Today on March 2, 2016 I am celebrating IBCLC Day. There are many specialties in the lactation world that can help every mother meet her infant feeding goals. My infant feeding practice is rather unique, as I consult all over the world to help with complex infant feeding challenges, and the majority of my consultation work is provided as a courtesy as most mothers cannot afford lactation consultation fees.
Any fees I do collect are donated directly to infant feeding programs. As a registered nurse working in the NICU, I was trained and educated with science and was part of a kick-ass team of experts caring for at-risk babies every day. Naturally, I carry this expertise over into my practice on a daily basis. I would like to share with everyone just how difficult infant feeding can be and proudly say, we meet these challenges head on and win. Sadly, there are too few resources in the community like those which I provide.
This is a picture of me working in the NICU. This baby was a 30 week preemie. Our NICU was very pro-breastfeeding, thanks to our IBCLC who was awesome. We would place expressed colostrum drops on the buccal mucosa (inside the cheek) for early antibody absorption, years before the BFHI was implemented. Breastfeeding support was critical for new mothers, and yes we did that too – like a boss. I can remember countless times talking moms “off the ledge” of wanting to quit pumping, while they were pumping in the NICU pump room. I developed a preemie pumping plan that would allow moms to sleep for 5 solid hours so that they could function safely, maintain their supply, and minimize the anxiety and depression that results from lack of sleep. I still use this protocol today in the home setting. I also take care of formula feeding, combo feeding and tube feeding babies – A LOT! Many of these babies have complex medical conditions as well.
In my local community, I collaborate with pediatricians, pediatric immunologists, pediatric gastroenterologists, pediatric ENT’s, neonatologists, speech language pathologists, early intervention, registered dietitians, breast surgeons, obstetricians, pediatric surgeons, physical therapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, pharmacists and countless other resources in order to provide the best medical care, to support a mother in order to feed her baby.
I often give talks to local churches, the YWCA and medical offices about “What to expect during the first 2 weeks of breastfeeding, formula/bottle feeding and special needs babies”. I offer a course for working moms to help them prepare with going back to work while breastfeeding.
I will share a few pictures of babies I have consulted with and provided science, experience, unrelenting, shame-free support – with a good dose of humble pie – and a few laughs to lighten the mood.