Bringing new life into this world is exciting, nerve-racking, and undeniably beautiful. Having questions and uncertainty throughout your pregnancy and after birth is completely normal. There are so many resources, right here in the thumb, that will support you on your journey! No two pregnancies are the same, so having group support, resources to breastfeed, and professional insights will help guide your journey to parenting.
Health departments strive to staff qualified women to support moms on their journey of pregnancy and motherhood! These employees are all mothers themselves and work endlessly to support your motherhood journey in any form it takes.
- A Breastfeeding Peer Counselor is someone who was a community member that breastfed their children. They have basic education on breastfeeding through a course provided by Michigan WIC. They give support and encouragement and can troubleshoot basic questions. They usually are in contact with the mother during the pregnancy and after delivery. She teaches breastfeeding classes and helps run the mom’s support group. She can offer after-hours phone support, and she also issues breast pumps! A breastfeeding peer counselor would be a great starting resource, as they are someone you build a rapport with and trust.
- A Certified Lactation Consultant is someone with advanced training and takes a certification exam on breastfeeding. They learn more about the science of it at the cellular level, by completing 45 hours of education and one online or in-person class. CLCs also need to complete 18+ hours of continuing education every three years. They can supply extra “tools” such as nipple shields and supplemental nursing systems. They can take over troubleshooting breastfeeding issues when the Peer Counselor determines it is out of her scope of practice. Normally certified lactation consultants are registered nurses and can do one on one appointments.
- International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) train for 2-5+ years and must complete 90 hours of lactation-specific education and 300-1,000 hands-on clinical hours. To maintain their accreditation, IBCLCs must earn their recertification every five years, and pass the International Board’s examination every ten years. IBCLCs are someone you could use for long-term problems, such as a baby having to relearn sucking techniques after a tongue-tie clip.
Breastfeeding consultants are available to any county resident of the thumb area, free of charge! Any of these breastfeeding specialists are available daily through text and phone calls. Help is only one step away whenever you are unsure! To reach a breastfeeding peer counselor reach out to these numbers when you need help:
Sanilac County: call or text 810-705-2573
Huron County: call 989-269-2140, text Peer Counselor at 989-272-3062, or text IBCLC at 989-272-2965
Tuscola County: text 810-545-8657 or call 989-673-1750
Lapeer County: call or text (833) 649-4223 any day of the week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. or use 810-358-6800 during the evenings and weekends.