for IBCLCs

Business Advice for Private Practice Lactation Consultants: Rachel’s Toolkit Part 2

Today we’re going to talk about my supply kit for IBCLC home visits- the batch of supplies and tools that I bring along to visits.  I do primarily home visits in my private practice, so I need to keep everything with me in my car just in case I need it.

There’s nothing worse than working with a client and realizing the one tool you need (but almost never use) is sitting at home in a locked filing cabinet!

I’m always tweaking my supplies.  I’ll be honest, I like trying out tools and every time a new product comes on the market that I think my clients would use I have to resist the urge to buy five of them and hand them out for free. 

My home visit supply kit consists of three different bags/suitcases, all with different supplies and uses. 

And believe it or not, it’s taken me a lot of self-control to whittle my visit kit down to this small (ha!) list.

My supply kit for IBCLC home visits

Bag #1: My Visit Bag

This is my main visit bag that I bring into every consult, whether it’s a quick prenatal visit or a 2 hour long initial visit. 

I use a soft-sided, small roller bag meant for travel.  It’s small enough to fit under an airplane seat but large enough to fit papers and a clipboard.  Plus, it’s got lots of pockets inside and out so I never run out of places to stash small items. 

I bought this particular bag because it’s wide enough to fit my handouts folio, but there are lots of similar bags that would work.

Here’s what I keep in my visit bag:

Bag #2: My Scale Bag

supply kit for IBCLC home visits- my scale bag

When I purchased my scale I also bought the Tanita soft carrying case, but honestly, I hated it and sent it back.  Instead I purchased this 24″ hard case wheeled suitcase that can hold my scale plus extra supplies. 

I’m not madly in love with it because it’s bulky, but the scale is big so I don’t have a lot of choices.  This suitcase absolutely serves its’ purpose and has kept my fancy-schmancy scale safe and protected.

I don’t bring my scale in to every visit, but I keep it out in the car just in case.

Here’s what I keep in my scale bag:

Bag #3: My Car/Storage Bag

So my visit bag is the stuff I use the most often, and my scale bag holds the bigger stuff that I use frequently but not every time.

That’s not *all* my gear but some things just don’t need to be lugged into every consult.  I have a large shopping tote in the back of my van, and if I need any of these things during my visit I run outside to grab them.

supply kit for IBCLC home visits- shopping tote for supplies in the car

Here’s what I keep in my car bag, just in case:

  • Demo babies (known to everyone else as “baby dolls”)
  • Haakaa silicone pump (mostly used by parents as a drip catcher)
  • Pumpin’ Pals fitting set and other odd-sized flanges
  • Medela pump gauge
  • Bottles (on the very rare chance that the family doesn’t have any and we need to supplement)
  • Swaddle blankets (you never know when these will come in helpful)
  • Hospital grade pump and pump kit

What I *don't* have in my kit (but I should)

supply kit for IBCLC home visits

What don’t I have in my car that I should?  Here’s a short list of stuff I always think about when I’m on the road, but never when I’m home and can grab them…

I do know other IBCLCs who carry stuff like this with them at all times.  They’re smarter than I am.

  • A clean shirt
  • A sweater
  • A demo baby carrier
  • A rice sock or something like it that I can warm up during a visit
  • Ditto for disposable cold packs
  • Snacks for myself and bottled water
  • A boob wedge with a washable cover
  • A magic wand that instantly fixes all low milk supply, nipple damage, mastitis, and tongue ties and also cures gassiness, fussiness, and colic

So now you know what I bring with me… and what I should bring.  But remember when I said I love gadgets and tools?  I can’t promise that there won’t be additions to these lists by next week!

 

If you think of anything I missed, or there’s something you love carrying with you that I didn’t mention, drop me a comment below…

 

Please note: This blog post includes Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase items through Amazon after following my links above, I earn 4% of the purchase price.

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17 thoughts on “Business Advice for Private Practice Lactation Consultants: Rachel’s Toolkit Part 2

    1. Not really, Medihoney is just for healing and not for soothing/protection while feeding/comfort.

  1. This article is so helpful! I noticed the link for the Headlamp flashlight for oral exams is not correct – could you provide an updated link? I’m struggling to find one with good reviews. Thanks!

  2. If you use a nipple shield, haaka, or bottle with a client, is that the end of it for you and you give it to them or toss or can you sterilize it and reuse?

    1. I give it to them, for free (technically as part of what they paid for the consult). I pay retail price for these supplies and consider it a cost of doing business. No sales taxes to collect!

  3. Hi Rachel,
    Question. I’d love to bring an SNS with me, medihoney samples, silverettes (I choose then every time over the hydrogels, personally), but I’m scared of the prospect of being seen as endorsing these specific brands. Yes, I feel it’s necessary, but I don’t know to what extent that is risky. And then if I use a specific bottle to do a paced feeding demo..m sigh, it’s a bloody minefield and lots of online discussion recently has me freaked. Can you help me tease that out?

    1. This is a REALLY good question and as with most of these I look to Liz Brooks… I am too lazy to go grab her book at the moment but I believe she says we are allowed to speak with any family one-on-one about ANY product. Furthermore if don’t have a financial interest in that item (meaning you paid full value for the product and it wasn’t given to you by the company as a sample, or you aren’t getting some sort of financial reward from the company for providing it to your client) then you’re clear. I really do understand what you’re saying, though. This is how I handle it personally and try to avoid conflict of interest as much as possible:
      1) I buy the item at retail price (i.e. not wholesale or a freebie to me) and
      2) I provide it to the client for “free” as part of their visit fee or I charge them the same as I paid for it

  4. If one is just starting out and maybe can’t afford the fancy scale, is there another option? What would be the MUST haves to take to a consultation and what can we save up for for future visits? Thanks

    1. There are many arguments about scales. This scale is pretty cheap compared to the $2,500 scale many IBCLCs use. Personally, I think a very sensitive baby scale is important but other IBCLCs think that this kind of sensitivity isn’t needed because if a baby isn’t eating enough .2 grams isn’t going to make the difference.

      1. The scale you have listed on your website is no longer available. Do you have a suggestion for a different scale? The Tanita scale that is the most sensitive (measures in 2 gram increments versus 10) is over $800 but I’m not sure if this is the equivalent to the one you use.

        1. Hi! The scale I use isn’t on Amazon right now (I’ve updated the links in the post, thanks) but you can buy it directly from the manufacturer. The one you mention is likely the one I have, BD-150 and it’s worth the money. I find it very important to have a super sensitive scale, especially when I’m seeing babies on day 2 or 3 of life and milk isn’t fully in yet!

    1. Hey Leah :*

      It’s a set of the 5 Mamivac nipple shield sizes- Cherry in 18mm & 22 mm, and conical in 18mm, 20mm & 28mm. I use the set to eyeball which size to use and to see if the 28mm might help people with nipples too large for the standard 24mm Medela shields.

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