Desperately seeking lactation consultant in Portland
December 11, 2010 7:10 AM   Subscribe

Desperately seeking awesome lactation consultant in Portland

My three-day-old son and I just can't seem to get latching down, and I've already talked with two lactation consultants. Has anyone in the Portland area found a really excellent lactation consultant that actually helps? We're both crying here. We're on the westside if that makes a difference. Thanks in advance for any help offered, and sorry that this is not phrased very elegantly -- I haven't really slept in almost a week.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Human Relations (9 answers total)
can't help with the lactation consultant but these videos might be of use. they are jack newman's, he's the breastfeeding guru in the toronto area. he will answer your email promptly.

good luck, me mail if you need more support, i went through a horriblev time trying to breastfeed and tried everything from tube feeding to domperidone. i'm still working on it but i'm out of the inevitable head mess if support from a stranger may help....
posted by pick_the_flowers at 7:24 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

My cousin used the lactation consultants at OHSU with great success.

503 494-9397

It gets easier, I promise. The first week was so tough for me, and now we're struggling to wean at 12 months. I know you didn't ask for further advice, but for what its worth, the SNS tube thingy saved our nursing relationship.
posted by Nickel Pickle at 7:34 AM on December 11, 2010

I'm sorry you're having a hard time - the early days can be so rough. You are AWESOME for persevering and seeking help.

Hopefully someone will show up with a personal recommendation, but if they don't, here's how I've found lactation help in the past. Please ignore anything you've already tried, of course!

*Were the lactation consultants you've already seen IBCLC-certified? The difference between an IBCLC person and someone else is huge - they are very highly trained, and I would feel comfortable taking advice from almost any lactation consultant with those letters after her name.

You can find IBCLC consultants here:

That would be my first stop: enter your address and call the person nearest you. Keep calling down the list until someone picks up the phone. Say that your baby is three days old, you're having latch problems and you're freaking out. Ask if they can help you immediately or refer you to someone who can.

(In my experience with IBCLC consultants, their work is not necessarily covered by insurance, but their rates are reasonable - we recently hired one, and it was 50 bucks an hour.)

*I don't know how crunchy you are, but the ladies on your local attachment parenting list have the hook-up for this kind of stuff. Here's the Yahoo Groups for portland parenting (ignore the weird subset of groups devoted to the Beckham kids...):

*You could also try the Mothering message board - there's a lot of anti-vaccine, pro-homeopathy stuff you may have to tune out, depending on your beliefs, but they know local breastfeeding gurus. Here's the forum for your area:

*Similarly, here's the Facebook page for the local API group: - you could send them a message and ask if they know anyone.

*Your local La Leche leader will know who the helpful LCs are, too. Some people have mixed feelings about LLL, and the helpfulness of the leaders is very group-by-group, but it's probably worth a call. Find your leader here:

Again, good for you for working so hard at this. You are doing such a good thing for your baby. (And congratulations on your little one!)
posted by thehmsbeagle at 8:27 AM on December 11, 2010

Get into bed with baby. Take your shirt off. Stay there for 24 hours.

(I realize this isn't answering the question, but IME it helps a lot.)
posted by k8t at 8:54 AM on December 11, 2010

I don't have any experience with this aspect of their services, but Zenana Spa on SE Clinton offers lactation services, and their services focus on pregnant and new mothers. Good luck!
posted by girlalex at 6:20 PM on December 11, 2010

First of all, congratulations on your little one! I am sorry you are experiencing a rough start to breastfeeding. It is natural...but not always easy! A lot of people have already made some great suggestions; getting in bed w/ baby skin to skin, watching some of the video clips, etc. If you are feeling like you need some more in person support though it can be extremely helpful to have an appointment (sooner rather than later) with a really experienced lactation consultant. Full disclaimer: I am a private practice lactation consultant in the Portland area. I do home appointments and also see families in my office. If I can be of any support or can connect you to any other resources feel free to connect with me.
Sending happy nursing vibes your way.....
posted by Melissa C. at 8:48 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks, everyone. Things have gotten better. Ironically, the best single piece of advice I got came from someone who's not a lactation consultant (but who happens to be a MeFite!) who told me that the advice she got was just to slam the baby onto the breast once his mouth was open and this has totally been working for me. Just in time, too, I was starting to really worry for him, but he's been feeding like a champ today.

We do have an appointment with someone at Beyond Birth (at Zenana) tomorrow morning so I can learn better techniques, hopefully including learning how to latch lying down. k8t and others, getting in bed with him skin to skin was the very first thing I tried when we got home because I'd read about it on here before (perhaps from you) but we have not once been able to achieve a side-lying latch and he gets so furious about it after about 2 minutes that that totally did not work for us.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 7:03 PM on December 12, 2010

rabbitrabbit, I'm almost 8 weeks into breastfeeding my first baby and I still have some trouble with the side-lying latch. So don't fret if you can't get it down right away. I give it a shot about once a day just to get some practice, but it doesn't always work out. My breasts are on the enormous side of normal since he was born, and he still is working on head control and I think the two combine to make it a little trickier.

Glad things are better for you!
posted by chiababe at 5:04 PM on December 14, 2010

Just wanted to give a follow-up to let anyone who finds this thread in the future know how things worked out.

The lactation consultant was helpful. She gave some advice that I didn't end up following (she wanted me to pump after each feeding session to increase my milk supply and NOT latch lying down) and some advice that I did (compressions during feedings, switching sides when he stopped swallowing). I didn't follow the pumping advice for two reasons: it felt like way too much work when I was still so tired, and I wasn't convinced I had a supply problem.

Baby Rabbit gained an entire pound that week. So, even though I had trouble with the latching at first, he was OK and my supply was more than adequate.

Side-lying latch totally made my life a million times better -- I could SLEEP. At first I had to latch him on while sitting, then ease us down into a lying position, but now I can just lay us down and offer him the nipple and he will latch no problem (he is five weeks old now, and I've been able to latch easily while laying down for a couple weeks now). I'm actually getting more sleep now than I did before I had a baby, thanks to cosleeping and becoming adept at the side-lying latch.

He gained another entire pound the following week, and then another the week after that. At five weeks, he's over twelve pounds (lowest weight was the day I posted the question, he was down to 8 lbs 3 oz from a birth weight of 8 15). In other words, we TOTALLY have this breastfeeding thing NAILED. So any other mamas out there: it can be really discouraging at first! But it can work out! Baby Rabbit has never received anything but breastmilk even though we had a rough / late start. Don't give up. Keep trying and get help from a professional if you need it.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 10:22 PM on January 15, 2011

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