2 Weeks until ILCA 2012! {Running the Conference Marathon}

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

I am getting to the point in my preparation for this summer’s ILCA Conference where I’m starting to feel the pressure…the pressure to start packing, to make sure I have all the business cards I need and to think through the details of my flight and lodging, food and fun activities.  The heat is on…and quite literally as my part of the United States has been under an incredible heat wave for the past week!

The conference is 5 days of non-stop action, networking, education and FUN.  Here are some great tips for “running the conference marathon” so we don’t lose endurance.

Stay Hydrated

Photo by RLHyde via Flickr Creative Commons

Looking at the projected forecast for conference week, the heat I’ve been getting used to will continue in Orlando.  Highs around 90F (32C)!  Even in a cool hotel, it will be important that we be aware of our hydration.  Just like we tell the mothers we serve, “Drink to thirst”.  You might consider tossing a reuseable water bottle into your suitcase so you’ll always have access without needing to purchase expensive bottled water.

Get your ZZZZZZZ’s

Photo by HaoJan via Flickr Creative Commons

Me with too little sleep = grumpy IBCLC.  I’m sure many of you are the same.  It will be incredibly tempting to stay up until all hours of the night (or awake before Mickey Mouse) to cram in every last moment of connecting with your colleagues.  One, even two nights of that can be overcome with adrenaline but quickly, our bodies will descend into a place where will start to not retain any of the wonderful information being shared with us.  Grab a late afternoon nap.  Recharge with a quick snooze.  Set a solid bedtime for yourself and STICK TO IT.

Make Time to Build Relationships

A wise IBCLC once said to me, “This can be a very lonely profession if we don’t support each other.”  One of the most significant parts of the career for me has been “finding my tribe”…those people with whom I share a connection, those that “get me”.  “Get” the constant breast references.  “Get” the never-ending concern for a mother we encountered.  “Get” the quest for one more tip or technique for that mother in pain.  The JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes will be teaming with your “tribe”.  Find them.  Strike up a conversation with the IBCLC seated next to you in the lobby.  Make a comment about a pin on someone’s nametag.  Ask a fellow passenger in the elevator where they are from and in what setting they practice.  Be bold and walk up to your favorite speaker and tell them what their session meant to you.

Try Something New

Photo by Lorenia via Flickr Creative Commons

Never tried sushi?  Do it!  Not so sure about taking a taxi? Do it!  Never volunteered at a major conference?  Do it!  Never used the Spanish you learned in high school?  Do it!  Never been to Disney World?  Do it! Never “hunted” an alligator?  Do it! Never worn a breastfeeding advocacy shirt? Do it! Never used Twitter? Do it! Never had a facial? Do it!  Make a memory at this year’s conference.

Get ready to run the conference marathon.

See you in two weeks!

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside of Washington, DC and the co-editor of this blog.  She is particularly interested in connecting with mothers through social media channels and teaching others in her profession to do the same.  In addition to her work here, she has written for a number of other breastfeeding support blogs including The Leaky Boob and Best for Babes and served on the Communications Team for GOLD Conference . She also is a regular contributor to The Boob Group, a weekly online radio program for breastfeeding moms.  When she’s not furiously composing tweets (follow her at @iamambermccann) or updating her Facebook page, she’s probably snuggling with one of her three children or watching terrible reality TV. 

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