*A Note to Parents*
Therapists, including occupational therapists (OT), speech-language pathologists (SLP),and physical therapists (PT), who specialize in lactation and breastfeeding are able to provide therapeutic services that are supportive of breastfeeding and lactation goals. Therapeutic support/treatment of breastfeeding families will differ, based on family need, the type of therapy provided (OT, SLP, PT), and the therapist’s expertise and practice interests.
The following list comprises therapists who have additional training in breastfeeding and lactation. Some therapists choose to mainly treat the baby (ex. oral motor therapy or torticollis) OR the mother (ex. maternal mental health, ultrasound for clogged ducts), rather than treat the DYAD (both mother and baby).
In addition, as with any healthcare professional, training and expertise specifically related to lactation and breastfeeding will vary as there are many types of breastfeeding/lactation certifications. The “gold standard” certification is the IBCLC. Obtaining this certification ensures entry-level training to clinically treat the breastfeeding dyad. It has more rigorous requirements compared to other certifications (such as the CLC, CBS, and CLEC- these are not the same as the IBCLC).
However, expertise in treating the dyad cannot be guaranteed.
As a parent, it is very important that you talk with your therapist and determine if their skills, training, and practice expertise align with your needs. If you have a breastfeeding/lactation challenge that requires support for both you and baby and your therapist mainly treats babies for oral motor challenges, for example, it is advised that you also work with an IBCLC that specializes in treating the dyad or another therapist that treats the breastfeeding dyad (they will usually also be an IBCLC in addition to being a therapist). If, on the other hand, you have already worked with an IBCLC who believes your baby would benefit from oral motor therapy, then a therapist, with breastfeeding training, that mainly focuses on oral motor therapy, might fit your needs well. It is important to be discerning so that you get the care that you and your baby need!