Best Online Lactation Consultants

Nest Collaborative is the best overall online lactation consultant

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When it comes to breastfeeding, it can be an adjustment, especially when your newborn won't latch, your nipples are cracked, and your supply is low. But you don't have to feel alone.

Enter online lactation consultants, rescuing new moms everywhere from their breastfeeding woes. Telehealth appointments are all the rage these days, and it’s a good thing, too: Now you can get help from a qualified breastfeeding professional while comfortably seated in your signature “nursing spot” on the couch or bed.

The best online lactation consultants offer a variety of services, from pumping tutorials and prenatal preparations to 24/7 support and online mom groups. Here are our top picks.

Best Online Lactation Consultants of 2021

Best Overall : Nest Collaborative


Nest Collaborative

Nest Collaborative

  • Price: About $79 for 50 minutes
  • 24-Hour Support: No
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes

Why We Chose It: Easy-to-schedule appointments combine with expertise, affordability, and virtual support groups to create a lactation platform that meets all your needs.

Pros
  • Immediate and same-day appointments

  • Assistance with insurance and physician communication

  • Virtual support through Latch Lounge

Cons
  • Appointments are less than one hour

  • Unclear how follow-up works if you have questions

Nest Collaborative is a team of International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) who live across the country but all work remotely to provide lactation consultations through the website. Because the company is set up as a virtual coalition of qualified IBCLCs, it accepts most insurance plans and will work with you to coordinate coverage for your consultation.

It couldn’t be easier to book one through Nest Collaborative. Simply register and choose an appointment time, wait for the support team to verify your info, and do a Telehealth video chat at your convenience. There are immediate and same-day appointment options, as well as appointments available seven days a week, including evenings. During your appointment, you’ll have an opportunity to raise any concerns with your consultant and a plan will be made to help you continue breastfeeding long after the appointment is over. (Nest Collaborative will even contact your primary care provider to keep them in the loop.)

Lastly, there’s the Latch Lounge, virtual group sessions offered through the Nest Collaborative website that are also covered by your insurance plan. You can chat with other moms and lactation consultants to get advice on issues like infant sleep, milk supply, scheduling, and baby milestones. Considering how extensive the resources are here, we were pleasantly surprised to find that a 50-minute lactation consultation is only about $79. 

Best Budget : the mama ‘hood


The Mama ‘Hood

The Mama ‘Hood

  • Price: Around $125 for 60 minutes
  • 24-Hour Support: No
  • Accepts Insurance: No

Why We Chose It: With flexible fees for consultations that cover a wide range of issues, including second-time moms hoping to avoid recurring problems, the mama ‘hood is a smart pick that doesn’t cut quality for cost. 

Pros
  • Affordable phone appointments offered

  • Lots of free online resources

  • Focuses on troubleshooting common problems

Cons
  • Unclear how long a full-length consultation is

  • Denver-area clients will reap more benefits

Need breastfeeding and budgeting assistance? We love that there are a few options available with the mama ‘hood, including short and cheap phone calls (about $20 for 15 minutes) and a starting price of roughly $125 for a full virtual lactation consultation.

If this still poses a challenge, the mama ‘hood invites you to contact them; it offers a sliding scale for payments for in-person classes and groups, and you can ask about reduced pricing for other services.

The mama ‘hood is staffed by qualified IBCLCs who can help normalize breastfeeding as well as troubleshoot common issues, like poor latch, oversupply or undersupply, and cracked or sore nipples. It even notes that if you’re a second-time mom who had trouble breastfeeding her first baby, you can schedule a prenatal consultation to get out in front of any potential issues. 

The process for booking is right online, with appointments available ASAP (and in Spanish, if needed). the mama ‘hood also offers on-demand breastfeeding classes you can purchase and take on the spot, as well as a library of resources about pumping, milk supply and storage, and engorgement.

Best for 24-Hour Support : Medela


Medela

Medela

  • Price: Around $79 for a 1-month membership (free with purchase of a Sonata or Freestyle breast pump)
  • 24-Hour Support: Yes
  • Accepts Insurance: No

Why We Chose It: No other companies or platforms offer support around the clock, but the 24/7 LC app from Medela makes it easy to get help whenever you need it.

Pros
  • Available on mobile devices

  • 24/7 assistance

  • First month may be free (with other Medela purchases)

Cons
  • Not a lot of info available to non-members

  • You pay on a monthly schedule

  • You won’t establish a relationship with a consultant

As manufacturers of some of the most popular breast pumps on the market, the lactation support staff at Medela knows a thing or two about breastfeeding. With the 24/7 LC app, you can tap into this wealth of expert knowledge any time of the day or night, making it the best choice for all those 2 a.m. breastfeeding emergencies (like when your baby is crying but refuses to latch).

Medela is a little vague on the details unless you actually purchase a membership, but all of its lactation services utilize IBCLCs for breastfeeding advice and support, so we’re confident that’s the case for the 24/7 LC app. You can't use your insurance to cover the cost, though you can use HSA or FSA funds if you have them.

One month of the 24/7 LC service costs roughly $79; three months costs about $117; and a full year’s worth of support costs approximately $156. (But if you’ve purchased a Medela Sonata or Freestyle breast pump, you get one month’s membership for free.)

Best for Virtual Support Groups : Over the Moon Parenting


Over the Moon Parenting

Over the Moon Parenting

  • Price: About $150 for 60 minutes
  • 24-Hour Support: No
  • Accepts Insurance: No (reimbursement may be an option through your provider)

Why We Chose It: This company takes a holistic approach to parent and child care, best seen in its numerous virtual support groups for new moms, breastfeeding moms, and stressed-out parents.

Pros
  • Breastfeeding group is free and drop-in

  • You can continue your parenting education after mastering breastfeeding

Cons
  • Boston-area clients may reap more benefits

  • Non-breastfeeding virtual groups charge a registration free

Over the Moon Parenting calls itself a “parent and child enrichment center,” and we think that’s an apt description for this Boston-based center offering everything from prenatal classes to breastfeeding consultations to Mommy & Me playgroups. (If you’re local, you may even be able to take an in-person class or join a drop-in group.) 

If it’s a lactation consultation you’re looking for, Over the Moon Parenting can set you up with an hour-long telehealth appointment (through Doxy.me) or a 30-minute phone consultation with an experienced IBCLC. The cost for the virtual appointment is about $150, and while Over the Moon Parenting doesn’t process insurance claims, it does note that many insurance plans will reimburse you for this service. 

What we love about this company, though, is the community it builds; after you’ve mastered breastfeeding, you can join one of its virtual groups, which focuses on new moms, breastfeeding support, and parenting.

These are all conducted via Zoom and the breastfeeding support group is free of charge, so you can drop in any time to ask questions, find out how other moms are doing, and find breastfeeding solidarity.

Best for Prenatal Consultations : The Mama Nurse


The Mama Nurse

The Mama Nurse

  • Price: Roughly $99 for 60 minutes
  • 24-Hour Support: No
  • Accepts Insurance: No

Why We Chose It: As an RN and IBCLC, The Mama Nurse knows her stuff; she can start educating you on breastfeeding while you’re still pregnant and coach you through the process after delivery. 

Pros
  • Nursing and lactation experience

  • Affordable price

  • Care plan sent post-appointment

Cons
  • Unclear how follow-up works if you have questions

  • Based in Ontario, which complicates things slightly for U.S. clients

The Mama Nurse is Tori Hamilton, and she’s a registered nurse and IBCLC based in Ontario offering 60-minute virtual consultations from your own home. We chose The Mama Nurse as our pick for prenatal consultations because Tori says, right in her consultation description, that she’s available for one-on-one prenatal sessions to coach you through everything you need to know about breastfeeding, from latching and pumping to soothing fussy babies.

In a postnatal session with Tori, you’ll also (ideally) be feeding your baby, so she can watch your positioning and latching techniques and help correct any issues. For prenatal education sessions, you can ask any questions you have about breastfeeding, bring a support person into the session with you if you want, and have Tori prepare you for however you’re planning to feed your baby, whether that’s breastfeeding on demand, exclusive pumping, or some combination of the two.

After your consultation, Tori will securely send you a care plan and helpful resources. The cost for a 60-minute session is about $99, making it an affordable choice for out-of-pocket or FSA/HSA payment.

Best for Pumping : Nurture by NAPS


Nurture by NAPS

Nurture by NAPS

  • Price: Around $125 for 30 minutes or roughly $250 for 90 minutes
  • 24-Hour Support: No
  • Accepts Insurance: No

Why We Chose It: We love the range of issues addressed by these nursing lactation consultants, especially the focus on everything related to pumping and storing milk. 

Pros
  • Pumping is one of their major areas of concern

  • Appointments are 90 minutes

Cons
  • Cost is higher than other consultants

  • Unclear how follow-up works if you have questions

Registered nurses who work with moms and babies have been there, done that—and they’ve got the wisdom to prove it! We love that the two founders of Nurture by NAPS, Jamie and Emily, are RNs and IBCLCs, meaning they have double the experience. And while we’re sure that many of the lactation consultants featured here are capable of walking you through the intricacies of pumping breast milk, it’s actually an integral part of Nurture by NAPS’ approach to online lactation consultation. 

The company breaks down its lactation consultations into three areas: lactation support, pumping education, and newborn care. You can talk about any or all of these topics, but if you’re concerned about pumping specifically, Nurture by NAPS says it can assist you with learning about the parts of your breast pump, how to properly clean them, safely store breast milk, and correctly fit and use your pump.

The cost here is a bit steeper at about $250 (and there’s no mention of insurance, so you’ll probably have to coordinate out-of-pocket payment and/or reimbursement on your own), but you get a full 90 minutes to pick the brain of your lactation consultant. That should put you right on the fast track toward becoming a lactation expert yourself.

Best for First Timers : Happy Babies, Healthy Moms


Happy Babies, Healthy Moms

Happy Babies, Healthy Moms

  • Price: Roughly $250 for 90 minutes
  • 24-Hour Support: No
  • Accepts Insurance: Yes in some areas and with some health plans; reimbursement may also be an option

Why We Chose It: You can feel the love for moms and babies radiating through this website—new moms in need of a little extra TLC are sure to walk away well-cared for and supported.

Pros
  • 90-minute appointments

  • Fast turnaround for scheduling

  • Focus on feeding during appointment

Cons
  • Cost is higher than other consultants

  • Clients with Harvard Pilgrim insurance will have an easier time with coverage

If this is your first baby and you have no idea where to start with breastfeeding, you’ll want to do an online lactation consultation with someone who feels like they just really get you. We think it will be easy to find that someone through Happy Babies, Happy Moms, a Rhode Island-based company focused on providing gentle, supportive, and stress-free care to moms and their babies.

In addition to virtual breastfeeding support groups and classes, Happy Babies, Happy Moms offers virtual one-on-one lactation consultations with RN/IBCLCs and makes every effort to schedule you for an appointment within the first 24 hours after you contact them. You have a variety of platform options, from Zoom to Skype to Google Hangouts. 

The appointments are typically 90 minutes and are centered around your baby’s feeding schedule; you’ll have an opportunity to chat with your consultant about any questions you have, plus the chance to be observed while feeding your baby to identify any latching or positioning problems. Happy Babies, Happy Moms states that your appointment will not end until you’re satisfied, so new moms feeling especially insecure about breastfeeding can walk away with confidence. 

The appointment costs about $250 and insurance coverage is an option if you have Harvard Pilgrim insurance coverage (local to RI and some surrounding states); everyone else may be able to receive reimbursement or utilize health spending account funds.

Final Verdict

Breastfeeding is such a personal journey that the service you choose will really need to be catered to your specific needs. We like the affordability and 24/7 support of Medela’s in-app option and the community spirit fostered by the mom-and-baby focused Over the Moon Parenting, but Nest Collaborative gets our pick for overall best online lactation consultants.

Nest Collaborative is a budget-friendly option that gets you a nearly hour-long consultation, works with most insurance companies, and helps you schedule a consultation as quickly as possible. We also love the Latch Lounge for expanding support for breastfeeding moms with a virtual group chat on in-demand parenting topics. 

Compare the Best Online Lactation Consultants

Company Price Support Group 24 Hour Support  Video  Consultations  Accepts Insurance 
Nest Collaborative Best Overall $79 for 50 minutes Yes No Yes Yes
the mama' hood Best on a Budget $125 for 60 minutes No No Yes No
Medela Best for 24-Hour Support $79.00 for a 1-month membership No Yes Yes No
Over the Moon Parenting Best for Virtual Support Groups $150 for 60 minutes Yes No Yes No
The Mama Nurse   Best for Prenatal Consultations $99 for 60 minutes No No Yes No
Nurture by NAPS Best for Pumping $125 for 30 minutes or  $250 for 90 minutes No No Yes No
Happy Babies, Healthy Moms Best for First Timers $250 for 90 minutes Yes No Yes Yes

What to Look for in an Online Lactation Consultant

It might seem daunting to decide on a lactation consultant virtually, when you don’t have the chance to get to know them at all in-person. But don’t worry: There are some basic things to look for and consider as you weigh your options.

  • Credentials: Make sure whoever you will be working with is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. These are professionals who have received extensive health training, completed rigorous coursework in breastfeeding education, and are certified in the clinical management of breastfeeding. In some cases, a CLC (certified lactation consultant) may also be appropriate, but you should avoid entering into lactation consultation with anyone who doesn’t have a certified health background in breastfeeding education.
  • Flexibility: If you’re contacting a lactation consultant, you probably need breastfeeding help ASAP. A consultant who is booked out for weeks won’t be much assistance; a company that can offer appointments within 24 to 48 hours, on average, is better suited to meet your needs.
  • Messaging and contact options: Whether you’re purchasing a 30-, 60-, or 90-minute session, it’s important to ask how you will be able to follow up with your consultant after the appointment. You will have questions: How will you be able to reach them? Can you email them? Hop on a phone call? Are these follow-ups unlimited, or will you be charged for each one?
  • HIPAA-compliance: Your medical information is private, and health providers are required to keep it that way. Make sure your consultant is using a safe and secure platform to meet with you and that they are conducting the appointment in a private location.
  • Qualifications: Beyond thinking about how much experience your consultant has providing breastfeeding education, consider if they are comfortable providing the kind of education you, personally, need. If a consultant is generally opposed to exclusive pumping but you know you’re going back to work soon, that may not be the best consultant for you. 

IBCLC vs. CLC

There is no license to practice lactation consultation, but there are certifications that qualify a person to provide breastfeeding management.

As noted, IBCLCs are the most widely recognized lactation professionals. They are existing medical professionals (often RNs) who are credentialed by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and receive health sciences education, lactation education, and clinical lactation experience. They must complete 90 hours of training and pass a certification exam. IBCLCs are held to high standards and must become recertified every five years.

A certified lactation consultant, or CLC, undergoes about 45 hours of breastfeeding education and training and also has to pass a certification exam (through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice). However, unlike IBCLCs, CLCs do not need any previous health education; in this way, they’re often better suited to supportive roles, assisting with less complicated medical cases, and educating new moms on the basics of breastfeeding. 

Lactation Consultants vs. Breastfeeding Classes

A breastfeeding class (taken in-person or online) is a great way to learn the basics of breastfeeding, like how breast milk nourishes your baby, how to get your baby to latch, and how to correctly implement a variety of feeding positions. Your class may be one-on-one or in a group setting, live or on-demand, and may even be a series of online videos or tutorials you can take at your own pace.

A lactation consultation, on the other, is an individualized troubleshooting session between only you and a certified professional (and, of course, a partner or family member if you choose). It’s the best way to address specific issues you are having with breastfeeding and receive customized support, instruction, and advice. It will take your unique personal circumstances into account—like what type of delivery you had and whether or not you’re pumping—and help you make a plan for breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant and want to learn more about breastfeeding in general, a breastfeeding class is a great place to start. Once you’ve had your baby, though, working your way through a class may be frustrating; you’re better off opting for a private consultation when you’re actually trying to feed a newborn. And, certainly, you can do both by taking a class during pregnancy and scheduling a consultation after delivery if you’re still struggling (most new moms need all the help they can get.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Worth Seeing an Online Lactation Consultant?

If you have a specific breastfeeding problem that you haven’t been able to resolve on your own or through your OBGYN or pediatrician, yes—a lactation consultant can zero in on exactly what isn’t quite working, give you tips for how to correct the problem, and offer much-needed encouragement and support.

The caveat here is that, obviously, an online lactation consultant can’t physically step in and help you correct improper positioning, diagnose a tongue-tie or latching problem quite as easily, or even weigh your baby before or after a feeding to see how much they ate. (Most of these problems can be creatively solved if your consultant has enough experience with online sessions, though.)

What Do Online Lactation Consultants Do? 

Most online consultants will schedule an appointment with you around the time your baby normally feeds so they can observe an entire feeding and identify any issues. The appointments last anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Either before or after the feeding, they will ask you a series of questions about your health, your baby’s health, your delivery, and your experience so far with breastfeeding. They will address and troubleshoot any challenges you’re facing with clear instructions for fixing existing problems, preventing new ones, and developing a strong and comfortable breastfeeding bond. Often, they will send you a customized plan based on your needs for you to follow for the next few days and then check back in to see how things are going.

How Much Does it Cost to Use an Online Lactation Consultant?

Price depends on how long the session being offered is and how comprehensive the services provided are, but generally it will cost between roughly $80 and $250 for a consultation (with basic, 30-minute sessions costing less and longer, more in-depth sessions costing more).

Are Lactation Consultants Covered by Insurance?

Insurance coverage depends on the company or consultant, your location, and your insurance. Some companies do directly cover these appointments, especially if you’re working with a provider in your area. If they don’t cover the cost upfront, most insurance companies will reimburse you for a lactation consultant appointment after the fact (but you’ll have to pay out-of-pocket first and submit paperwork to be reimbursed).

Whatever your consultant says about insurance coverage, make sure you independently verify it with your insurance company—and ask about any documentation needed for coverage or reimbursement—before having your appointment.


Methodology

When putting this list together, we looked at consultants with experience educating moms on breastfeeding both virtually and in person. We ensured they have a health background and arecertified as lactation consultants, either as IBCLCs or as a combination RN and CLC. We also chose consultants who offer a quick turnaround time on appointments, so you won’t have to wait weeks to get help. Though we couldn’t filter out consultants who don't accept insurance (as many don’t, unfortunately), we did keep cost in mind in case you need to pay out-of-pocket.

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