What is Breastfeeding Medicine?
Breastfeeding Medicine is a growing medical specialty that provides evidence-based guidance on issues related to lactation, breastfeeding, and human milk feeding.
Why should I breastfeed?
Breastmilk is the best nutrition you can provide to an infant. The AAP now recommends supporting breastfeeding through 2 years old, and longer as mutually desired. Studies show that breastfeeding decreases many health risks and supports healthy weight for both mother and baby. Successful breastfeeding is associated with a decreased risk of postpartum depression and anxiety, but difficulties breastfeeding or premature weaning increase the risk.
Can my Primary Care Provider (PCP) help with Breastfeeding?
Absolutely! If you or your infant have a primary care physician (ie Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, or Pediatrics), ask them for assistance. All providers who care for infants should be comfortable giving general recommendations for breastfeeding. However, most physicians receive very little lactation education in their training and may not know how to manage any breastfeeding difficulties. Like all fields of medicine, this field is rapidly changing and coming out with new recommendations. Feel free to ask your PCP how comfortable they feel evaluation lactation issues.
Why see a Breastfeeding Medicine Physician?
A breastfeeding medicine physician can provide guidance and assistance for lactation difficulties or complications at any stage of your lactation adventure. Many new mothers stop breastfeeding in the first 1-2 week postpartum because they don’t have the proper support – that's where Lactation Consulting and Breastfeeding Medicine can help. Lactation consultants (IBCLC’s) are commonly nurses and have more time to spend with mothers and infants than a physician, but are unable to provide medical advice, prescriptions, or laboratory evaluation. As a breastfeeding physician (both MD and IBCLC) I can assist with all aspects of lactation care, including medications (ie. To increase milk supply, for mood and anxiety disorders, for skin/breast/nipple infections, for infant thrush), laboratory workup (ie thyroid, prolactin, breast milk cultures), and imaging (ie. Mammograms while breastfeeding, ultrasounds for infections or abscesses). As a family physician, I can take care of BOTH mom and baby!
Consider a prenatal consultation to help feel confident breastfeeding from the moment baby arrives. people with the following medical conditions would benefit from a prenatal consultation to optimize breastfeeding success:
- Diabetes, gestational diabetes
- Overweight, obesity
- Thyroid disorders
- Depression and anxiety
- History of PCOS or infertility
- History of breastfeeding difficulties
- Breast surgery or lumpectomy
- Twins or multiples
- Possibility of early delivery (ie before 39 weeks)
- Plan to pump & bottle feed only
If you experience any breastfeeding difficulties, or anticipate that you may, consider scheduling a consultation. Common topics to discuss include:
- Low milk supply
- Pain with feeding
- Recurrent breast infections
- Breast pump fittings
- Perinatal mood and anxiety disorders
- Clogged duct
- Relactation & induced lactation
- Breast pain
- Nipple pain
- Return to work planning
Regardless of how you feed your baby or if you need breastfeeding assistance, I’d be happy to serve as you or your infant’s new primary care provider. As a family physician, I take care of people of all ages and genders. Call the office today if you need a PCP!