Lactation Management Training: From Novice to Expert

Lactation Education Resources Blog

In memoriam Barbara Lawson Boston RN WHNP IBCLC

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Some people you encounter for a day, others you remember for a few months, and others influence you for a lifetime.  I have been blogging recently about “making change” in your own practice and in your institution, “leaning in” to your career, and “finding a way” to accomplish things even though the odds may not be in your favor.  All of those things Barbara did daily in her practice as a lactation consultant, a woman's health nurse practitioner and integrative medicine specialist.   She was always up to date on the latest research, willing to go the extra 10 miles for her patients and had a cheerful word for everyone.

Those of us who worked at Georgetown University Hospital in the Lactation Center and Milk Bank in the 1990’s formed a special bond: Barbara Boston, Silvia Ochs, Karen Rechnitzer,  Maire Hewitt and I.   Though none of us are still working at Georgetown, we have worked together in various configurations at several local hospitals and lactation centers.  Some of us have moved away and come back during the intervening years.  But our group endured.  When Barbara lived in Switzerland or Denver, she always returned to speak at the Lactation Consultant Training Program.

Perhaps many of you reading this remember Barbara and her lectures on sexuality.  Always funny and always right on point with a deep understanding of the impact on the family.  Thank you, Barbara, for all you have given to everyone you have influenced.

Barbara died April 28 after more than a year of cancer treatments.


Vergie Hughes has a long history of experience in Maternal Child Health including labor and delivery, post-partum and pediatrics, and for the past 25 years she has been involved in lactation management. Ms. Hughes has a BSN from Pacific Lutheran University and a MS from Georgetown University. She has been a board certified lactation consultant since 1985. At Georgetown University Hospital, she was the director of the Human Milk Bank. She created and developed the National Capitol Lactation Center and the one week Lactation Consultant Training Program. This course has trained more than 4,000 Lactation Consultants since its inception in 1990.

She has been a private practice lactation consultant and business owner, and operated her own lactation center, Washington’s Families First. Lactation Education Resources On-Line is her website, offering training to professionals and information to parents as well. Ms. Hughes has served on the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and has served on the IBLCE exam writing committee. Her first love is teaching and that is exemplified by the creativity of the courses she has developed. A series of courses “The In-patient Breastfeeding Specialist,” "The Out-patient Breastfeeding Specialist” and “The NICU Breastfeeding Specialist” are all designed to advance the lactation management skills of nurses at the bedside. She regularly teaches skills to labor and delivery nurses and just recently developed the course “Towards Exclusive Breastfeeding.”

Ms. Hughes is the program director and content manager for all of the on-line Lactation Education Resources courses. Ms. Hughes was recently honored with a “lifetime achievement award” as Fellow of the International Lactation Consultant Association (FILCA).


  • Guest
    Lynnette Tuesday, 29 April 2014

    I only worked with Barbara a handful of times as an intern, but I immediately saw her as someone who could teach me a lot. She didn't pull any punches and watching her work with mothers was an inspiration to me. I will strive to honor her legacy by practicing the things she taught me.

  • Sharon Gough
    Sharon Gough Wednesday, 30 April 2014

    So sorry to hear this. I remember Barbara from the Georgetown days and probably saw her at a few conferences. Well done good and faithful servant......of moms and babies.

  • Guest
    Nancy Sherwood Thursday, 01 May 2014

    Barbara "met" through correspondence when we were both in administrative jobs with La Leche League International. She was living in the Philippines and I was living in Taiwan. This was in the late 1980s. When my fifth child was born prematurely, Barbara was one of the team of Lactation Consultants who helped me- and that is how we met in person for the first time.

    I am so sorry to hear of her death. Barbara left the world a better place!

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Guest Sunday, 29 November 2020