Top-Rated Lactation Consultant Raleigh NC

Judgement-free, in-home support that empowers you to feed your baby with confidence, available across North Carolina’s Triangle region

Raleigh Lactation Consultant Support
Breastfeeding Guidance Raleigh NC
"

Feeding an infant is tough, and it often doesn’t come naturally. There’s no shame in asking for help and a lactation consult.

The biggest myth of breastfeeding is that when the baby comes, you’ll innately know what to do. We know that’s not true, and we’re here to help you navigate the new (and often really frustrating!) journey of feeding an infant.

We’re here to support you at every stage of the breastfeeding journey. Whether you’re facing challenges with breast/chestfeeding, curious about alternative feeding options, or just want to make sure you have a solid foundation for successful breastfeeding, we’re here to support your family. We can help with a wide variety of things, like choosing the right breast pump, ensuring a good latch, troubleshooting and increasing milk supply, utilizing bottle feeding, and fitting breastfeeding into your life if you’re headed back to work. We also understand that not all birthing parents identify as women or moms, and we aim to be inclusive our language around birth and new parenthood.

mother breastfeeding her child, lactation consultant helping mother breastfeed

Our lactation consultants are also non-diet registered dietitians. We offer non-judgemental, in-home support to make the feeding process easier.

While breast/chestfeeding is beautiful and natural, it’s not always easy. Babies grow so fast — sometimes it feels like as soon as you’ve figured them out, they’re in a totally different stage with a whole new set of problems. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time. 

Our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) are also Registered Dietitians (RDs). We’re trained in cultural humility, collaborative counseling, non-diet nutrition, and trauma-informed care. We provide shame-free, identity-affirming support to moms, birthing parents, and partners. Our goal is to empower you to make the best choices for your family.

Meet our top-rated lactation specialist in Raleigh, NC

Serena Hutchinson, MPH, RD, LDN, IBCLC

Serena Hutchinson (she/her) is a board-certified lactation consultant and registered dietitian nutritionist in Raleigh and Durham, NC. She offers in-home lactation visits to moms/birthing parents, babies, and families in the Triangle area, because she understands that breastfeeding is a holistic experience and it’s easiest to provide support to parents and babies in their home environment. She also offers virtual lactation and nutrition services. Her approach is compassionate, relational, and empathetic. Because Serena is trained in eating disorders as well, she’s a great resource for new parents who are looking for guidance but also struggling with disordered eating and body image.

  • Credentials: Registered Dietitian (RD), Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist (LDN) in North Carolina, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)

  • License number: L007181 (NC)

  • Education: Florida State University (Bachelor of Science Dietetics and Psychology), The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Master of Public Health in Nutrition), Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)

  • Specialty areas: Lactation/breastfeeding, pregnancy and postpartum nutrition, eating disorders

  • Years in practice: 2

Lactation support is great for overcoming feeding challenges, but it’s also helpful to have a consultation before giving birth.

During pregnancy (usually in the last trimester), a lactation consult can help remove some of the mystery around what will happen after you come home from the hospital. Scheduling an in-home visit before giving birth can help you feel more confident in how to breastfeed once the baby comes. Our lactation consultant can give some guidance on nutrition for the final trimester, and can even talk you through how to plan meals for the busy newborn phase.

Because our lactation consultants are also registered dietitians with extensive nutrition education, they can address any postpartum nutrition questions you have. We practice from an anti-diet, weight-inclusive lens, which means we support you in establishing a healthy relationship to food and your body without diets or intentional weight loss. We know that so much of the post-baby advice out there is loaded with body shame, and we aim to be a safe, body-positive space. Our goal is to help you establish a healthy relationship with food that you can sustain for life.

We work with anyone who’s struggling with or concerned about:

  • Milk supply issues

  • Positioning

  • Painful latch

  • Whether baby is getting enough

  • Nipple pain or damage

  • Finding and using the right breast pump

  • Engorgement or mastitis

  • Baby falling asleep at the breast

  • Potential tongue-tie

  • Baby gagging at the breast

  • Green stools

  • Baby experiencing GI discomfort

  • Pumping and proper flange size

  • Proper milk storing

  • Returning to work

  • Postpartum nutrition challenges for the birthing parent

How our Raleigh lactation services work

Step 1:

Request an appointment with our lactation consultant

Fill out our appointment request form with some information about yourself and what you need help with. We’ll send an email with more information and a booking link within 48 hours. We’ll also give you a call, since we know some people prefer scheduling over the phone.

Step 2:

Confirm your appointment, fill out the required paperwork, and verify your insurance benefits

Once you’ve booked an appointment, we’ll send you forms to fill out prior to your session. 

Before your first session, you’ll reach out to your insurance company to confirm your in-network benefits (if you have Blue Cross Blue Shield health insurance). If you don’t have a Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance plan, you’ll pay for the lactation consult on the day of the service. 

Step 3:

Have your initial lactation assessment or prenatal consult appointment

All of our lactation consultations will take place in your home. This helps our lactation consultant understand your environment, and helps you feel most comfortable.

If you haven’t yet given birth, your lactation will talk to you about what to expect and how to best prepare, including suggestions for what to buy or have ready for when your child arrives.

If you’ve already given birth, plan to breastfeed during the initial 90-minute session so that your lactation consultant can help troubleshoot and collaborate with you on solutions.

 Step 4:

Continue meeting regularly with your lactation consultant as needed

Sure, there are new parents out there who might need just one or two sessions to feel confident breastfeeding. But in our experience, most people need ongoing feeding support for at least a few months. Depending on your situation and your goals, your lactation consultant might suggest meeting weekly, bi-weekly, or at another regular frequency. You’ll leave each visit with more confidence, plus actionable strategies to practice in the meantime. You can also reach out to schedule as-needed appointments to address changes in milk supply or other challenges that come up.

Because your lactation consultant is also a dietitian, she can support you in your own relationship with food as well. (Note that we help clients nourish themselves confidently — we don’t promote weight loss or dieting.)

Lactation and breastfeeding support works best at home. We travel to addresses across the North Carolina triangle area: Raleigh, Durham, Hillsborough, Morrisville, Cary, Apex, Holly Springs, and Chapel Hill. 

Up to 60-minutes of roundtrip drive time is built into our driving convenience fee (included in the self-pay rate, and an additional $60 credit card charge for clients using insurance benefits). If your address requires more than 60 minutes of drive time from our Durham-based lactation consultant, the driving convenience fee may be higher. We’ll discuss this with you prior to your initial session. If you think your address is within a 30-minute (60-minute roundtrip) drive but isn’t in one of the places listed above, let us know and we’ll determine whether or not we can travel to you.

Fees and Insurance for our Raleigh Lactation Services

R

90-minute initial session (in-home): $260*

R

90-minute follow-up session (in-home): $240*

R

30 or 60-minute virtual follow-up: $80 or $140*

*These are discounted rate for clients paying out of pocket on the day of service. They are not the full rates billed to insurance plans. In-home rates include the  the driving convenience fee.

Many Blue Cross Blue Shield plans cover the full cost of nutrition counseling and lactation support that includes medical nutrition therapy. If you’re using insurance for lactation consulting, you are responsible for paying a $60 driving convenience fee for each appointment, which your insurance will not cover.

Please note that while our dietitians are in-network with Aetna, they do not cover lactation services offered by a dietitian or lactation consultant. (Aetna only covers lactation/breastfeeding support when done by a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner.) If you have an Aetna insurance plan, our lactation services are considered out-of-network and you will be responsible for the cost of the service.

To verify whether your insurance benefits cover our services, call the phone number on the back of your insurance card and use the script provided here.

Our dietitians are considered out-of-network providers for Cigna, United Healthcare, and other insurance plans. That means you’re responsible for payment at the time of service. We can send you a superbill to submit to your insurance company for possible reimbursement.

Check out the FAQ page for more about billing and reimbursement.

FAQs about working with a certified lactation consultant

What is the difference between a certified breastfeeding specialist and a lactation consultant?

International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) get more education and hands-on training than other types of breastfeeding specialists. IBCLCs are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners after completing at least 500 hours of supervised practice (working directly with new moms and parents, talking to parents who have just given birth, troubleshooting breastfeeding issues) and nearly 100 hours of lactation-specific education, then passing a rigorous exam. Many IBCLCs, including the ones at Ruby Oak Nutrition, spend time in hospitals working with mothers post-delivery. All of our lactation consultants are also registered dietitians, which means they have extensive knowledge of physiology, biochemistry, nutrition, and overall health.

A Certified Breastfeeding Specialist (CBS) has completed 54 hours of lactation-specific education and passed an exam. Unlike the IBCLC, there’s no clinical experience required to become a CBS. Many people with the CBS credential become IBCLCs later, once they’ve completed supervised practice hours and additional education.

Is it too late to see a lactation consultant?

The short answer is: As long as you’re feeding an infant, it’s not too late to see a lactation consultant. Ideally, we recommend that pregnant parents schedule a lactation visit in their third trimester. This gives them more confidence in what to expect when their child arrives.

That said, most people schedule their first visit when their baby is a newborn. If a mother is struggling to breastfeed, scheduling a lactation consult as soon as possible can be extremely helpful. We come directly to your house, so there’s no need to worry about traveling with your infant.

Although the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends starting to introduce solid food after 6 months, many mothers continue to breastfeed for up to 2 years in addition to solids. We can offer support and guidance on breastfeeding, baby-led weaning, and infant feeding during this time.

Is it worth seeing a lactation consultant?

Too often, new parents feel confused and alone in caring for their newborn baby — especially if things (like breastfeeding) don’t go according to plan. A lactation consultant can provide guidance and an outside perspective, which can take a huge amount of stress off.

Even if you’re feeling OK about breastfeeding, a working with a specialist can help you feel even more confident. You don’t know what you don’t know, as they say, and getting support from someone with breastfeeding expertise can fill in the gaps, especially for first-time parents.

Working with an IBCLC can make the newborn phase so much easier for both you and your baby.

Other resources for lactation and breastfeeding support

Triangle Lactation Consultants, Baby Settler, Carolina Lactation Consultants