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A mother breast feeding—a process that facilitates mother–infant bonding. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I have been thinking a lot lately about what I am going to do with myself when all of my babies are in school and Lactation Care keeps popping into my head. So I thought to myself what better way to learn about the field than to interview a Lactation Consultant. I searched for one in my area that I could possibly speak to face to face but to my surprise the closest to me is in Kansas so I picked up the phone and gave her a ring. So Melody Ward IBCLC, RLC and I had a very loud and chaotic (thanks to my littles) phone interview. She owns a private practice breastfeeding consultation service called Angel Baby Breastfeeding Solutions. She was so unbelievably patient as throughout my first formal interview attempt our conversation was interrupted with snack dilemmas, playful screaming and my own nurslings need for Momma.
I asked her many questions that were met with an incredible wealth of personal and professional knowledge.
She found her love for breastfeeding way before she had children of her own. She is one of six children all of which her mother breastfed, something very uncommon in the fifties and sixties. Her two youngest siblings were born premature and spent the first month of their lives in the hospital. She observed her mother pumping and storing milk at home therefore exposing her to various breast pumps and really normalizing that this is how mothers feed their babies. She remembers her mother saying that nursing for the two youngest was especially important because they were born so early. When the babies came home she would her mother nurse by bringing her one baby and when that baby was latched bringing her the next.
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Her next encounter with breastfeeding was later in life when her sister lent her the book “The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding“. At the time she was not yet a Mom but that book plus having observed many women in her family breastfeeding set in motion a love for nursing and she said it was then she made the decision that she would breastfeed her own children. When she did have her first child, she unfortunately did not have much support. She lived far from any family and her child’s father was not completely on board with breastfeeding.
So she seeked out her local La Leche Group and there she found what support she needed. She says that she feels she never would have gotten as far as she did if it were not for the support she found within that group. Ultimately it was her La Leche leader who approached her about becoming a leader herself. After she completed that she moved on to receive her certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and has kept her certification since.
She has worked in various positions dealing with breastfeeding mothers and at each she has interacted with them differently. In her current practice she says she finds that she deals with moms on more of an electronic level but would like to emphasize that it really is beneficial to meet face to face so that she can observe a feeding making it easier to really pinpoint any issues Mom and Baby might be having.
I also asked her what is the most common hurdle new nursing mothers have to overcome and she said that two that she comes in contact with the most are sore nipples and the concern that perhaps they are not making enough milk to satisfy their baby. She stated that a lack of support also ranks pretty high up there as well. That is where she comes in, she offers support to nursing moms, truly making herself available whenever needed. Her clients can contact her by phone, text, email and also on her Facebook page. She also offers educational resources via pre-natal classes and back to work classes.
Lastly I asked her what her favorite part of her job is. Holding babies ranks pretty high up there as does seeing a mom reach her breastfeeding goals. It was truly a pleasure talking to Melody and I really learned quite a bit about the professional avenue that I am considering in life.