Lactation consults during COVID-19

by Laura Howells
2 mins reading time
(Updated )

Parent sat on bed breastfeeding while using laptop

While COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise, all of Woven's consults will remain online for the foreseeable future. Keep reading for details on what an online consult looks like, and the reasons why they can be very successful.

Reflecting on changes to consultations

I'm sympathetic to the anxiety that the newness of parenting can bring. And there is nothing like having somebody come to your home and make you feel like everything is going to be okay. But the reality right now means that it isn't that relaxing to have a visitor, especially one who may have visited multiple other homes that same day, and especially when you have a tiny baby.

Another, more happy reality that has come to light for me and my clients is that online consults have their own benefits! All of Woven's clients access records and messaging services through a secure, HIPAA-compliant patient portal. Secure video calls are another feature of the patient portal. This means you can come back and review your care plans, instructional videos or text conversations if you forget. Just having had a baby and not getting a lot of sleep is a forgetful time and this can be very helpful.

And it turns out, there are very few things that we can't do online. It's still comforting to see another person's face through the screen, and to hear how well you're doing or to be acknowledged for your efforts. Lactation consultants can bring all our anatomical and physiological knowledge to you virtually just as easily. We can meet more frequently for shorter times if needed, as transport time between homes isn't an issue. And we can still follow up frequently after our first meeting—which tends to be where most of the work happens.

What to expect from an initial appointment

  • In general, in the first appointment we get your whole story and then I give encouragement, information, and an individualized care plan with suggestions of things for you to try in the coming days.
  • If babies are struggling to gain weight and its hard to tell what is happening by observation alone, I may suggest renting a scale of if you are local borrowing mine for a day or two so we can get a better idea of your babies weight and how much milk they might be getting at each feeding.
  • Pictures and video, after or during I may ask to for you to take specific video's or close up pictures of specific things, latch, babies mouth etc...I am then able to get a closer look as well as mark up these images to send them back to you to help convey my suggestions in an easy to understand manor.
  • Then as families try suggestions after the appointment, they may find things change and new issues come up, some suggestions work, but others are not sustainable, and sometimes your goals will change. This is a normal part of lactation support as there is rarely a magic pill when it comes to breastfeeding, chestfeeding or exclusive pumping. We then often follow up by phone or with in app messaging (basically texting through my secure platform when you download the app). For easier challenges this is likely to be enough for you to feel confident and ready to proceed without support.
  • For many with slightly more complicated challenges or who need the continued emotional support we book one or more follow up appointments Having all of these connections with the continuity of being all online seems to have its advantages for many families. More families seem to be following up more closely in this way which makes meeting your goals much more likely.


Headshot of Laura

Laura Howells (she/her) is an IBCLC and postpartum doula who works with clients in the San Francisco Bay Area. She has been happily supporting growing families during pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and the first years since 2009.

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