World Breastfeeding Week kicks off Friday, August 1st. Please help us celebrate by joining in! Read on to learn about our plans for this year.
“I loved having [my IBCLC’s] support just a phone call away! It took the stress out of breastfeeding. She was always available to problem solve small and large issues. Sometimes I just needed reassurance that I was on the right track. I felt like I was able to avoid any major issues by having her as part of my team.” – Lara L, Mother to Lincoln & Felix
“IBCLCs are an essential part of the infant feeding team — quarterback, goalie, coach, doesn’t matter. A large portion of my practice is infants with feeding problems, and many babies come to me as a result of referrals from IBCLCs, and I refer right back to them for continued support, skills acquisition, help with pumping plans, transitioning away from feeding tools and towards the breast, or towards successful integration of feeding tools. They’re the breastfeeding experts and we are so lucky to have thorough, compassionate IBCLCs in our community supporting our families.” – Dr. Elias Kass, Seattle, Washington, US
Breastfeeding is a ‘team’ process: parents and babies form the core of the team, with family, friends, and others serving as team members, coaches, cheerleaders, and fans. Parents have goals for breastfeeding and need the help and support of the whole team to achieve those goals.
As with a sports game, there can be small successes and setbacks through the course of a family’s breastfeeding experience, though striving all the time to win. The 2014 World Breastfeeding Week theme, “Breastfeeding: A Winning Goal – For Life!” celebrates the team effort needed to make breastfeeding easier.
This year’s theme also recognizes that there can be many teams supporting breastfeeding, including health care clinics, birthing facilities, child care providers, and employers. Uniting the efforts of all of these teams across the local or regional landscape to form Team Breastfeed can help everyone succeed with their goals.
To honor World Breastfeeding Week, we want to highlight the IBCLCs that have earned their MVPs (Most Valuable Players!) by helping families reach their breastfeeding goals. We are asking families and colleagues to recap their victories – big and small – and how their breastfeeding team worked together.
Because we want to make sure the IBCLC members of Team Breastfeed have the tools they need to the best possible players, we’ll pick one story at random to celebrate. The family will receive WBW swag – like a Team Breastfeed water bottle and bib – and the helper will receive a one year membership to ILCA, which includes critical tools for providing evidence-based care, including access to the Journal of Human Lactation, discounted access to webinars on the latest research and care, and a listing in the ILCA Find a Lactation Consultant Tool (for IBCLCs in good standing).
WABA also offers another way you can show your support for breastfeeding: The World Breastfeeding Week comes on the heels of the World Cup held in Brazil, the soccer games that united the world for the love of the “beautiful game”. World Breastfeeding Week is a call to action for breastfeeding as “a winning goal for life”. ILCA’s new vision statement released on July 24th. It now reads, “World Health transformed through breastfeeding and skilled lactation care”. Lactation consultants around the world are transforming world health by helping families build a solid foundation for maternal and child health, gender equality and sustainable health care. Lactation Consultants can take a leadership role in World Breastfeeding Week by initiating public and media events for breastfeeding women in their communities. Connecting with WABA about these events and becoming a WABA endorser are ways that we can unite the world for the love of breastfeeding at the ILCA conference verifies the impact of breastfeeding on health.
Share your story in the comments below! The winning entry will be picked on the last day of World Breastfeeding Week, August 7th.
My IBCLC Breastfeeding Team starts with my aunt Pearl Shifer, who was an LLLL & IBCLC when I was a girl watching my mom breastfeed my siblings. My aunt suggested flipping up my oldest baby’s lip for a better latch…which I remembered with baby #3, who was a pleasure to breastfeed from day 1.
Baby #3 has breastfed more than twice as long as my older kids thanks to the support of so many IBCLCs. He was born in 2010, the year The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was updated by LLLLs and IBCLCs Diane Wiessinger, Diana West, and Teresa Pitman. I loved the concepts and support and perspective, so I found the nearest LLL group, led by Jen Leopold, IBCLC and Paula Utilla, IBCLC. Jen & Paula shared so much information and so many breastfeeding resource books for moms (like Breastfeeding Made Simple by Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, and The Ultimate Book of Breastfeeding Answers Dr. Jack Newman, IBCLC) that I was inspired to help more than my circle of friends and family. I became an LLLL when baby was 19 months old and a CLC when he was almost 4, and I’m thrilled to be a member of so many moms’ Breastfeeding Team.
I struggled for weeks to breastfeed my first daughter. Everyone around me told me to give up, but I was blessed to find Molly, my lactation consultant. She talked me through and with a few reassuring words I was able to successfully breastfeed until my daughter self weaned right at her first birthday. Four years later when I gave birth to triplets everyone told me I would most likely not be able to breastfeed them all. I pumped for months while they thrived in the NICU and soon after they came home I tried to get them all to the breast. I almost started to believe that I couldn’t do it so I reached out to Molly once again. She was right there guiding me with her words of encouragement through phone calls and messages. She sat by my side as I attempted to feed each one and by the end of the week my pump was packed up and the bottles were put away. I have now been breastfeeding all three babies exclusively for the last four months and I am hoping to continue until they are ready. I am forever grateful to this wonderful woman for giving me this gift. I feel truly blessed to be able to have this wonderful bond with all four of my children. Breastfeeding has been such an empowering experience to me, an experience that I never would have known had it not been for her amazing help.
There is no way I would still be nursing my twins without the help of 2 amazing IBCLCs. I worked with June Walker as well as Dee Kieth during my first weeks with the babies as a breastfeeding trio. We encountered and overcame tounge and lip ties, latch problems, breast rejection among other things. But with their encouragement and expertise we were able to sail through it all to smoother waters. At a time when I was sleep deprived and overwhelmed- their kindness and care enabled me to achieve an incredibly important goal. Now I am able to give my babies one of the best gifts I can give them during these precious first months of life- a firm foundation of health through the best food possible, and an intimate emotionally nourishing bond through the nursing relationship we have created.
Many many thanks June and Dee for your time and patience. It meant more then words can express.
It was a please to be able to work with your lovely family Rebecca.
My good friend and colleague Ann Schuchardt (IBCLC) was always just a txt away! After having a repeat c/s and delayed onset milk production, a couple of bouts if thrush, posterior tongue tie with poor latch…we went on to EBF for 20 months! It wasn’t easy and without her support and my awesome husband I wouldn’t have made it through that first week for sure! I also have to credit her for getting me into lactation and encouraging me to become an IBCLC also! She really encouraged me to follow my passion to help other mothers and be an example for my daughter and son!
My BFF and fellow IBCLC Ashlie Arbuckle was there for me through my labor, birth and at home throughout the newborn period. Even as an IBCLC I still needed help and encouragement. Especially as I dealt with PPD and anxiety. I am forever greatful for her love and support.
I had a breast surgery ten years before having my baby and that has caused some problems with my milk production. Everybody suggested us to leave breastfeeding and go to artificial milk, including my doctor and other professionals we contacted. We considered, as a last option, to go to a IBCLC. Here in Valencia there is only one place (http://www.laclinicadelalactancia.es). We realized very quickly that we should have gone at the very first time. Laura encouraged me in a very realistic way. Using the NSS and trying all her advices, I can say, after four months, that I keep breastfeeding my baby. Laura has been key in this process, she made me know what was exactly the problem and how I could avoid it or, at least, not making it worse. She made me feel I could do it, she made me know my baby. Breastfeeding is the most wonderful thing I have done besides having my baby.
We four are a winner team: your husband looking for more and more breastfeeding info found me at the web, your persistance at pumping and NSS and of course your pretty little girl breastfeeding as much as she can.
Family support and my professional assistance have been the keys to give back your confidence and make you stronger.
Congratulations for keeping on despite the issues!
You are the winner of our World Breastfeeding Week contest! Could you email me privately with:
your contact information (for next year’s membership!) and the contact information for the family who shared your story (so we can pass along the breastfeeding swag)?
Thank you for sharing and for being a part of our contest! My email is email@example.com.
I am very thankful for the LC at the NICU in the hosp my twins were born. Being a mom to 9 kids 6 at that time had been successfully nursed, I knew I could nurse twins. My GP was concerned I could not and refered me to a Pedi. She flat out said my babies needed formua or I could “try”and nurse the bigger baby. The LC totally stood by me as my babies gained 2xs the recommended weight each week. I was so stressed and the Ped even called in preventive services bc I chose to BF both babies no formula. Everyone wanted the babies on fomula except me and the LC. It was that support from the LC that meant so much. Even though I did not need “help” with feeding itself, the support to keep going when I felt the world against me was incredible. She even called the providers and informed them I was doing great! She encouraged them to stand behind me and help, not make things harder. She was a wealth of information and was able to inform my GP about what was needed to successfully keep us nursing.
After having difficulties making enough milk for my 1st, and becoming part of a local LLL group, I came to know an amazing woman who is an IBCLC and LLL leader – June Walker. When my second came along, I knew I had to have June help! She came for her evaluation and, unfortunately, came to the conclusion I had insufficient glandular tissue. But she introduced the idea of supplementing at the breast with a sns instead of using a bottle, and helped me to get accustomed to using one. Even though I didn’t do it for my 2nd, she also introduced the idea of using breast milk from a milk bank instead of formula. She helped with researching different herbs I could try to increase my supply and helped with trying to figure out what caused my igt (mainly in trying to figure out with my doctor if my hormones were at the levels they should be). There was also the continued support she gave me that encourage me to keep breastfeeding all my children despite the fact I could not make enough – definitely not what most people were telling me to do! When my 3rd came along, I again had her evaluate – this time we had an added complication of severe tongue and lip ties (to the point of not being able to transfer any milk). She recommended an amazing dentist to cut the ties, helped provide exercises, and recommended cranial sacral therapy (we waited 6 months to do it, but wish we would have done it sooner as it improved his suck so much!). She is so supportive of my breastfeeding decisions, trying to give me as much current information as possible. She is one of the main reasons I ended up nursing my oldest for 2 1/2 yrs (2 months tandem), am still nursing my 2nd at almost 3 yrs old while tandem nursing my youngest who is 14 months old. I am constantly amazed at how wonderful June is…about how passionate she is about breastfeeding and helping moms and babies…how she stays so well informed about current research…she is so kind and understanding and gentle!
My mom breastfeed 3 babies and helped a ton! I also visited the breast feeding center of pittsburgh twice ( which I love!!!) they helped when my milk didn’t come in and helped to build my supply. Thanks Beth!!! I am now able to breastfeed my amazing little 5 week old guy! Thanks for all the help!
Like most new mums I assumed breastfeeding would be easy. My journey shows that although it may not be an easy start, with a lot of support and persistence a beautiful breast feeding relationship can grow.
My daughter was born healthy and full term but very sleepy despite a drug free birth. I had to wake her for feeds which resulted in poor attachment and a lot of damage done to my breasts. In the days following my daughters birth I had a number of midwives and lactation consultants trying to support me with limited success. One very special lactation consultant, Jenni Watts, took the time to understand me, my little family and our feeding challenges. She has stood by me through all my breastfeeding challenges.
I was trying so hard but ended up with painful vasospasms and mastitis. By week three I was ready to give up and had no shortage of people telling me I should. Jenni encouraged me to persist and dug deep into her experience to give me tips and tricks. They worked and I was able to build a wonderful breastfeeding relationship.
Jenni has supported me through my daughters initial refusal to take expressed milk and now my return to work while feeding. I was told by many it would be too hard but I’ve been able to do it! I have even become a breastmilk donor to manage my oversupply.
I see breastfeeding as an amazing gift to give my daughter and hope that one day I can support her on her own breastfeeding journey…
I’m super thankful for my lactation consultant and my husband for being so supportive of the process and always being calm cool and collected when it came to our breastfeeding journey. Our LC was named Deeana and was always there for me even just to chat about the problems I was having. The day after we brought our little girl home, she came over and helped me through some frustrating emotions about not getting a proper latch. I’m so thankful for her!
When i found out I was pregnant my friend Daphne Houston-Kubow met with my husband and I to educate us on what to expect during the labour and delivery process as well as breastfeeding tips. She went above and beyond from that day on. My son had to be born via c-section as he flipped into a breech position and my blood pressure was elevated. While I was at the hospital I struggled with feeding my son as he would not latch and suck on the nipple. The lactation consultant at the hospital did not help us at all. Fortunately my lactation consultant Daphne came to the rescue! After she finished working a 12 hour shift in a different hospital, she came to see Warren (my son) and I. It had been 36 hours since his birth and he wasn’t feeding well. After she assessed him and observed us attempting to feed she was able to let me know what was wrong. My son had a submucosal tongue tie. Unfortunately it was right before a long weekend so I couldn’t get the tie clipped right away. She was able to provide me with a shield to help him feed from the breast and informed me to pump after to ensure I didn’t lose my supply. She recommended the dr who could clip his tongue tie and came with me to the appointment. She helped me get Warren off the nipple shield to. She was able to keep me motivated and helped me to keep trying to breastfeed. She did home visits frequently and would talk to me daily to check in on Warren and I. There were many times where I was frustrated and started to consider using formula as he lost 10.4% of his weight in 48 hours. Especially when my family physician was strongly encouraging the use of formula. But I kept at the breastfeeding with the nipple shield and then with getting him off it, all with Daphne’s help. Now he has no issues with breastfeeding! And has been growing like a weed ever since! The dr is not concerned with his weight anymore. And the nurse at the doctor’s office tells me every visit that she can’t believe I continued with breastfeeding due to all the struggles but is glad that I did. She plans to refer any other patients to Daphne as she has seen what great job she does, not only with helping him breastfeed but also helping the mom when she is frustrated and helping to keep postpartum away! My husband was included in this process and he was grateful for that. She definitely includes the whole family. I am so grateful to her for all the progress my son has made and for me to be able to experience this wonderful bond with my son.
We celebrated World Breastfeeding week with the grand opening of our baby Cafe in Batavia, NY. We, the nursing staff at our community hospital have worked hard the past few months to provide a comfortable, non-medical environment for the mothers and their newborns to return to for breastfeeding support. Our grand opening was Monday and we have already connected with nearly 16 mothers and their babies who have come to rely on our help and guidance. We are so proud to be their resource and to be able to connect them with other mothers for support and networking. It was a joy to see their confidence and to know that what they learned in the hospital, perfected at home and then brought to the baby cafe will blossom and grow as the weeks go by.
Great comments out there. I enjoyed reading this post and the comments. It’s all great stories. Thanks. I can totally relate to some of the stories. It’s a great motivation for mothers like me.
I met my MVP IBCLC, Jayne Schuster, 15 years ago when I was referred for feeding help with my slow gaining baby. While I was pregnant with this baby I did a lot of research and was dedicated to breastfeeding and even thought being a lactation consultant sounded like a wonderful career. Little did I know that someday this wonderful woman would be my colleague!
She helped me that day with feeding and invited me to attend the support group at the hospital that she had organized. I returned several times for the support from her and the other mother’s who attended. I continued to breastfeed successfully for a year.
3 years later I decided to go to nursing school, with the thought in the back of my head of eventually becoming a lactation consultant. Here I met Jayne again when she came to speak to my nursing class, because her commitment to nursing mom’s extended to going out into the community and educating not only nursing students at the local colleges but also high school students. She believes that normalizing breastfeeding and educating people early on leads to breastfeeding success. I was nursing another baby at this time and her support of me as a breastfeeding college student was appreciated more than she knows. I was lucky enough to follow her for a day in the hospital to really get a glimpse of what being an IBCLC was all about. Her passion for doing the best for babies and mothers was still inspiring!
When I graduated from nursing school I got a position as a nurse at a nursing home. This didn’t fit with my plans, but I went to see Jayne again for advice. I’ll never forget how supportive she was, as she encouraged me to begin taking the courses that would eventually allows me to,sit for the IBCLC boards. She told me about how she to started her nursing career in a completely unrelated field, but that the experience made her grow as a person and a nurse which enabled her to be the beat nurse she could be. So I followed her advice and became a CLC while working in a nursing home. Ace years later I FINALLY got a position at the same hospital in the labor and delivery unit. I finished my needed experience hours (1,000) and education hours (90) and with Jaynes relentless cheering, support, and sometimes pushing, signed up for the boards to become an IBCLC. It’s almost like fate, when I look back at all the events that led me here. Her colleague at the time retired just when I signed up for the exam, opening the only other IBCLC position in my whole city. If not for Jane’s advice 5 years prior, I wouldn’t have been in the position to take her place.
So now Jayne is readying to retire. I can’t begin to explain how.much I have learned from her, not just about breastfeeding, but how to take something you’re passionate about and share it with others. The more I learn about being a lactation consultant the more amazed I am at how.much she has contributed to our hospital, our patients, our coworkers and our community. She built a system from scratch from her own passion and hard work. She did this mostly without help or support. I am so lucky to have met her and had her as my mentor and support.
Now as she retires I will continue to support our moms, uphold her passion by continuing the work she started in our town. I’ll do it in honor of her, my MVP IBCLC.