Lactation Consultants

If your baby is a patient at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, you may meet with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding resource nurse. 

Outpatient lactation support is also available to moms of babies being cared for at CHOP Care Network locations. 

Lactation consultants can educate you about the multiple benefits of breastfeeding or pumping breast milk for your baby. They can also work with you and your baby on breastfeeding positions and proper latch technique and address any breastfeeding challenges you may face.

Qualifications and duties of lactation specialists

Breastfeeding in NIICU ImageOur lactation team is comprised of four lactation consultants and more than 650 breastfeeding resource nurses and is led by Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, an internationally recognized expert in the field of human milk and breastfeeding for vulnerable infants. Dr. Spatz is a PhD-prepared nurse, researcher and author. With more than 20 years experience in the field of human milk management, Dr. Spatz has written and lectured extensively about the importance of mother’s milk to critically ill and fragile infants and babies.

Our four lactation consultants are all internationally board-certified. They are all registered nurses or registered dietitians and have been additionally trained to help moms breastfeed or pump milk for their babies. To learn more about our lactation team, see meet our team.

All of our breastfeeding resources nurses are registered nurses who work in units throughout the Hospital. Each breastfeeding resource nurse has completed an intensive two-day course on how to support and educate families on the provision of human milk and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding resource nurses are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Your child's nurses should be able to help you and answer most of your pumping and breastfeeding questions.

Lactation consultants and breastfeeding resource nurses want to understand your personal breastfeeding goals. They can offer information about breastfeeding basics, address common breastfeeding concerns, and assist moms with breastfeeding for special needs babies. They will work with you to create and review a personalized pumping schedule to maximize your milk production for your child and achieve breastfeeding success.

Mouth care

Your baby’s nurse will teach you about mouth care. With a sterile cotton swab or your hand-washed finger, you will coat the entire inside of the baby’s mouth with the milk. You can leave a small amount of milk for your baby’s nurse to do mouth care when you are not here. Mouth care with your milk helps to protect your baby from infection and babies love it.

Pumping schedule

We will work with you to create and review a personalized pumping schedule to maximize your milk production.

Skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care)

Skin-to-skin contact supports the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of the child and parent. It reinforces the bonding and attachment between baby and parents. We will teach you more about skin-to-skin contact.

Non-nutritive sucking

Babies find sucking to be soothing. That's why you see so many babies with pacifiers. If your baby has been intubated (using a breathing tube), you'll need to wait until that is removed before your baby can begin non-nutritive sucking at the breast. You will need to pump your breast first so your baby doesn't get milk until he's ready.