A match made: IBCLCs and pediatricians
Magic happens when IBCLCs and pediatricians collaborate. Babies thrive, and parents are much more likely to meet their feeding goals. Parents who have access to both of these clinical experts working together don’t just have access to evidence-based information — they feel empowered, supported, and are more likely to feel comfortable with feeding decisions.
Are you a newer lactation consultant wondering how to start the process of meeting local pediatricians? Or are you an established LC interested in building on your existing relationships? The relationship is a special one, helping to reinforce support for the parent and child dyad. Let’s look at some ways IBCLCs can establish and foster relationships with pediatricians to support families everywhere.
Do your research
Who are the pediatricians that support families in your community? A great first step is to create a contact list of local pediatricians. Include columns for their mailing address, phone, website, social media accounts, and how they like to receive patient charts. Look at their websites and note how they currently support their breastfeeding parents. Online searches, parent groups on social media, and provider directories are good places to gather names. Ask friends and family members for referrals. Even if you’ve been a lactation consultant in the community for years, remember to revisit your contact list periodically. You’ll need to update the pediatricians in each practice while keeping up with new and retiring doctors.
Many IBCLCs aren’t sure how to take that introductory step, but meeting pediatricians and the office staff in person is incredibly valuable. You don’t want to come at a busy time or be turned away, so call in advance and ask the front desk or office manager when you can come by to introduce yourself.
Be prepared to share key points about your practice and yourself as an IBCLC. Do you have specialized training, or is there an aspect of lactation care you’re particularly passionate about? Suggest a few ways you can add value to their practice. (We’ll talk more about that in a bit!) And finally, ask if you can leave business cards or marketing materials. Don’t forget to check in periodically to see if they are running low.
Transparency is key if you are providing care to a patient and their family and are aware of who their pediatrician is. As IBCLCs, we should communicate relevant information from our lactation consultations to the patient doctors, also known as “charting” or sending reports. Regular updates keep the pediatrician informed on their patient’s status and help establish trust in you as a healthcare professional and valuable care team member.
If you have timely information regarding a patient, proactively contact their doctor. Make yourself available to take their calls and discuss cases when needed.
Explore ways to provide resources for local pediatrician practices and their patients with current, evidence-based lactation information. Can you offer breastfeeding resources for their website? Fact sheets for their office? Or are the doctors interested in receiving emails with the latest lactation research? Some practices are open to “in-services” where you provide lactation education on specific topics.
Is the practice open to hosting a prenatal breastfeeding class or breastfeeding support group in their office after hours? Or co-hosting a community event during World Breastfeeding Week? The possibilities are endless!
Make it easy for pediatricians to refer to you
When pediatricians refer to you, they want to know that the family will receive expert care and an excellent experience. International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) with The Lactation Network see families under their insurance, which makes scheduling lactation consultations simple (and low to no cost). When our IBCLCs partner with pediatricians, they can provide support throughout the entire feeding journey — prenatally through weaning. Pediatricians know that families seeing you will receive the highest level of lactation care and access that care easily and without additional cost. If that connection and access feel like something you’d like to experience in your practice, you’re not alone. Luckily, becoming a TLN IBCLC is easy (and free).
As an IBCLC, nurturing relationships with local pediatricians is essential. Whether you’re just starting or very established in your career, these partnerships are vital to creating a collaborative healthcare environment that benefits you, pediatricians, and the families you support.
Are you new to building a private practice and looking for a step-by-step guide to establishing one? Log into the myTLN portal to access the “Starting Your Practice Playbook.”
Not yet a TLN IBCLC? It’s free to join. Go here to schedule a call and learn how TLN can help you grow your practice.
We handle billing, end-to-end. We connect you with insurance-covered patients. We help you grow your practice, your way.