Good to Know, Think it over

How much does that cost?

It’s been awhile since I’ve set a blog into the atmosphere.
I am here to help encourage the discussion about the cost of a lactation counselor. I want to break down the cost of purchasing support from a lactation counselor versus the cost of formula feeding.
As a certified lactation counselor I get asked quite frequently about the prices I charge for support. Most feedback I get is positive but sometimes I hear “well thats a lot for right now” and will not be contacted again. We all know or have heard of the benefits of breastfeeding and I am very supportive on the families choice to choose between breastfeeding and/or formula. However, I also believe that support is crucial with breastfeeding and I want to be sure it’s something thats always available in my community. Families can have the best intentions to breastfeed from the beginning but along the way become discouraged and feel forced to using formula. Sometimes the benefit of a lactation counselor can be misunderstood until the service is explained more.
My main service with lactation is a home visit which cost $50 for 2 hours. This service are usually requested between the first day after being released from the hospital all the way to when the baby is a month old. I prefer clients contact me as soon as they notice an issue or have any concerns. If not to setup a home visit, but to just talk about the situation before it gets worse. I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged with breastfeeding or even worse to be in pain while breastfeeding.
The home visit I conduct is minimally 2 hours long and involves a full discussion of birth, first latch and any concerns that follow. We review what has been attempted and how the family is feeling about the overall breastfeeding journey. I also give a quick overview on how a good latch can be made and any additional advice that might help. During the visit I perform a latch evaluation, where I watch a feeding to see if there are any areas that need improvement. A latch evaluation consists of an average 17 areas I’m professional trained to watch and review to verify the latch is the best quality. This visit and discussions are done with myself, the mother, partner and any other supportive family members who may have questions of there own. I encourage the full family support and participation with feedings.
Following the home visit I am available by phone, text or email to continue supporting my clients through any issues that may arise. Breastfeeding feels like it changes from day to day due to the fact that newborns learn, grow and change so quickly in the first few months. I continue one on one contact with my client until they give me validation they are comfortable and happy in their breastfeeding journey.
Now to formula and what it can provide, according to Baby Center*, the average cost for formula is between $60-$100 a month. I know from personal experience with using formula with my first son that the average monthly cost for our family living in CA was closer to $150 a month. It was a significant addition to our monthly bills. Formula of course doesn’t have the added health benefits that breastfeeding does but it is overly nutritious to keep our children healthy and fed.
With that being explained it shows that the support of a lactation counselor is less then half of the monthly cost for formula. I know for many reasons we all can’t succeed at breastfeeding, as I myself couldn’t with my first, but I do know that with the correct support from a professional, it significantly increases your chances of successfully breastfeeding. I was able to find the support to have a successful breastfeeding journey with my second child and have been blessed enough see that result in many of my clients.
The next time you hear someone say that breastfeeding is difficult or they can’t seem to decide between formula or breastfeeding please give them this information and let them know that assistance is here to help them decide along with the support they deserve in their choice.
originally published January 31, 2017