Ever wondered what a Lactation Consultant (LC) does?
This is my official title and my qualification is International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or IBCLC. Every year the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) hold an exam all around the world. First of all, a candidate must have applied to sit this exam, showing proof of recent and up-to-date study as well as many hours of experience helping Mothers and babies. It is really tough to qualify but then you have to sit the exam which runs for 2-3 hours in the morning then another 2-3 hours in the afternoon. Phew, it sounds huge, complicated and difficult.- and it is all of those things. I studied really hard, even though I had years and years of experience working with Mums and babies. I had heard it wasn’t easy to pass the first time but I did and I’m really proud of myself.
As an IBCLC or LC for short, I help Mothers with breastfeeding their new babies. Sometimes these little ones are full term and sometimes they are very premature. There may be one baby or there might be two or three. The Mother might be experiencing pain or feel that she has inadequate supply. Baby might have sucking issues, tongue tie or be a bit overwhelmed by breathing and feeding at the same time. There are thousands of Mothers and babies and each dyad is unique, so not surprisingly, there can be an equal number of issues to do with breastfeeding and early Motherhood.
Apart from being qualified to help Mothers with breastfeeding I am also certified as an Infant and young child feeding therapist. I have studied with Kay Toomey from the USA who runs a huge food therapy clinic to help with all types feeding issues from birth to 18 years.
Many of the Mums I have worked with refer to me as the “baby whisperer” but I think I have just been taught really well by all of the babies I’ve cared for. My son passed away when he was 6 days old but that’s a story all of it’s own. I also have two grown daughters and I absolutely love being their Mother. I loved Motherhood from the first second and feel very blessed to have this relationship with my girls. My Mum died after my son – so she never got to meet my daughters. Another story to come later.
So, I suppose having always loved babies, it was inevitable that I would work with them. I considered being a school teacher or a child care worker and have even spent some time as a nanny. I was drawn to nursing though and worked mostly with babies during my hospital career. A few things happened which will be yet another story and here I am as an LC and loving it.
I really want to write lots of helpful articles about how to care for a new baby and a new Mum. I might even add some videos so it’s easy to see what I’m talking about. One thing’s for sure – I’ll never be bored and hopefully you won’t be either. Watch this space, there are great things to come.