Breastfeeding offers remarkable health benefits for both infants and mothers and helps protect against certain illnesses and diseases. Changing to meet an infant’s nutritional needs as they grow, breast milk is found to be the best source of nutrition for most infants. But, due to a variety of factors, a startling 60% of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they intend according to the CDC. To help mothers with any breastfeeding questions, or those just needing additional support, Clara Barton Medical Center is excited to now offer Lactation Consultations at the Hoisington clinic location.
The Certified Lactation Counselor® (CLC) certification is the premier National Certification in Lactation Management in the United States. CLC certification means that a person has received training and competency verification in breastfeeding and human lactation support, including assessing the latching and feeding process, providing corrective interventions, counseling mothers, understanding and applying knowledge of milk production, including in special circumstances and other commonly encountered situations.
The two Certified Lactation Counselors® at Clara Barton Medical Clinic are Breanna Helton, RN, and Emily DeLaurentis, RN. Both Barton County natives, Helton grew up in Claflin and got her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Fort Hays State University. She started her career as an OB nurse in Colby, KS, for 2 years, got married, and started a family of her own. After deciding to move back to her hometown, Helton has been a clinic nurse at Clara Barton for 2 years – working in Pediatrics with Dr. Kayla Johnson for the last year and a half. DeLaurentis was born and raised in Great Bend and received her Associate’s Degree in Nursing from Barton Community College. After graduating, she started her nursing career working nights in the ER and as a circulating nurse in the OR. After having her child, she made the switch to Clara Barton and has been a clinical nurse with Brandi Lowe, PA-C for 3 years. Both Helton and DeLaurentis received their CLC certification through the Healthy Children Project, Inc: Center for Breastfeeding, the largest national provider of lactation management.
“When I had a baby of my own, I realized how nice it was to have someone tell me that I was doing things right or help me fix the things I was doing wrong,” said Helton. “Working with Dr. Johnson, I quickly realized that some of the mothers we saw were discharged without the simple information I used to routinely give as an OB nurse. I found it frustrating, so I decided to take action. My goal as a CLC is to give moms confidence in their abilities to feed their baby and I hope they know they will always have someone in their corner to help them if they ever need it!”
Women who could benefit from these services are those who are planning to get pregnant, are currently pregnant, and those interested in more information about breastfeeding. In addition, mothers who’ve already had their babies and are facing obstacles on their breastfeeding journey – or needing extra support – are welcome.
“I chose to get the extra certification because I think that a lot of women/mothers could benefit from the education and help,” said DeLaurentis. “When I had my daughter, I realized smaller communities don’t tend to have an abundance of resources, and I definitely wish I had more access to these types of services – then I might have been more successful. Breastfeeding is a job in itself and this is an amazing opportunity to support mothers and babies on their breastfeeding journey, helping them reach their goals whether it be a month, a year, or more.”
If you are a new patient, the first visit may last anywhere from 30-45 minutes long. Follow-up visits are generally shorter, lasting anywhere from 15-20 minutes. Phone consultations are available, however, you may be asked to come into the office to be seen in person, depending on the problem or concern as most assessments are based on visualization. If you are already seeing a provider for an appointment, talk with them about consulting with a Certified Lactation Counselor while you’re there.
No additional items need to be brought during your consult other than yourself, your baby, and any essentials you need or utilize when breastfeeding. If you are needing consultation for an issue, bring your baby slightly hungry so the consultants can observe a feeding while you are in the clinic.
Currently, lactation consults are only offered at the Hoisington clinic location. Scheduled visits will primarily be on Wednesday and Thursday mornings. However, consultants are available Monday – Friday (as long as the clinic is open) for any over-the-phone consultations/questions, if there is a breastfeeding emergency, or if you are already in the office seeing another provider and need assistance.
No referral is needed for a lactation consult. If you are not a current patient at any of our clinics, please contact any of the three Clara Barton clinics – in Great Bend, Hoisington, or Russell. Let them know you are wanting a lactation consult and, if available, a CLC will talk with you over the phone and get you scheduled or answer any questions you may have. Lactation consults are currently free to the public, so if you are having any sort of problems, need extra support, or have any questions, call 620-653-2386. New patients are always welcome.