What do I need to do to prepare for breastfeeding?
There really isn't much prep work involved when it comes to preparing your BODY for breastfeeding. No matter what you may hear about toughening your nipples, DON'T! There is no need to slather on the nipple cream or buy a bunch of nipple shields. Perhaps investing in a few good nursing bras or a great pump (covered by insurance!) may be on the docket.
Your body is busy preparing for breastfeeding all on its own during pregnancy (maybe you noticed enlargement, tenderness, darker areolar area or those little bumps all over your areola called Montgomery Tubercles/Glands). Around 16-22 weeks, your body begins producing colostrum, also known as liquid gold, which is creamy, clear and/or yellow in color. Many mothers won't even know this is happening, others will leak colostrum (don't worry if you don't leak or cannot express colostrum, that's normal!). This liquid gold may be small in volume, but it packs a punch when it comes to nutrients. Chock-full of antibodies, immunoglobulins and high in protein, it contains everything your little one will need in the first few days as the milk transitions into mature milk. Colostrum will help to protect your baby from germs, help them to pass sticky meconium stools, and it's plenty for their tiny tummy size.
My BEST advice for preparing for breastfeeding is to prepare mentally and emotionally. Physically, it is quite rare for breastfeeding to not work so long as it is managed correctly. Take classes, read books, ask questions and know exactly what to expect and you will have a much easier transition. Steer clear of the naysayers and the horror stories, and remember that most people forget to share the success stories. Surround yourself with supportive and encouraging people. It can be extremely helpful to see a lactation consultant prenatally and/or take a private/group breastfeeding class. The Mama Mantra has you covered there-just give us a call!
Why is breastfeeding so complicated?
Sometimes breastfeeding goes off without a hitch. Other times that isn't the case. Most of the time, breastfeeding challenges are quickly addressed with the help of an IBCLC or someone knowledgeable about breastfeeding. Breastfeeding may be natural, but there are many factors that come into play during the birthing process and after that can affect breastfeeding and make it more complicated. No matter what you may hear, breastfeeding is also a learned skill. Breastfeeding isn't as 'out in the open' as it should be or as it once was in the past. This means that most women may have grown up never seeing anyone breastfeed. Sometimes it helps to have someone show you the ropes. This is where going to a support group or working with an IBCLC can be helpful.
Is breastfeeding support covered by insurance?
Short answer? Maybe. The Affordable Care Act of 2012 requires most insurance companies to cover "breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling" with each birth. That means that most insurance companies should cover comprehensive lactation support and guidance by an IBCLC during pregnancy and/or in the postpartum period. However, due to a licensing loop hole, most states do not have many (or any) in-network private practice IBCLCs (Texas, and many other states, is working hard to change this!). At this time, The Mama Mantra is not in-network with medical insurance or Medicare/Medicaid. However, I will provide you with an itemized bill with ICD-10 codes and CPT codes at the end of your consultation and you may file that with your insurance company. Clients pay me directly (cash, all major credit cards, HSA/FSA accepted) and submit my receipt/superbill for possible reimbursement. Every insurance plan is different, and reimbursement is not guaranteed. Please check with your insurance provider for details of your specific plan. Please visit the how-to page for insurance submittal instructions.
We have found that some insurance companies request additional information that is very specific and specialized to that provider. Given the large number of discrepancies between what each company requires and that time needed to meet those requests, we do not assist with insurance reimbursement above and beyond the diagnosis and tests codes on your receipt. We feel that we are able to offer more comprehensive, individualized care and spend more time with you by not working within the parameters of insurance company requirements. You will get more for your money at The Mama Mantra, we guarantee it.
Why do you charge a travel fee for >10mi radius?
As you can imagine, traveling costs can add up quickly. The travel fees charged are to help cover cost of gas getting to and from the appointment, costs of tolls (if applicable), traffic considerations and ongoing car maintenance. In order to make it possible to continue to do home consults, which is my most requested service, travel fees need to be added for longer distances. It is a pleasure to be able serve the entire community in and around Austin.
Why do you charge more for same day or after hour consults?
Just like any business, The Mama Mantra has set hours so that I can separate time to be able to spend with my family and to get personal tasks accomplished. It is understandably a stressful transition into parenthood and even more so when breastfeeding challenges arise. We understand the desire for immediate consultation, but this is not always possible due to most clients booking in advance, etc. I am only one person at The Mama Mantra currently and I juggle running my own business with working at the hospital once or twice a week, so this calls for stricter business hours that I adhere to. Same day/emergent consults often require that I cancel my own pre-scheduled appointments, meetings, etc. or work late into the night since I plan in advance around consults that are already booked 24hrs or more ahead of time. Sometimes, cancellation of these personal appointments even results in myself sustaining a extra costs and losing time with my family. This is why the extra charge is applied. Same day/emergent consults also mean extra charting and extra time spent at the consults working on paper work/intake forms that were not filled out in advance. Same day consultations are not always available and I may not be able to accommodate the request until the next day.
Why didn't you pick up right away when I called?
I do my best to always pick up phone calls during business hours, so long as I am not in another consult. That time is important to the client, so I do not take calls while working with families. If you call, please leave a message and/or text me and I will get back to you within normal business hours during the same day. If you call before business hours, please understand that I will return your call ASAP within my normal business hours for that day. If you call after business hours, I will return your call the next day during business hours. The Mama Mantra, LLC is open 7 days a week. If you are calling in need of an after hours consult/urgent consult (please see above, as an extra charge is added), please follow your call with a text and let me know this ahead of time. I will then return your call/text and let you know if I am available to take the after hours/urgent consult or not. I offer ongoing text/email support to all of my clients, which is something you typically do not see. I have chosen to offer this extra benefit extending beyond our consult time as an added service. Please know that I will respond to texts/emails within normal business hours as well. If I feel that your situation warrants another consult, I will let you know.