Is this really the year it’s finally the year that lactation consultants start making a living?
As of today, lactation is still the most popular medical condition in the United States, but as the demand for lactation care increases, so too does the supply.
And as the supply of lactation doctors, lactations, and other professionals in the industry continues to expand, so does the demand.
According to a study published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing, the number of lactations performed per 1,000 people in the US rose from 2.7 in 2005 to 3.3 in 2018.
That’s an increase of 2.5 percent over the last ten years.
And while the number performed has grown, there’s still a lot of work to be done in the field.
“The demand for physicians who specialize in lactation and lactation-related care is growing rapidly, and that’s the most likely explanation for the growth,” says Stephanie A. Folsom, PhD, an associate professor of nursing at University of California, San Diego.
“The demand is for people who have specialized knowledge in lactations and lactations related care, and there’s not enough training available to meet that demand.”
There’s still no shortage of lactational care options for women and families.
Many of the top-selling lactation products are available in both traditional and online formats, but many of those products are expensive.
A typical lactation product can cost anywhere from $100 to $500, and you’ll also need a prescription for it.
And because there are so many different types of products, many of them are only sold in specialty pharmacies.
There are also online sites and app platforms that offer additional services and products.
For example, there are some sites that offer a personalized lactation plan that can include things like breastfeeding advice, prenatal care, breastfeeding equipment, and more.
“There’s definitely demand for more lactation services,” says Elizabeth P. Zahn, MD, an assistant professor of pediatrics and pediatrics at the University of Michigan Health System and an expert in the medical treatment of lactating women.
“I think that’s where the lactation market is going to take off.”
According to Folsum, many companies are targeting a growing market.
One of the biggest trends is for companies to offer their services online.
And, because there is a shortage of staff in some of these specialty offices, they’re turning to their lactation teams to help provide the service.
“In the past, you had lactation departments that were staffed by lactation professionals,” she says.
“Now, the lactational team is staffed by women and their moms, and they’re trained to help women manage their lactations by using technology to connect with the right health professionals.”
For women like Laila Rauh, a mother of three, there is still a need for professional lactation assistance.
When she first started nursing at age 19, she was struggling to find a lactational therapist who would help her.
She decided to start her own company, and after more than two years, she’s now a full-time lactation coach with a degree in human-centered pediatrics.
“I think we’re at the dawn of a new era for the lactations industry,” she said.
“Lactation is not just for women who want to do it themselves, but it’s an option for anyone that wants to get in touch with a lactating mom and nurse.
That means people like me who have never been trained in nursing, and I think it’s just the beginning.”
As more women start taking advantage of the new market opportunities, it will only get better for lactational professionals and their families.
As long as we keep pushing for more options for mothers and lactating moms, the demand will only keep growing.