How I Began and Where I’m Headed
Since I was a little girl, I was always enthused about becoming a mother. I used to dream about having a baby for as long as I can remember. I started baby-sitting babies when I was very young, had siblings, and was always connected to my maternal instincts. UNTIL I had my own baby 15 years ago. I thought I should be a natural. Well, like many mothers, I soon realized there is a difference between my dreams of being a mother and the reality of being a mother. I reached out to family and friends for support. I was grateful for whatever support that was given. Often though, I still didn't receive the information I needed to help me with my baby - such as breastfeeding with cracked nipples, how to supplement, how to pump, helping a baby learn to nap/sleep etc.
Fast forward 4 years and I started an amazing career in public health in the family health department. This is where is learned "where I went wrong" (lol) and how to help families during their child rearing years. I learned about pregnancy, birthing, postpartum period, attachment, feeding your baby at breast, feeding your baby formula and breast milk supplements, infant growth and development, becoming a parent, and positive parenting strategies. I spent almost 8 years sharing with our local community knowledge and skill on various topics related to the child rearing years. I spend numerous hours in our community in homes, clinics, the bedside and group classes. I loved it so very much.
Now fast forward to 2014 when I was blessed with my next child. Oh I was so excited to apply all that I had learned!!!! Well, of course my little one (who was not so little), came into this world with anatomical challenges with latching and thus, I struggled with feeding him. I used the breastfeeding support in our community but this little guy had a clinical issue not seen too often. Our community had very little speciality resources for lactation so I reached out to La Leche League, and with the information they shared and my skills learned thus far with breastfeeding, I was able to manage through the difficult times and successfully feed him for 18 months. It was during those challenging moments when I decided that as soon as maternity leave was over, I would take on the adventure of becoming a skillful and specialized clinical lactation consultant. After many hours in the books and further hours at the bedside, in homes, and in the clinic, I wrote my IBCLC exam and passed! Woot woot!
I started the fun adventure of building a private practice and connecting with more partners in our community. I took a leap and gained more skill and knowledge by immersing myself at the bedside by taking a part-time job on the maternity unit. This gave me intimate knowledge of families experiences immediately after birth.
Missing community work and struggling with the hours of a shift worker with a family at home, I returned to the community. Happily I work as a community nurse now. All the while, I offer our local community, and the surrounding areas, breastfeeding support, education, and clinical lactation assessments to help families provide their baby the amazing breast milk. I mentor students when I can and consult for other health care professionals as needed.
Update to my plan: I retired the IBCLC certification as I am able to provide the same level of care and clinical expertise as a breastfeeding clinical nurse specialist.
I want families to know that I value all family's choices. Some families start with breastfeeding their baby and change for various reasons to a breast milk substitute. I am non-judgemental and support all informed decisions. I can help you feed your infant any which way that suits you all best!
I look forward to building my practice to further provide services to our city but also plan to grow bigger and offer families services remotely to ensure that all families have access to quality lactation assessments and breastfeeding support.