Lactation Management Training: From Novice to Expert

Lactation Education Resources Blog

Why an LC?
I read everything I could about breastfeeding before the birth of my first child. He would not nurse in the hospital, and I was told I was starving my baby. At one point he was brought to me and spit up formula, despite me having told them he was to be exclusively breastfed. My anger which I was unable to articulate at that time turned to research and study about breastfeeding. I nursed my son for a year. I’ve dedicated my professional career to breastfeeding women and their babies. It is great to see the progress that has been made.

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"My name is Maria. When I had my child 26 years ago, I had a little experience about breastfeeding since I was living in Cuba. When I came to the U.S in 2001, I was hired a year after, I'm start knowing how beneficial in breastfeeding a baby beyond a year, I felt regret that I couldn't do it. My reward was my daughter who I educated her while she was pregnant with her first baby. After knowing all the great benefits, she was determine to breastfeed and yeah she did for 19 mo. My grand baby has very strong immune system, smart and a bright girl. That's the reason that motivated me to dream to became Lactation Consultant and also be able to help my community."

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I have had the privilege of helping mothers and babies for approximately 28 years now. I always share with my Moms that the reason I most likely became an IBCLC is because of the bad experience I had with struggling to breastfeed my first child (now age 30). I was a young mom and although I had read about breastfeeding, I like so many other people believed breastfeeding is a natural thing - you just put the baby at the breast and it sucks. How hard can that be?

As a young mom in the hospital I was trying my best. My nipples were cracked and bleeding and as I was crying and trying to nurse my baby my nurse said, "You are starving that poor baby...give her a bottle.” As a result, we struggled for months with low supply. I was determined no other new mom should ever feel that way!

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For me, becoming an LC was a natural evolution. Growing up I only once saw a woman breastfeeding. Yet, coming of age in the time of Women's Liberation and starting as a Nurse Practitioner in a rural mountain community, it seemed the natural, healthy and right thing to do. I was blessed with two babies who latched on with ease and never gave me a minute's trouble until, when my second child was 17 months old, an abscess and surgery brought an abrupt, sorrowful end to breastfeeding. I had the pleasure of knowing, being assisted by and learning from a fabulous role model - Mary Rose Tully. There is nothing more rewarding than the joy on a Mom's face, and Dad's too, when together we solve a problem, Mom is no longer in pain, their baby eats with gusto and then looks deeply into Mom's eyes.

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In 1985, I was a La Leche League Leader of 11 years and knew that some mothers needed another level of care in addition to what I was providing. The development of IBLCE occurred as I was choosing to re-enter the work force. My life has been so enriched by the mothers I have helped, the support of my peers and the other professionals who accepted my expertise. I hope it will continue to evolve to the original plan: A stand-alone profession such as physical therapy or optometry, which can provide expert care unequaled by any other health care profession.

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