Follow these helpful links for more information, support or breastfeeding assistance.
Who Can Provide Breastfeeding Help?
Breastfeeding advice is plentiful; the challenge is sorting out reliable information and sources of advice. Here are descriptions of various professional and volunteer organizations that offer support.
• International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) – Also called a "lactation consultant," this person is a credentialed breastfeeding professional with at least a minimum competency in breastfeeding. IBCLCs are experienced in helping mothers to breastfeed comfortably and can help address a wide range of breastfeeding concerns. Many IBCLCs also are nurses, doctors, speech therapists, dieticians, or other health professionals. Ask your hospital or birthing center for the name of a lactation consultant who can help you. For more information, you can visit the "Find a Lactation Consultant" Directory.
• Breastfeeding Peer Counselor or Educator – A breastfeeding counselor who can teach others about the health effects of breastfeeding and help women with basic breastfeeding challenges and questions. A "peer" means a person has breastfed her own baby and is available to help other mothers. You can find a peer counselor through the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program or La Leche League. You can also contact the National Breastfeeding Helpline at 1-800-994-9662 and speak directly with a breastfeeding peer counselor. Some breastfeeding educators have letters after their names like CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) or CBE (Certified Breastfeeding Educator). These people may be helpful when addressing basic concerns and problems they may be helpful.
• Doula (DOO-la) – A woman who is professionally trained and experienced in giving social support to birthing families during pregnancy, labor, and birth and at home during the first few days or weeks after birth. Doulas help women physically and emotionally, and those who are trained in breastfeeding can help you be more successful with breastfeeding after birth.
• Physicians – Pediatricians are medical doctors who focus on treating babies, children and teens and OB/GYN or Obstetrician/Gynecologist are medical doctors who focus on treating women's reproductive health issues before, during and after pregnancy. Most of these physicians have not received breastfeeding training, however, some are knowledgeable and can be helpful.
• Certified Nurse-Midwife – A health professional who provides care to women during pregnancy, labor and birth. Many midwives also provide breastfeeding advice.
How to Find Skilled Breastfeeding Support
Help is just a click (or phone call) away.
La Leche League International
The world’s leading breastfeeding organization of mothers helping mothers.
800-LA-LECHE (800-525-3243) to find a group that meets in your area and a local number to call for advice.
Nursing Mothers Counsel, Inc.
NMC is a non-profit organization whose goal is to help support breastfeeding mothers and their babies. Experienced mothers offer free assistance by phone or in person. (650) 599-3669
Learn more about programs that promote breastfeeding and milk banking.
Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative
In 1992, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) launched the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in a worldwide effort to support breastfeeding by ensuring that women in maternity care have full information and support to breastfeed their infants. Visit: www.unicef.org for more information.
Human Milk Banks
If you have extra expressed milk you would like to donate or can't breastfeed but you want to give your baby human milk, the best place to go is to a human milk bank. These milk banks can dispense donor human milk to those with a prescription from their doctor. Donated milk is pasteurized to ensure safety.
If your baby was born preterm or has other health problems, he or she may need donor milk not only for health, but also for survival. Your baby may also need donor milk if she or he:
• can't tolerate formula
• has severe allergies
• isn't thriving on formula
The best way to find a human milk bank is through the Human Milk Banking Association of North America (HMBANA). HMBANA is a multidisciplinary, non-profit group of health care providers that promotes, protects, and supports donor milk banking. HMBANA is the only professional membership association for milk banks in Canada, Mexico and the United States and as such sets the standards and guidelines for donor milk banking for those areas.
To find out how to donate milk, contact HMBANA. To find out if your insurance will cover the cost of the milk for your baby, call your insurance company or ask your health care provider. If your insurance company does not cover the cost of the milk, talk with the milk bank to find out how payment can be made later on, or how to get help with the payments. Milk banks often provide donor milk to babies in need.