As a lactation specialist or one aspiring-to-be, you may find yourself getting asked questions regarding the safety of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs by your breastfeeding clients. Or maybe it’s not medications, but the safety of herbs or the use of Galactagogues.
As lactation professionals (and those aspiring to be), it’s essential we stay within the scope of our training and certification. Diagnosing and prescribing prescription and OTC medications, herbs and galactagogues are outside the scope of practice for IBCLCs (and other lactation specialists) – unless of course, you’re also a licensed health care provider who has the ability to diagnose and prescribe medication. What we CAN do as lactation specialists is to counsel our breastfeeding clients and provide them with evidence-based resources so that they can make an informed decision that is best for themselves and their family.
In the Middle East where I used to live and practice, it was not common practice to question your physician’s recommendations, ask questions, or even to begin an open dialogue about potential alternatives, risks and benefits, etc. To question your doctor was a big no-no and it was something that just wasn’t done.
But because my client’s (and their infant’s) health and well-being come first, I encouraged every single one to bring every single evidence-based resources to their health care provider – to ask questions, demand answers and to begin an open dialogue. Yes, I admit I probably committed a few cultural faux pas, but it was worth it.
I found this not only enabled those I worked with to make informed decisions that worked best for them and their families, but it EMPOWERED them as well. The cherry on top was that it also educated health care professionals on lactation issues, which was often desperately lacking. Due to this approach, I was able to establish working relationships with local health care providers and to network. It was a win-win.
You may be wondering where to start when counseling your breastfeeding families on prescription and OTC drugs, herbs and galactagogues. How do you go about it? What approach would you take? What questions should you be asking and answering? Well, thanks for Dr. Frank Nice over at Nice Breastfeeding, he’s got all of this covered.
He has shared a wealth of information in order to help you help your breastfeeding families. Best of all, it’s all FREE and immediately accessble – just click here for practical, relevant counseling tips that you can begin applying with soon as the situation arises.
This link is divided into 3 sections: 1) About Mom, 2) About Baby, 3) Useful PDFs (on several topics including but not limited to Domperidone, Galactalogues and Herbs, and Recreational Drugs). These are free, downloadable and are perfect resources to share with your breastfeeding families.
And don’t forget to encourage your clients to share these handouts with their health care providers – not only will this create an open dialogue of how to best approach their situation and meet their needs, but it will also help to educate health care providers as well.
There is also a helpful ‘Patient Resources’ section with Useful Links that you can share with your expecting and breastfeeding clients. Again, these are free!
Dr. Frank Nice, RPh, DPA, CPHP, founder of Nice Breastfeeding, has over 40+ experience specializing in medications and breastfeeding. He has also authored 2 books: Nonprescription Drugs for the Breastfeeding Mother, 2nd Edition (2011) and The Galactogogue Recipe Book (2017).