How long have you been a lactation consultant?
I sat for the exam to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2016. Prior to meeting the requirements to take the exam I had volunteered in the community leading breastfeeding support groups and helping moms one-on-one for over 5 years.
What is your goal for each mom?
My goal is to help her meet HER goal. Whether it is for 3 months, 6 or 12 and beyond...breastfeeding exclusively...exclusively pumping...a combination of the two or breastmilk feeding with formula...I want to meet mom where she is and help her get to where she wants her breastfeeding journey to take her.
What services do you provide?
My consultation includes gathering some health history from mom, discussing what the concerns are, observing a feeding and/or pumping session. I can weigh the baby on a scale I bring with me. I will share my observations with the parent(s) and offer recommendations. I follow-up by email with any other information I think might be helpful to their situation. I am available for questions pertaining to what we discussed at the consultation by email or phone.
What inspired you to make this your career choice?
My inspiration came from my personal struggles as a mom struggling with breastfeeding challenges. I had a difficult time with my firstborn and then found myself with an entirely new set of challenges with my fourth baby. I learned that even moms who've easily breastfed a previous baby (or babies!) could find herself facing challenges she never thought she'd face.
What is your education background?
I do not hold a college degree. I have completed the requirements for my certification which includes 14 health science courses and 90 hours of lactation education. I also attend conferences and workshops as often as possible to continue to learn and stay up-to-date on all things related to lactation. I like to think I am continually learning!
How many visits do your clients typically see you? Do you limit the amount of times you see one mom?
Most clients see me one or two times. As much as I love seeing clients, I also love knowing I was able to help them resolve the issues they were having without repeated visits. Some more complicated cases do require a few follow-up visits and I will see a mom as many times as I feel I can be of benefit to her and the family. I want to give the parent(s) the tools they need to feed their baby with confidence...if I can do that in one visit, great. But I want to be available as long as I'm needed.
How far do you travel?
Bibb and surrounding counties...so Monroe, Jones, Twiggs, Houston, Peach, and Crawford.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I absolutely LOVE seeing it all come together for a mom who was feeling overwhelmed or doubtful. When a mom gets her baby latched on and it feels comfortable, she can see baby drinking milk, hear baby swallowing, nursing doesn't hurt...that is when I feel I have done my job well. Mom and baby are the ones doing the work, if you want to call it that, but if I have been able to say something or show her something that is new to her and it makes all the difference in the world for that mom and baby...then I feel I accomplished what they called me for. I also love that every mother/baby/family is a unique experience.
What are the top 3 tips you have for moms who plan to breastfeed?
#1 Prepare before baby arrives! Read, gather your resources (books, trusted websites) and supportive people to surround you. #2 Learn how labor and birth interventions can impact breastfeeding. If you know, you can be prepared.
#3 Skin-to-skin!!!!! Baby skin-to-skin with mom or other parent if mom isn't able, as soon as possible and as much as possible. The benefits are huge for stabilizing baby and for helping mom to produce milk. Skin-to-skin on mother's chest is like home for a baby who has spent the first months of life inside the womb.
What is the one main thing you want moms to know about your service?
That I am here! Seriously...I want moms in Middle GA to know someone wants to help them. They do NOT have to struggle alone. Breastfeeding can be such an overwhelming and lonely experience if you don't have somewhere to turn for help.
When should a mom who is interested in your services reach out to you?
I LOVE meeting moms before baby arrives. I would love for every mother wanting to breastfeed to have a prenatal consultation or take a breastfeeding class somewhere. Many breastfeeding problems can be avoided by prenatal education. But when a mom first begins to THINK there might be a problem, I would encourage her to reach out for help somewhere. Little problems may not become bigger problems when addressed sooner rather than later.
What is your starting price?
My fee for an initial lactation consultation in the client's home is $150. Because every situation is as unique as the mother and baby, and babies aren't always predictable (they can't tell time) consultations vary in length. Most initial consultations take 90 minutes to 2 hours. Follow up visits related to the issue at the initial visit are $65.I also offer prenatal consultations for $120.
Do you come to the hospital or home visits only?
I mostly do home visits, but if a family asks me to come to the hospital, I will. Most families call me after they are home and breastfeeding isn't going well.
Where do you typically meet?
I do not have an office presently so I meet moms in their homes or another mutually agreed upon location. I once had a client driving from out of the area and we were able to meet at a local church.
In your opinion why should a mom who plans to breastfeed reach out to a consultant?
In my opinion, a mother who is concerned about a breastfeeding issue that is beyond the scope of a volunteer counselor should reach out to someone who is educated about lactation. She can start with the consultant(s) at her local hospital. If she wants personalized help in her home, I hope she would contact me.