When I meet someone for the first time and they ask what my profession is, I usually receive a raised eyebrow when I tell him/her that I am a lactation consultant. This raised eyebrow is typically followed by either, “What type of consultant?” or “Wow, I could have used you when I had my kids (followed by a 5 minute soliloquy of her breastfeeding challenges),” or “Well, why would someone need a lactation consultant? Isn’t breastfeeding easy?” As lactation consultants, we are often working on our own or with other health professionals who don’t truly appreciate all we do for mothers and their families. We don’t just help mothers breastfeed….we nurture a mother’s self-confidence as she enters the full-time profession of motherhood.
To be a successful lactation consultant does not mean that we make a ton of money (wouldn’t that be nice???) Instead it means that we provide gentle, emotional (and breastfeeding!) support to those families who need it the most. But where do we receive our support? Sure, we attend professional development seminars and workshops. We might network with colleagues. We might volunteer at our local county breastfeeding coalition. All in all, we could use more support, just like our moms.
In answer to our need for support, we would like to introduce ILCA’s newest support system: Lactation Matters, the official blog of the International Lactation Consultant Association. In this blog, you will hear from authors about their latest research, in 600 words or less! You will learn tips from colleagues who are setting up outpatient clinics, non-profit organizations, and private practices. You will be exposed to international news about breastfeeding from around the world. All of our articles will be focused on supporting lactation consultants and breastfeeding professionals with pertinent research, tools and tricks of the trade, and global movements in breastfeeding promotion. It serves as the perfect complement to ILCA’s monthly member newsletter, e-Globe. Lactation Matters will help us take one more step to meeting ILCA’s vision and mission: Our vision is a worldwide network of lactation professionals. Our mission is to advance the profession of lactation consulting worldwide through leadership, advocacy, professional development, and research.
We look forward to sharing our knowledge and experiences with you. We hope that it will nurture your education and self-confidence as a health-care professional and lactation consultant. We also hope it will inspire you to share your knowledge and experiences with us as well! If you find an article that you feel your colleagues would benefit from, please link to it from your Facebook page or Twitter account and add comments to the bottom of the blog to keep the conversation going. If you are interested in submitting an article to Lactation Matters, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Lactation Matters Editor, Owner San Diego Breastfeeding Center
Decalie Brown, RN, CM, CFHN, IBCLC, ILCA Director of Marketing