Lactation Matters is in the midst of a series of blog posts, from now until July when the 2013 exam to certify IBCLCs is given. As we seek to increase access to the services of IBCLCs, cheering on those who are taking up the challenge should be celebrated! If you are a 2013 exam hopeful and would like to share a bit with us about what inspired you to become an IBCLC, please email us at email@example.com.
My name is Jodi Fan and I am a La Leche League Leader in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois. When I was working as a small animal veterinarian in 2002, I got pregnant with my first little bundle of joy. I knew right from the start that I wanted to breastfeed. Nothing seemed more natural or perfect to me — providing my baby with everything he would need to thrive and being able to form that special bond with him through nursing. I read all the breastfeeding books that were available, took breastfeeding courses at my local hospital, and felt very prepared and confident all throughout my pregnancy.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that although breastfeeding truly IS the most natural way to feed a baby, it doesn’t always come naturally to a mother/baby dyad. There can be a pretty steep learning curve and unanticipated difficulties, no matter how prepared a mother-to-be is. When I gave birth in 2003, I experienced many difficulties with breastfeeding. From latch problems to thrush, plugged ducts and mastitis, nothing seemed to be working out as easily as I had expected it would. Feeling alone and ready to throw in the towel, coupled with not being able to find the help and guidance I felt I needed, I vowed that if I could make it through this, I would do everything possible to provide caring support for women whose goal it was to breastfeed their babies.
I finished my training to become an accredited La Leche League Leader, and three breastfed baby boys later, I am registered to sit for the IBLCE boards in 2013! I believe that every mother (and her family) deserves breastfeeding support, guidance and education both prenatally and postpartum in order to successfully deal with those “bumps in the road” that might make it challenging to experience the pure joy that is breastfeeding.