Written by: Amber McCann, IBCLC, Owner of Nourish Breastfeeding Support
Lactation Matters is always looking for innovative and excellent IBCLCs to profile on our blog. Today, we are profiling Diana Jordan, an IBCLC working with the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh. She was nominated by her fellow practitioner, Ellen Rubin.
Ellen says, “I learned that her secrets to great lactation care were not only an exquisite skill in assessing the mother-child pair but also a special ability to communicate with women who were feeling very vulnerable as they dealt with breastfeeding issues. Mothers leave consults with Diana armed with new breastfeeding knowledge and also feeling valued and empowered.”
We are so honored to share this profile of Diana with you.
I began my career in lactation as a breastfeeding mother to my 2 daughters in the mid 1980′s. The help and support I received from La Leche League prompted me to become a group leader in 1987 and eventually held several area leadership positions for the organization. In 1990, the WIC program was in the beginning stages of developing a breastfeeding program. A friend, already an IBCLC, suggested I apply for one of the “breastfeeding doula” positions. I began working for the WIC Breastfeeding Program in 1991 where I did in-home consulting with mothers and babies under the supervision of an IBCLC. The program gradually took a turn towards hiring lactation consultants instead of peer counselors, so in 1996, I sat for the exam and became an IBCLC. I continued to work for WIC until 2008, when I took a position at The Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh.
In my current position, I do in-office consulting. Mothers schedule a consult and are seen by both an IBCLC and a physician, who is usually an IBCLC. After taking a thorough history, I observe a feeding with mother and baby, answer questions and address problems with latching, positioning, or any other part of the breastfeeding experience. I present my opinion of and solution for any problems to the physician who then does a physical exam of both mother and baby. I am available for any follow up consults or phone calls as needed by mother. On an average day I can see as many as 5 mother/baby dyads. I then chart in an Electronic Medical Records system and letters are sent to both mother’s and infant’s PCP.
The challenges I have working in this setting are the volume of mothers I may see in one day. It can be difficult to provide each mother with the amount of time she may need to meet not only the physical challenges she may be having but the emotional challenges. I try very hard not to just “fix” the problem but give mother the confidence she may need to successfully meet her goals, but I am limited in the time available to do this.
I feel very lucky to be working with Dr. Nancy Brent, IBCLC, the Medical Director. She provides the medical view that I haven’t had in my previous positions. She and I are able to work together to provide mothers with a complete consultation. Breastfeeding challenges or problems are addressed, prescriptions are written as needed, and tests or cultures are taken if necessary. It is a unique opportunity to meet the patients needs completely.
I would encourage all those working in the field of lactation to take advantage of all the opportunities we have available for continued education and networking. It is easy, in any profession, to get too comfortable in one’s knowledge base. The one thing I have found in my 16 yrs as an IBCLC is that there is always something to learn. Every mother and every baby have their own individual needs, problems, and solutions. With each consult comes an opportunity to learn and grow as a Lactation Consultant. I look forward to each lactation consult as I would a puzzle. You have to work with the pieces given to you and become a team player with mom, baby, and family to put the puzzle together.
I feel so fortunate to have traveled this road of an IBCLC. I never thought, when I struggled with nursing my first born, that my journey in life would lead me here. I am thankful to LLL for the support and help that was given to me with my early challenges, and give them credit for not only my becoming an IBCLC but for the support and respect given to me in my journey of mothering.