t. (434) 282-2134


  • How soon can you help me?

    We make every effort to see you right away!  Usually we are in our office noon to 7pm.  Frequently we are also there working late hours… we will pick up if we are there, otherwise calls roll to a confidential voice mail… please clearly leave your phone number & a brief message…  we will call you back ASAP.  Normally urgent sessions are booked within 48 hours. We do see moms late day & on weekends.

  • Why might I need to hire a private practice lactation consultant?

    Frequently, in-hospital assistance is insufficient. Of course there are wonderful IBCLCs working in the hospital – but usually, during those busy first few days, you only see the IBCLC for at best a couple of 15 min sessions.

     Your own private practice IBCLC will have hours of time devoted to you.  You will spend more time with your IBCLC in one visit than you are allotted with your pediatrician in a year of well-baby visits!

  • What is usually included in an IBCLC visit?

    Visits include --  an observation of a feeding within your own environment, a truly detailed assessment of mom & baby, hints on technique, clear explanations of the rationale for any advice, and a care plan for your ongoing success.   We also review your diet, medication intake for compatibility with breastfeeding, baby’s weight & output history, and the family’s sleep patterns.

    There will be time for your & your partner’s questions.  And we communicate with your doctor if needed.

    We’ll discuss any concerns that arise…. latch discomfort, a clogged duct or mastitis, questions about going back to work while breastfeeding,  or for managing your milk supply,  … or eventually for weaning help.

    Really, any problem associated with breastfeeding is within our area of expertise, and can be addressed….

    Call if you are having any discomfort or concerns.

  • What about tongue tie?

    Are you familiar with this issue?

    Do you have contacts with local providers for tie releases?

    Ankyloglossia is our practice’s main sub-specialty.  We see multiple babies monthly with this concern.   Please call ASAP to get more information…. The earlier any tie is addressed the faster breastfeeding will be as it should be…. Comfortable for both mom & baby!

  • Do you take insurance?

    We are in-network with Aetna. Aetna clients have 6 allotted visits at no expense.

  • How much does a visit or class cost?

    Your own out of pocket cost depends on the insurance coverage you have purchased.  Please click Fees for complete details

  • How long is a normal visit?

    Most of our classes are 90 mins.  A lactation support visit averages about 2 hours.  We can give you a more precise time estimate on the phone when you make your appointment, based on your unique situation. We change by the visit, not by the hour… no clock watching during our time together!

  • Where is Joyful Start’s office ?

    The good news is … we come to you!  That’s right, our classes, massage sessions, and lactation support visits are all in the comfort of your own home.   Our nutrition consultations are also done at your connivance via Skype or FaceTime. New moms should not be forced to trek in to an office!

  • What areas do you serve?

    We primarily see clients in the Charlottesville, Harrisonburg & Central Virginia areas.  There is no travel fee if your location is within 30 miles of the University Of Virginia.  For visits along the 81 or 64 corridor our travel fee is 50cents a mile.    For long distance situations we offer Skype and FaceTime sessions.

  • How should I prepare for a home visit?

    Don’t clean house or bake cookies… we are not your guests! We will be coming to help you. Please click pre visit information for more details

  • There are so many lactation helpers….LC,  RLC, IBCLC, clc, LLL, WIC, OB, Peds…. It’s confusing, who is the real breastfeeding expert in this alphabet soup?

    There is only one status uniquely credentialed to offer professional assistance in supporting breastfeeding.   An IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) has the only professional level of lactation training.    She may also show her status using the RLC designation, for Registered Lactation Consultant.  LC is not a trademarked abbreviation, it means nothing.

    IBCLCs are required to have 1000 hours of mentored training and 90 college level class credits, plus they must re-certify by exam or by 75 hours of continuing education every 5 years.

    For more details about how IBCLCs differ from other helpers click these links:  IBCLE   ILCA.

  • What if my baby has special challenges?  Can a preemie or a sick baby breastfeed?

    Absolutely!  Joyful Start is staffed by IBCLCs with extensive intensive care NICU experience.  We specialize in helping babies challenged with unusual concerns.

  • I’m interested in a prenatal breastfeeding class – when should that occur?

    Sometimes babies decide to arrive early, so we advise moms not to cut things too close!  About 6-8 weeks before your due date is a good goal.

  • Does Joyful Start rent breast pumps?

    No. The Affordable Care Act has allowed most moms access to pumps. All except a few rare grandfathered insurance companies are mandated to cover pumps & pump supplies.   If you need a hospital grade pump, or help with a hand me down pump, we can offer suggestions for those special situations.