On March 7, 2012, International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) globally will celebrate their 11th official Annual IBCLC Day. The theme for this year’s celebration isIBCLCs Make an Impact and this powerful statement definitely rings true in my life.
Six and a half years ago, an amazing, gentle IBCLC entered my home and changed the course of my life forever. My son, Ben, was 4 days old. I had just returned home from the pediatrician’s office and breastfeeding was NOT going well at all. My fuller milk had not ‘come in’ yet. My nipples were completely torn to shreds. My son wanted to eat non-stop and my sanity had started to wane.
Then, enter Eve. Eve brought a scale, a bag of tricks, and a calmness that enveloped my entire home. She had a way about her that put everyone at ease, including my hungry baby boy. Within 90 minutes, Ben had latched (with the temporary help of a nipple shield), transferred 2oz (apparently my milk decided to perform for Eve, as well), and had happily fallen asleep on my chest. More than providing latching assistance, though, Eve helped me to feel more confident about myself as a new breastfeeding mother, which is what I needed more than anything.
Over the next few months, I would stop by Eve’s weekly breastfeeding support group, to ask breastfeeding/reflux questions, visit with other breastfeeding mothers, and get a quick dose of self-confidence. No matter what breastfeeding challenges I was facing at the time, Eve knew how to calm my fears and encourage me to trust my instincts. It was the best money I had ever spent.
As my milk supply started to dwindle when my son was about 5 months old, I don’t know why I didn’t think to contact Eve. In retrospect, I guess I didn’t think it was her job to support me past those first few months. These thoughts may have been quite ridiculous, but at the time made sense to me. My milk completely dried up when my son was 8 months old, which meant that I wasn’t able to meet my final breastfeeding goal of nursing past 1 year. I have always regretted not reaching out for help at that time; however, that was no fault of Eve’s.
Eve’s impact on my life has been boundless. As a nursing mother, she reinvigorated my self-confidence, which helped me to become a better parent. As a woman, she taught me the importance of supporting other women through the journey of motherhood. As a teacher, she taught me that listening can be more powerful than solving a problem. And as a business woman, she inspired me to change my profession so that I could offer similar caring postpartum support to new mothers.
Eve, my IBCLC, made an immeasurable impact on my life, and I will be forever grateful! My life is infinitely better and more fulfilling having met her.