can be seen and work with patients one-on-one by appointment.

Finally, we have a breastfeeding support group that meets right now, virtually on Wednesdays. And we make sure everyone has a flyer and information for how to sign up for that.

Host: And then can you share with us any general tips you have to make breastfeeding easy in painfree? You would be the person to ask about this. Any tips you can share?

Anne: That's right. We do everything we can to make sure people get off to a good start because a lot of times after one or two days of having some success, things can fall together naturally. We want breastfeeding to be a calm and comfortable experience for mom and baby. And we just want to encourage parents to reach out and ask for help if they need help.

Staying in good alignment, making sure that mom has a comfortable chair, making sure that the latch is comfortable after a few minutes, are foundationally important for both mom and baby. And making sure that mothers know to reach out for help, if she has questions or concerns in the early days is important.

Host: So, being the father of two, I can't say I have firsthand experience in this Anne but I certainly have seen my wife go through this. So, what about pumping? Any suggestions to make that go smoothly.

Anne: Having a lot of milk makes pumping a lot easier. And all of these hospital-based practices that we do tend to help most women have a generous milk supply. We recommend that if breastfeeding is going well, moms hold off for about a month before they start pumping and providing their milk by bottle. But sometimes if the baby's having difficulty or if the baby's separated from mother because they need to be in the newborn ICU, we'll get mothers starting within hours after delivery. Again, to help promote a good milk production, and we can provide pumps. We rent pumps. We have pumps available for use in the hospital and we will help make sure a mother has a good pump for use at home if she will be needing that in the early days and weeks.

Host: Right. Sometimes things don't go easy or as planned. So, what options are available for women who are having difficulties with breastfeeding and need some help troubleshooting an issue such as over supply or under supply?

Anne: Yeah. I always tell people I wouldn't have a job if this was completely easy in the beginning for everyone. So, it's really normal to need help. And that's why we're here. We just encourage people to reach out right away in the hospital. Or to make sure they understand how to reach us before they leave the hospital.

Oversupply in general can be a problem, but it's much easier to deal with than under supply. And both of these things are manageable, but sometimes getting early help is just the best case scenario.

Host: So, when you say early help, how can women get in touch with lactation services then?

Anne: Yes. Our number is on the back inside cover of the book that we send everyone home with and it's 415-925-7522. And we answer the phone seven days a week.

Host: Okay. (415) 925-7522. Great. Any last information or anything we should know about Anne or anything I haven't asked you about? What else should we know about this?

Anne: Well here at MarinHealth, we feel really proud of our breastfeeding rates of initiation. Over 95% of women come to the hospital planning to breastfeed. And we feel like we do a really good job in providing continued support so they have the success that they're hoping for with feeding their infant.

Host: Absolutely. There's no question about that. And we're happy that you are here to help. So, this has really been interesting and informative. Anne thank you so much for your time. We really appreciate it.

Anne: It was my pleasure Bill. Thank you.

Host: That's Anne Hauss Davies and to learn more about maternity care and lactation support at MarinHealth, visit That's And if you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social channels and check out the full podcast library for topics of interest to you. This is The Healing Podcast brought to you by MarinHealth. I'm Bill Klaproth. Thanks for listening.