Lactation Nation-An Interview with an IBCLC

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A mother breast feeding—a process that facilit...

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.

Cover of "The Womanly Art of Breastfeedin...

Cover via Amazon

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.

-Lauren

Common Breastfeeding Complications

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As much as I would like to tell a new Breastfeeding Mom that it’s going to be a breeze, that is not always the case. There may (and often many times are) hurdles you will have to overcome.

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breastfeeding (Photo credit: sdminor81)


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Some common complications include:
-Sore nipples
-Low Supply
-Engorgement
-Oversupply
-Plugged Ducts
-Mastitis
-Fungal Infections
– Nursing strikes
-Inverted or Flat nipples
-Health Problems or Special Situations
-Lack of Support

Now I know that list seems long and scary but don’t let it overwhelm you, as with most problems there are solutions. I will go through common fixes to some of these issues and provide resources for the ones I don’t cover.

Sore nipples can often times be soothed by using Lanolin or when you are done nursing express a little milk and rub it into the nipple and areola.Some ways to avoid the problem include making sure that your little one has a good latch and also avoid wearing bras that are too tight.

English: breast shell for breastfeeding mother...

English: breast shell for breastfeeding mothers: collects excess milk from idle breast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Engorgement can be really uncomfortable and can unfortunately lead to plugged milk ducts. Ways to resolved by feeding often and using cold compresses. To avoid engorgement problems be sure to get plenty of rest, get good nutrition and drink lots of fluids. If the problem persists you may need to see a lactation consultant.

If you feel you need to speak to or see a lactation consultant you can find one in your area by visiting the International Lactation Consultant Association website.

Lack of support from Family and Friends is unfortunately one of the most common problems mothers face. There are often groups you can join to interact with other breastfeeding mothers. Sometimes even your local WIC office has peer counselors to provide support.

If you are looking for a breastfeeding group there are La Leche League groups you can join. From there website you can also visit their Help pages, Mother to Mother Forums and even purchase books, nursing supplies and so much more.

As I’ve said before, there often times are problems you will encounter in your breastfeeding journey. Just listen to your heart, stick to your guns and remember that you are giving your baby the best. I have breastfed all four of my babies and it was worth it every time!

-Lauren

World Breastfeeding Week 2013

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Today marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week. The focus of this years campaign is peer counseling and supporting Breastfeeding women.

A lot of times instead of being met with support and acceptance, BFing moms are discouraged about their choice.

The objectives for this year’s campaign are as follows:
1. To draw attention to the importance of Peer Support in helping mothers to establish and sustain breastfeeding.
2. To inform people of the highly effective benefits of Peer Counselling, and unite efforts to expand peer counselling programmes.
3. To encourage breastfeeding supporters, regardless of thei r educat ional background, to step forward and be trained to support mothers and babies.
4. To identify local community support contacts for breastfeeding mothers, that women can go to for help and support after giving birth.
5. To call on governments and maternity facilities globally to actively implement the Ten Steps, in particular Step 10, to improve duration and rates of exclusive breastfeeding.

This week I will have various Breastfeeding related posts as well as a few giveaways. We’ll cover why breastfeeding is so invaluable, Common Breastfeeding Complications, Proper Latching and Holds, The whole nursing in public debacle, We’ll have an interview with a Lactation Consultant and we’ll even have a Beautiful Breastfed Baby photo contest.

I am super excited about our sponsored giveaway from Unravel Me. She will give one lucky Momma a Booby Beanie!!! I will also have other items up for grabs as well.

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This week will be slightly different as I won’t be doing all of my regular daily themes. So stay tuned, perhaps learn something new and participate in all the fun!

-Lauren