Happy IBCLC Day!
I am one fortunate woman! How lucky am I that I have the opportunity to work with moms and babies everyday, hopefully providing one tidbit of information that might make breastfeeding (and motherhood) a little bit easier? This is my job as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC.)
Many people wonder what I do all day. Personally, if I had to sum it up succinctly, I would say that I help empower women every day.
But, what else does an IBCLC do?
To celebrate IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) Day, I wanted to share many of the ways that IBCLCs can support and empower you to meet your personal breastfeeding goals. Many of these are ways that ALL breastfeeding supporters (breastfeeding counselors, local and online friends, family, healthcare practitioners, etc.) can guide you and be your cheerleader along your breastfeeding journey and others are ways that are unique to IBCLCs.
We love to support moms and babies during times of breastfeeding joy, as well as help you overcome breastfeeding challenges!
We want to help you meet your personal breastfeeding goals!
We want to empower you as a mother.... you are the expert of your baby!
We celebrate your breastfeeding successes, however you define them!
We offer evidence-based, clinical advice, as well as many of us bring a wealth of personal experience!
We provide a space for you to share your joys, concerns and everything in between about mothering and breastfeeding.
We attempt to educate about and hopefully remove societal barriers so that you can meet your personal breastfeeding goals!
IBCLCs can guide you when you are faced with really complicated breastfeeding situations (tongue-ties, low milk supply, oversupply, baby not latching, baby with poor weight gain, supplementing, etc.)
IBCLCs can be your advocate, if you need one when dealing with other health practitioners.
Here’s what some of my IBCLC colleagues had to say about how they help moms meet their personal breastfeeding goals:
Amber McCann, IBCLC at the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh: In my work, I try to always be mindful to affirm all that a mother knows already. Her instincts are often way more in sync with her baby than she thinks. Much too often, moms come to me and say "I don't know anything about how to be a mother" or "I'm doing everything wrong." If there is one thing I can do for her, I hope it is to look her square in the eye and say "You've got this!" I love walking along side of her while she gains confidence and trusts herself.
Jeanette McCulloch, IBCLC, and Principal at BirthSwell: I believe that when women have access to accurate, evidence-based information about breastfeeding, mothers make the choices that are right for themselves and their families. That's why I work to make sure women have easy access to affirming, accurate breastfeeding information. But all of the information in the world can't help if mothers don't have high-quality support and parental leave. That's why I also work on birth and breastfeeding policy, to ensure moms have a shot at reaching their goals.
Erica Charpentier, IBCLC : When I am working with a mom, I try to create a shame-free zone where she is free to explore whatever postpartum emotions she's experiencing - including the not-so-comfortable ones, like regret, disappointment, and anger - without having to worry about her feelings being minimized or judged. Having a place where she isn't afraid to tap into all of the feelings she's been holding inside can help the mom approach her breastfeeding concerns with less fear and anxiety.