Published Jun 16, 2003
Hey, you guys, does anyone happen to know any lactation consultants? I have some questions- maybe you can answer them.
We currently have a lactation consultant, and the whole thing is a bit of a joke. It's one of those "I've been here forever, they'll never fire me, I'm not doing my job, too bad for you, Muhahahaha!" kind of deals. She's been on staff forever, is never available, only does day shifts Mon-Fri. I've never met her, but I've heard from others on day shift that she's always sitting in a back office basically hiding all day long, doing very little work.
She sent a memo out about six months ago saying that she was no longer working with every mom, but rather would be working only with those who had severe breastfeeding issues, like cleft palates and the like. All others had to be taught and counseled by the nurses. Well, much as we'd like to, this has turned out horribly. Our nurses get no education on this and most of them could care less about learning more (morale is very low on my unit presently, but I digress...). Myself and one other nurse on night shift are the only ones who attempt to promote this, and know jack about breastfeeding, pumping/storing, etc.
It's horrible, because we are missing valuable opportunities here and there are only two of us, which means limited results. Management on our unit seems very...umm...unconcerned about doing anything about this, and of course, this consultant has been here for YEARS, so she's never going to be fired or quit, I promise you (the retirement bennies at this hospital are pretty good, so we have a TON of people who could give a crap about their jobs and only stay because they're counting the years to retirement).
I was just wondering. Hmm. Advice? Suggestions? How do the consultants work at your hospital? How present are they?
And on a side note, how much do you figure this woman is getting paid for not doing anything? I can't help but think, wow, I'd love to have her job. I'm so very pro-education that I know I could excel in that type of position, and I realize it takes a ton of experience to become certified and all that, but I am just daydreaming a bit, you know? How much do lactation consultants get paid? It's probably not comparable to nursing salaries, but then again, it seems at our hospital that people with titles get paid a hell of a lot for doing virtually nothing.
I don't know any breastfeeding consultants but, there is a La Leche League in Ruston, LA. They also have a website that includes the La Leche League leaders phone number.
What about writing an anonymous letter to the Chief Executive, I guess they will not tolerate people who will be a burden to other health care members. Sometimes teaching how to breastfeed take so much time specially with premature baby, you cannot just leave the mother knowing that the sucking,swallowing, and breathing are not fully coordinated.In UK,we call them Breastfeeding Consultants,luckily they are active in this area because of the Government`s Mother and Baby Friendly Initiative.They conduct prenatal classes and brestfeeding(postnatally) is included.
In one unit I worked in the OT came down and worked with all the mom's on breastfeeding, but she did work M-F days.
Another unit I worked in had staff nurses in the unit that were certified so they were usually available.
This is not ok.
How about an informal survey discharged families can fill out, with questions like"Did you get to meet with the lactation consultant?" "Did you have questions or concerns about breast feeding?" "Did you feel the staff was able to help you with your questions about breastfeeding your child?" you see where I'm going with this.
Especially in this speciality,"customer satisfacton" sholud be a BIG concern for management. They better get on the stick for the sake of the families ,nurses and commmunity in general!
our lactation consultants get paid the same as a staff nurse.......we have staff nurses that are also lacation consultants and don't get paid any extra except to use it on their career ladder......if you have breast fed your own child you can help any mom breast feed.......I do just as much for the breast feeding moms as they do.....we also have a car seat fitting program with only 2 nurses educated in how to instruct.....no money for others to attend..so what about the days those two aren't working?...no one cares......
I agree with sanacruz, excellent idea! I would think that all NICU babies have a potential problem with breastfeeding not just the "extreme" cases. My daughter was small but did not have any problems that required special services, she did have a very weak sucking reflex and it was a nightmare getting her to nurse, not to mention I was very uncomfortable with pumping and storing and was afraid that I'd have to stop.
A big pat on the back to you Kristi for caring so much. At the hospital where I work, any woman that is breastfeeding sees the consultant for the first few feedings and the second day of PP is free, regardless of insurance for a vaginal delivery so this gives her a little more time to work with the moms and babies . The consultant is usually at the desk during the morning MWF, (no office that I know of) and she works with the moms until the baby is latching on properly. She provides a lot of education and answers any questions. She also will arrange a home visit if the patient wants it and schedules those visits in the afternoon.
That is ridiculous! We have a lactation consultant just for the NICU and it is INVALUABLE!!! Even if you had kids you breastfed, the babies in the NICU often have special challenges that a healthy 40 weeker does not and they need special help. It is inexcusable to collect a paycheque and not work for it. I would just constantly page her if I had a mom that needed to see her (I have found paging someone once every half hour usually gets them to come to any unit and it worked whe I was in PP). I would also continually harass her about providing staff education if she is unwilling to see all moms. She should also have written protocols and handout for the moms and staff regarding breast milk storage, pumping etc. Some of these could be obtained from the LL by you or another colleague and handed out on the unit. Our NICU parents all get an orientation binder with handouts about breat milk and feeding in it.
I understand she doesn't want to see every mom, because I do think routine breastfeeding should be handled by nurses, but only if they are provided with the education to do it. Our hospital did a survey with new moms and the most common complaint was their frustration at being given conflicting advice from nurses about breastfeeding.
My first born was 6 weeks early and had NO sucking reflex. A MAJOR PAIN. I remember one nurse tubing him because she didnt want to spend the time coaxing him to suck. Once I found out I learned her shift and would be up there the entire time. YES, he was a difficult one to teach how to suck, but we did it.
I also remember being a brand new mom and trying to learn how to breastfeed a baby that didnt want to suck. I thought breastfeeding was supposed to be NATURAL...painless... easy.
not so for me. We perservered and made it, he is now a healthy 10 yr old and I breast feed both of our children. I know it would have helped me tremendously if we had been given more help.
I think the pt survey would be a great idea!
That is terrible! At the hospital I had my baby at all of the nursery nurses helped out with breast feeding alot. I don't know how many of them were actually certified as lactation consultants. And this is a very busy LDRP ward, also most of the gyne surgerys stay on this floor. I recently stopped breastfeeding my son, so I could probably answer basic questions for you. There are a lot of really good books out there and info on the web. The most important thing as a nurse, if you have never breastfed, is not to underestimate how difficult it can be. Even if there are no real severe problems it can be very draining, especially when they are little and eat all the time. Without support, I doubt that very many of your moms who leave the hospital breastfeeding are going to continue.
I don't know what to tell you about that awful woman. I know what you mean about people who wouldn't get fired no matter what they did. We have a few of those too. Please follow up on this somehow though for the sake of those moms and babies.
dawngloves, BSN, RN
You have a LC just for the NICU???? Lucky! The ones for the post partum floor work 9-5, Monday thru Friday. How much do they make? Probably to darn much in my opinion!
Fergus got a good point,conflicting ideas/advice(sometimes some parents take it literally) from different nurses from different shifts and from different experience would lead to a distressed and confused mother,sometimes the frustration will pave way to other complaints(I have seen this many times),like the service and the facilities w/c will eventually lead to a lawsuit or front page on a tabloid.We remedied this incidents by accepting a breastfeeding consultant into the unit,she conducts training so we have a unified ideas about breastfeeding.
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