Megan Dunn, lactation consultant at Atrium Health, and her patient, Ashley Hilton and her baby, John

Women's Health, Family Health | 2 years ago

Atrium Health Lactation Consultant Saves One Mother’s Breastfeeding Journey

Ashley Hilton gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, who, like most newborns, was a little fussy. Looking for ways to ease this, she met with an Atrium Health lactation consultant who successfully helped her and her baby with feeding challenges.

Something didn’t feel right. Ashley Hilton’s son John was fussy and having an incredibly difficult time eating and feeling content. “He never seemed satisfied. I assumed it was possibly colic.” She knew she needed help. After her first pregnancy, Ashley sought advice from a lactation consultant who suggested weighted feeds; when mother’s measure their baby pre and post feed to determine how much breastmilk the infant receives in one feeding. But her second child was struggling to latch on to the breast and bottle. “He was trying to eat all the time, but for short periods of time because of his difficulties latching.” John was irritable and both mom and baby were frustrated. 

Desperate For Help

Ashley reached out to Megan Dunn, IBCLC. International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Atrium Health, desperate for help. “We provide help before baby arrives and after baby is born. When moms are in the hospital, the milk may not have come in yet. I can help navigate their challenges. As lactation consultants we support feeding choices; a combination of formula and breast milk or exclusively pumping, it doesn’t need to look a certain way. There is no pressure. I provide information parents need to inform their choices. We also help with supply concerns, nutrition counseling, breast and nipple symptoms while breastfeeding, latching and positioning, pumping and bottle-feeding.”

A collaboration between Atrium Health Women’s Care and Atrium Health Levine Children’s, lactation services are offered at pediatric or OB/GYN offices, making it easy and convenient for families. It's a place they are familiar with, comfortable with, and moms may already be there for other appointments. And lactation services are accessible to patients whether they have private insurance or Medicaid.  
When Ashley brought John to a consultation with Megan she was expecting another weighted feed. “I wasn’t expecting much more than that this go-around but wanted to at least see how much milk he was getting,” says Ashley. “I was blown away at how much more I gained at the visit!”

“As part of our clinical competencies as IBCLCs, we examine mother and baby to screen for signs and symptoms of structural or functional barriers to breastfeeding,” says Megan. “We make referrals as appropriate to mother’s or baby’s health care providers and other professionals who can diagnose and treat conditions impacting breastfeeding.” 

Megan’s Referral Leads to Answers

Ashley’s son was eventually diagnosed with tongue and lip tie by his pediatrician and dentist. After his treatment and continued breastfeeding consultations, Ashley says Megan helped save her breastfeeding journey. “The abundance of information we received was invaluable. Based on her expertise and examination, she gave a recommendation to check with his doctor and a pediatric dentist. He was ultimately diagnosed with both and had the release procedures done. Megan’s recommendation to have him checked probably saved him from several difficulties in the future. I truly can’t thank her enough.” 

Ashley would argue this service is equally as important as prenatal care and should absolutely be recommended – insisted on – as part of postpartum care for all moms. “Just because babies are eating, doesn’t mean they are eating well.”

Atrium Health lactation consultants want moms to feel confident and empowered in their breastfeeding journey and are there to help them listen and trust their bodies.

Learn more about Atrium Health lactation resources