The Virtual IBCLC: What To Expect From A Telehealth Visit
Updated: Dec 2, 2022
In 2020 the healthcare system had to make a lot of adjustments and find ways to bring care to everyone whether or not if they could be seen in an office. Telemedicine really took off and has become an option for just about everyone--those who want services from the comfort of their own homes or, even more importantly, those who don't have the services they need close to them.
Did you know that there are only 28,892 IBCLC's globally? This leaves whole countries without access to good lactation care within walking or driving distance. Offering consultations virtually brings lactation care to anyone and everyone who wants it. And with a certification such as an IBCLC, I can provide care to anyone around the world. Pretty cool, huh?
So what does a virtual consultation look like and what problems can we solve during one? Pretty much everything! Let's dig into what a virtual consultation looks like as well as what I ask from my clients ahead of the consultation.
First off, I run my virtual consults through my charting system milknotes which is always HIPAA compliant. This way I ensure the highest standards of privacy for my clients.
Once you book an appointment with me, you will get an email from my charting system asking for information about yourself and your baby as well as asking you to sign a consent for treatment and a consent for HIPAA.
I screen all parents postpartum for postpartum mood disorders because these are so important and can be easily missed. This is a part of the onboarding with milknotes as well.
Next I will send a video on how to do an oral assessment** on baby. This video walks you through an oral assessment, a process that I want you to do while someone else is taking a video. I've had videos taken by dads, grandmas and older children; they all work just fine. Then you will email me the video, and when I watch it, I will take screenshots of things that we can talk about during our visit. These pictures will be uploaded and become a part of your chart.
** An oral assessment shows me how baby is sucking and holding suction as well as what the lip and tongue frenulum look like.
At the virtual appointment, we will both log into milknotes and click the Video Care button, log on, and get started. If you would like me to assess a feeding, I will have you try to hold-off on feeding your baby until our appointment. FYI-It can be helpful to have an extra set of hands to hold the phone or laptop during the appointment, but that isn't necessary.
We will look at latching and positioning and make changes as needed. We can listen for swallows, look at weight gain patterns to assess milk supply, and check how baby transfers at the breast. I have tools I can use on my end to demonstrate what I'm looking for in latching and positioning and can even show you strategies for bottle feeding and measuring your nipple for the correct flange size on a breast pump.
If there are concerns about weight gain, tightness in the body or restrictions in the mouth, I will refer you to the proper providers in your area and will check in with your pediatrician or midwife.
If there are any concerns for postpartum mood disorders, I will talk with your provider as well. It is so important that we all collaborate to ensure care!
At the end of the appointment we will set out a plan and, most importantly, make sure it feels doable to you. And we can schedule a time to check in if need be.
I will then type up the care plan that we talked about and upload it to milknotes so that you have access to it 24/7.
Access to care for everyone no matter where they live is important during the often stressful first weeks and months with a new baby. I feel so blessed that I can deliver lactation and feeding care globally to those who may otherwise not have access to it.
Kelsey RN, BSN, IBCLC