Written by Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, and Co-editor of Lactation Matters
Four and a half years ago, I attended my first International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) conference in Las Vegas. I was a lactation educator and had just enrolled in the University of California San Diego (UCSD) Lactation Consultant program, to start that upcoming fall. As a non-RN in San Diego, CA, I knew I would have to start my own private practice once I was board-certified, but had absolutely NO idea how I was going to accomplish that, or even where to begin. Glancing through the agenda, I stumbled upon the title: Special Interest Group: Lactation Consultants in Private Practice. Attending that session truly changed my life, both professionally and personally. It was there that I found camaraderie and first heard about the Lactation Consultant in Private Practice (LCinPP) workshop.
The LCinPP conference takes place every February in Philadelphia, PA. It was first started in 1988, by Kay Hoover and Chris Mulford, to provide support for the private practice lactation consultant. Over the past 24 years it has grown considerably, welcoming newcomers, advanced practitioners, and experts alike, from all over the world, to learn, discuss, and share about private practice life. And, wow, do these ladies know to have fun!
The 2012 LCinPP conference
An ecstatic buzz was in the air as the LCinPP conference began on Friday night. Old friends embraced as newcomers introduced themselves to one another. Shrieks of laughter could be heard throughout the atrium of the hotel. We eventually settled into ice breakers and the ever-popular slide show of photos of our offices, clinics, messy desks, and car trunks stuffed to the brim with in-home consultation supplies. We also enjoyed a beautiful cake honoring all we do for mothers and babies!
Saturday and Sunday’s agendas included an array of clinical sessions and ‘down and dirty’ private practice How-To’s. The list of speakers looked like a ‘Who’s Who’ in lactation: Catherine Watson Genna, Liz Brooks, Kay Hoover, and Diane Wiessinger to just name a few. We learned about the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington, an incredible community resource in Washington D.C., run by Pat Shelly. Diana Cassar-Uhl shared her knowledge about breastfeeding and hypoplasia. That is just to mention a few!
At lunch both days, some of us engaged in table conversations on topics such as electronic charting, starting a non-profit, and social media. Others shared stories with their colleagues and caught up with friends. Saturday night most of us ventured into the city to indulge in a bit of Philadelphia’s finest restaurants. Our group’s final stop was a candy store, called Shane Confectionary, which was intricately decorated like an old apothecary shop, lined with glass jars filled with every candy imaginable! It was so easy to stay true to our Nestle ban!
While the education and information shared at the LCinPP conference was top quality, the ONE thing that completely sets this conference apart from the others is its intimate nature. As a new IBCLC, I admit to being somewhat intimidated by the sages in our profession. I mean, what can I possibly offer to or share with them that they don’t already know? Amazingly, this is not the case, nor the feel, at LCinPP. Throughout the conference, you will find lactation consultants who have practiced for 20 years sitting next to and sharing stories with brand new IBCLCs. Experts in our field will spend an hour learning about Facebook from the newest social media guru in our practice. There is a sense that we are all here for the same reason: to learn from one another, both clinically and professionally , so that we can better serve the mothers and babies we see every day. And it’s never much of a surprise to see these ladies let loose and throw their bras around the conference room! I can’t wait to go back next February!