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Stories from 2013 Exam Hopefuls: Brooke Smith

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

CLEPMy name is Brooke Smith. My journey to the IBCLC exam began when I was 18 when I read Babycatcher by Peggy Vincent chronicling the events of a midwife during the 1970s and 1980s and I was hooked!  Despite being unmarried with no plans of having children of my own, I knew my destiny lay somewhere in maternal and child health, but I didn’t know how I wanted to articulate my desires, so they remained on the back burner until I was pregnant with my first daughter.

After giving birth to her and struggling with the new feelings of motherhood, the old surge of passion for maternal child health showed back up.  While still passionate about birth as a whole, I had found that breastfeeding was what I really waxed poetic about.  Like many new mothers, I struggled with breastfeeding at first, and I returned to full-time work at 6 weeks postpartum with my trusty breast pump, but I couldn’t get my mind away from breastfeeding.  After spending my lunch hours pumping and obsessively reading breastfeeding blogs, I decided to make the jump into lactation care as a full-time career.

After giving birth to my second daughter, I quit my “day job” and enrolled in Union Institute and University’s Bachelor of Science degree program and I graduated with high marks a mere 15 months later.  I gobbled up every paper, book, journal, and blog post I could devour.  My thesis paper focused on the experience of working mothers and breastfeeding, something I remain passionate about advocating for even today.

I currently volunteer at two of our local WIC offices counseling mothers , teaching the breastfeeding and childbirth classes, and co-leading a monthly breastfeeding support group. No matter how tired I may be when I walk in, I walk out full of excitement, passion, and energy!  I also volunteer as a co-chairperson of our county’s birth network, providing lactation training to our county’s doulas, chiropractors, and midwives.  I am excited to become a full-fledged IBCLC this year after I successfully write the exam.  Although my third child will be due one month after the administration of this year’s exam, it is my plan to continue working as a volunteer educator with WIC as well as focusing on starting my county’s first private practice lactation service, Au Lait Lactation & Birth Services, provided two days a week in a local medical facility, and the remainder of the time providing in-home lactation care for dyads of all stages.


Stories from 2013 Exam Hopefuls: De’Chelle Pierson

Lactation Matters is proud to begin a new 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 what inspired you to become an IBCLC, please email us at

Business Photo 1 (1)My name is De’Chelle Pierson and I’m Registered Nurse (RN) from the Houston area. I work for one of the most prominent hospitals in the Houston Medical Center. For more than 6 years, I worked in the NICU level 2 and 3 until I accepted a position at the Grand Opening of our hospitals community extension in the Pediatric EC and General Pediatric Inpatient Unit. For a NICU RN, this was a huge transition for me. To go from caring for premature infants to dealing with the hustle and bustle of the emergency room was a different world.
This transition however was a blessing in disguise. I was exposed to a world of new parents who lacked the support they needed to breastfeed, troubleshoot newborn technicalities and have basic knowledge of newborn care. With all my NICU experience in caring for newborns and assisting mothers breastfeed, I was astounded that more than half the community population lacked the true support they need to be confident at caring for their newborns and breastfeeding. With a desire to implement a change, I launched my own company called Brilliantly Baby to inspire, support and educate expecting parents and infant care providers. June will be my 1 year anniversary and I feel so accomplished to have touched the lives of expecting families by educating them on how to care for their babies on the way. Currently, I provide public and private workshops for parents and even grandparents to be, a night nurse program and newborn  RN consultations.
Obtaining my IBCLC® will be a great accomplishment and another great way I will be able to support the mothers in my community. As a mother myself and as a nurse, there is no better feeling to help another mother feel competent in her role. I look forward to this great journey!

What Makes IBCLCs Essential in Their Communities? {Leslie Stern, RN, CNM, IBCLC}

In celebration of IBCLC Day, we’re asking IBCLCs of all sorts to reflect a bit on what makes them essential within their communities. Today, we highlight Leslie Stern, an IBCLC working in private practice in Durham, NC, USA. 

What makes an IBCLC essential in my community?

Leslie-Stern-4679We (the IBCLC’s) are the protectors of breastfeeding. We are who the mothers can turn to when breastfeeding isn’t going as planned…when there’s pain, not enough milk or other reasons why nursing isn’t working out. We troubleshoot, we are the detectives who take the time to try to figure out what’s going on to help the mother meet her goals. We can be found in a variety of settings…in the hospital, in outpatient clinics, and in private practice. I personally love going to a mother’s home and working with her in her own environment, with her own pillows, and on her couch or in her bed. We can’t make any guarantees that breastfeeding will work, but we will try our hardest to do what we can. The IBCLC is the essential credential for lactation support and I’m proud do be one in Durham, NC.

Leslie Stern started her career as an RN working in the Pediatric ICU and quickly learned she wanted to be with moms and babies. She became an IBCLC in 1997 while working in Labor and Delivery in the midst of becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife in 1998. After working as a CNM in Brooklyn, NY, she married and started a new chapter of her life as a mother of 2 (who are now 8 and 5). Leslie started private practice as an IBCLC in Durham, NC and is happily married, living with her hubby, dog, 2 kids, 2 fish, 4 cats, and 10 chickens.


What Makes IBCLCs Essential in Their Communities? {Shannon Riley, RNC-OB, IBCLC}

In celebration of IBCLC Day, we’re asking IBCLCs of all sorts to reflect a bit on what makes them essential within their communities. Today, we highlight Shannon Riley, an IBCLC working as a Registered Nurse on the Mother and Infant Care Center and as a Lactation Consultant at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. 

What makes an IBCLC essential in my community?

shannonMost healthcare workers spend carefully designated time learning about specific topics related to their field through school and training. However, they likely did not receive much more information about breastfeeding during their education than a few “catch all” phrases, such as the now-famous “breast is best”.

But what does that mean? Why is it the best? Even if I endorse it for obvious reasons, how do I serve the mother who is panicking with her newborn? How do I help?

These are the questions I asked myself as a Labor/Delivery/Postpartum Nurse for about a decade before I took purposeful steps to learn more about what the current science and hooplah around breastfeeding is! I LOVE that it’s now my full-time job to be closely connected to what is current and to be sharing any gained experience with my fellow healthcare providers who are often handling a myriad other responsibilities in their positions. These days, our patients expect and deserve that we all to be able to address basic breastfeeding so I see my function as this:  like a lake-tossed pebble that creates that rolling “ripple effect”.

At my first ILCA conference in 2011, I heard it said, “If we do our jobs right, we won’t need Lactation Consultants someday”.  I think we’re safe to keep our jobs for now but that statement really resonated with me!

Shannon Riley, RNC-OB, IBCLC started her career in the US Army Nurse Corps after attending Marquette University in Milwaukee, WI.  After serving on active duty from 1999-2005, she and her husband came to the Washington DC area. She enjoys her continued service to military families as a Registered Nurse on the Mother and Infant Care Center and as a Lactation Consultant at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. She obtained her IBCLC in 2009.  She is married to her best friend and they have two very fun kids, 5 and 3. Her daughter has suggested more than once that Shannon is employed as a wet nurse.


What Makes IBCLCs Essential in Their Communities? {Dr. Todd Wolynn}

In celebration of IBCLC Day, we’re asking IBCLCs of all sorts to reflect a bit on what makes them essential within their communities. Today, we highlight Dr. Todd Wolynn, IBCLC of the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh, Kids Plus Pediatrics, and also the National Breastfeeding Center

What makes an IBCLC essential in my community? Why, I’ve been desperately waiting to for someone to ask me that question.

TW 2012 jpeg

Dr. Wolynn has been an IBCLC since 1995– and is darn proud of it!

IBCLC’s – well they’re just great people… and so knowledgeable in the ways of the force!  They’ve got big hearts, supportive shoulders and how should I say… a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’.  Every community ought to have one. No, make that ten!

All kidding aside, IBCLC’s are people who want to help.  They are committed and do their work passionately – unfortunately, often at their on expense.  In this day and age, in this economy when there is are fewer available resources – IBCLC’s are just not willing to let a mom or baby down when they need the help.  Breastfeeding support is crucial, and vital, and needs to be appropriately compensated.

Our communities are starting to ‘get it’. Some a lot faster than others but most are now recognizing the benefits of increased breastfeeding initiation and duration rates.  IBCLC’s are a critical resource available to communities, hospitals and medical practices who improve breastfeeding experiences and rates.

So in MY Pittsburgh community – my essential “Top 3” favorites goes like this:

1)   Penguins

2)   IBCLC’s

3)    Steelers (would have been higher had they won the Super Bowl)

*editor’s note: And if you know anything about Pittsburgh sports culture, you know that IBCLCs must be knocking it out of the park to be ranked amoung these beloved teams!

Dr. Todd Wolynn has been a General Pediatrician and IBCLC since 1995.  He returned to Carnegie Mellon University from 2006-8 to obtain his Master of Medical Management degree. Dr. Wolynn serves the AAP Section on Breastfeeding Executive Committee and serves in an advisory capacity at the United States Breastfeeding Committee.  He has written and presented nationally on breastfeeding benefits and the need for more support. Dr. Wolynn is recognized nationally for teaching physicians ‘how to’ powerfully and effectively support breastfeeding in hospitals and offices. He is very proud of his effort to create the Breastfeeding Center of Pittsburgh (in 2006) and the National Breastfeeding (in 2011).


The LCANZ Conference is Coming Soon!

ILCA’s Multinational Affiliate, Lactation Consultants of Australia & New Zealand LCANZ, is celebrating its Inaugural conference in just 4 weeks !

“Breastfeeding: the blueprint for life”

Held at the Sydney Masonic Centre, there’s still plenty of time to register online at !

The inaugural transnational LCANZ Conference will be held September  7 – 9, 2012 at the beautiful Sydney Masonic Centre. Located in Sydney’s central business district, it’s a terrific venue for a conference and close to all your favorite shopping.

Photo by aussiegall via Flickr Creative Commons

Easy to get to by car, train or bus, the venue will cater to all your needs. The exhibition centre and market place promise to provide educational and recreational experiences for you during the breaks.

The conference theme, Breastfeeding: A Blueprint for Life, gives a focus to the notion that if we get the building blocks right, then success will follow. The theme encourages us to
explore new ideas, challenge our current thinking and inform our practice.

This conference will feature a full day of workshops leading up to two days of presentations by highly regarded national and international speakers. Practitioners from all disciplines involved in the care of mothers and babies are invited to participate in what promises to be a fantastic three days of learning, networking and socializing with colleagues from across Australia and New Zealand.

Starting on Friday, September 7th, our three, world renowned breastfeeding and lactation keynote speakers are Sheela Geraghty, Catherine Watson-Genna and Prof. Anne-Marie Widstrom, who are making the trip to Australia to share their expertise.

Our Keynote Speakers

Sheela Geraghty comes with her perspective as a pediatric practitioner in the USA, where she cares for breastfeeding dyads and teaches medical students. She will share about the trends in breastfeeding as well as breastfeeding multiples.

Catherine Watson Genna is a private practice IBCLC from the USA, where she has written a number of books on infant sucking skills and the use of breastfeeding tools. Catherine will present on the strategies for assisting the non latching infant and about the anatomical contributions to infant sucking skills. Additionally, she will share an introduction to sensory integration.

Prof. Anne-Marie Widstrom, Associate Professor at the Karolinska Institutet Stockholm University College of Health Sciences shares her passion of with the session entitled “The newborn baby’s nine developmental stages during the first hours after birth.” She will also present “Skin to skin in delivery suite”.

On Friday, we will experience workshops presented by renowned experts. There will be something for everyone, with breastfeeding basics, advanced breastfeeding skills, ethical issues, online learning, and research appraisal and development. We will also have a special General Practice workshop called “By Doctors, for Doctors” offering amazing learning opportunities for obstetricians and pediatricians wishing to update their breastfeeding knowledge.

Saturday and Sunday’s session promise to be interesting and challenging with topics for hospital and community based LC’s.

The final day is a Baby Friendly Health Initiative (BFHI) workshop on Monday, September 10th. Experts in BFHI will gather for this workshop, which intends to build on skills for BFHI appraisal and accreditation.

Hope to see you there !


World Breastfeeding Week: Breastfeeding in Ireland

In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, Lactation Matters will post every day this week, highlighting the stories of breastfeeding in different cultures and countries.

By Geraldine Cahill, IBCLC

The promotion of breastfeeding has been a key government health policy in Ireland since the 1990’s and yet the prevalence of breastfeeding is still incredibly low. The Growing up in Ireland Longitudinal Study has shown that Ireland has the lowest breastfeeding rate in Europe. Less then 50% of babies are still breastfeeding when they leave the hospital and less than 15% are still breastfeeding by six months. As happens in the rest of the Western world, levels of breastfeeding were likely to increase with educational levels. Some of the reasons given for not breastfeeding at all, were inconvenience and fatigue or simply having a preference for feeding formula (48%). Ireland has a long way to go to meet the goal of breastfeeding being the normal way to feed a baby.

How do I as an IBCLC in Private Practice view the state of Breastfeeding in Ireland?

There are currently 197 IBCLCs in Ireland. Most of them are working in the hospital systems as midwives and some are employed as nurse specialists in breastfeeding. Additionally, a number work as public health nurses who visit the mothers in their homes after birth (but these nurses also have other responsibilities within the community and don’t just deal with mothers and newborns). The lactation consultants who work in private practice tend to have come from parent-to-parent support groups such as Cuidiú (Irish word for “caring support”) and La Leche League.

Cuidiú, a parent-to-parent support organization which provides education  and support for all parents (from birth to the teen years), is inundated with requests from women all over the country for training to become Breastfeeding Counselors – and with help from government grants are doing so. La Leche League of Ireland is also reporting the same surge of interest in training, with attendance at their groups on the rise. There are support groups in the major centers of Dublin and Cork every day of the week and many IBCLC’s in Ireland are involved with this work.

Social marketing has had a huge impact in Ireland. We have big urban centers but also many rural mothers. These mothers have set up groups to support themselves and some of these groups have asked IBCLCs to join them.  They have asked because they know this format is mostly about peer support but they want the information on their boards to be correct so that “we don’t give incorrect information or overstep our boundaries”.

One of those mothers, Aideen Ni Cheilleher, has singlehanded done as much work as the rest of us put together over the last year in the area of connecting people together to support one another. She found herself with a year off work, with a newborn, a toddler and a 7 year old, while living in Kerry in a very rural area. In order to get support for herself in her tandem nursing, she set up a facebook group called Extended Breastfeeding in Ireland.  The group grew quickly, with 100 members within 24 hours of being started.  She now has 750 members! These mothers are very committed to breastfeeding and using breastfeeding as a parenting tool but felt isolated and alone in this journey. Now, there is a buzz and a sense of possibility about the future that hasn’t been around in a long time.

The statistics in Ireland have, for so long, concentrated on the lack of breastfeeding that in
some ways, the success of those who continue to feed has not been recognized. I asked those who have met or are meeting their breastfeeding goals, “What do you feel about the State of Breastfeeding in Ireland?” Among the usual complaints about the lack of support and good education in the hospital setting, there were lots of positives, such as the fact that there are so many parent-to-parent groups and that they have better access to support because they can find it online. They also commented that they realize THEY are the community now and feel encouraged to run events and make the changes themselves.

For me, what I hold onto is changing things one family at a time, being there for
mothers when they need support, providing information and letting them get on with the job of changing society as only this younger generation are capable of doing.

Geraldine Cahill has been an IBCLC since 2007 and works in Private Practice. She provides home visits for Mums in the early postpartum period and also provides consults at Touchstone Medical Practice. In addition, she runs Breastfeeding Classes for mothers alongside and complemetary to her work as a Childbirth Educator. Geraldine is also the current President of Cuidiú (a parent to parent support group) and represents them on the Irish National Breastfeeding Strategy and Implementation Committee.   She is also on the Education and Membership Committees of ILCA working with other IBCLC’s to enhance the educational needs of her profession.


Care for a Virtual Cuppa? Australia’s first Online Breastfeeding Café launched.

Written by Maddy Knight

The Australian Breastfeeding Association (ABA) has welcomed the newest addition to its stable of services for breastfeeding families, the Online Breastfeeding Café(OBC).

With so many blogs on the web about breastfeeding (ILCA’s Lactation Matters recently referred to BlogHer’s study where over 98% of respondents said they trusted the information they received on blogs), the Online Breastfeeding Café has been developed by the ABA as an online community where users can share, discover and chat with guaranteed reliable, up to date information.

The OBC also has families in mind. This means the inclusion of  an additional men’s parenting section and private, log-in only forum for Dads.

The new site was launched on behalf of NSW Minister for Health, the Hon. Jillian Skinner by State Member Roza Sage at Glenmore Park Child and Family (NSW real estate Australia) precinct on Tuesday 26 June. Also present at the launch were Cr Greg Davies, Mayor of Penrith and Todd Carney representing Federal Member the Hon. David Bradbury.

The Online Breastfeeding Café was three years in development and was designed with Generation Y parents in mind, knowing that for today’s families both mums and dads want to share in the breastfeeding and parenting journey.

“The OBC can help make sure mother’s and fathers both have a place to go to ask and share about their experiences. It really helps them to parent from the same page” says Nicole Bridges, Australian Breastfeeding Association Assistant Branch President.

“These days dads aren’t passive breastfeeding supporters, they want to know what’s going on and how they can help and support mum in any way they can. If she’s happy then the whole family is happy.”

The Online Breastfeeding Café features many of the Australian Breastfeeding Association’s reliable resources and information, but packaged in a new, vibrant and easy to use website that compliments its existing website.

The concept of the breastfeeding café as a physical venue first took off in the UK a couple of years ago. The OBC is the first attempt to take the concept of a comfortable, relaxed place to share and chat about breastfeeding and turn it into an online community.

A café theme runs through the website, with areas such as The Breastfeeding Couch, full of great tips, latest articles and breastfeeding videos; a dad’s-own section of the website aptly titled Dad’s Espresso Bar; great stories and inspiration in A Cuppa and a Read, as well as a long list of popular tools such as finding your local breastfeeding-friendly café.

More features of the Online Breastfeeding Café:

  • Most asked breastfeeding questions, and tips on making breastfeeding easier.
  • How to find your local breastfeeding class or breastfeeding-friendly café or lactation products.
  • Information on breastfeeding and returning to work.
  • The latest breastfeeding articles from the ABA and other trusted sources.
  • Great forums to get involved in, including a general/mum’s forum and completely private Dad’s forum.
  • In “Dad’s Espresso Bar”, a new father can find some practical ways to develop his own special unique bond with his baby even though mum does the breastfeeding. He can also chat with other dads in a private forum about some of the unique concerns of fathers.

The Online Breastfeeding Café also has forums that are fully mobile (containing every post) so you can take it with you and have a virtual cuppa and chat with other parents, all while you enjoy your latte at your local breastfeeding-friendly café.

We would love new mothers (and dads) to know all about this great new online community.

Log in today at or contact the community for more information.

Maddy Knight is Project Director of the Online Breastfeeding Café. She is an experienced journalist, media advisor, publicist and graphic designer and has worked extensively with non-profit organisations including the Australian Breastfeeding Association. The Online Breastfeeding Café was her brainchild for which she developed the website plan and layout, edited and wrote much of the content and even designed the logo and slogan. She spends her spare time singing and writing her blog Bondi Sourdough 101. She lives in Bondi Beach with her husband and cat, Luna.


We need your INTERNATIONAL perspective!

Written by Amber McCann, IBCLC

In my few short weeks as the new co-editor of Lactation Matters, I have skidded right smack dab into a wall…the wall of realization that my perspective on our profession is overwhelmingly American.  Of course, this is understandable as I was born in a small farming community right smack dab in Middle America.  But, I desire to have a global perspective…to understand just how different life can be for mothers on the other side of the world.  And how similar.

Photo by Tareq Salahuddin via Flickr

So, we need YOU!  This blog is for all of us, IBCLCs from the United States and from Australia and from Japan and from South Africa and from Ireland…and everywhere in between.

We need your STORIES.

We need your PERSPECTIVE.

We need your LEADS to innovative people who are making a difference.

If you know of someone or something that needs profiled here, please comment with how we might get in touch with you.  If there is breaking news in your country, let us know.  If you know of research being conducted or published in your part of the world, reach out so that we can include it here.

I am proud to be an INTERNATIONAL Board Certified Lactation Consultant.  Help us make this blog international as well.

Amber McCann, IBCLC

Amber McCann, IBCLC is a  board certified lactation consultant in private practice with Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside if 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 . 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. 


Call to all IBCLCs: Equip yourselves with your Advocacy Piece

Written by Shakira Henderson MS, MPH, RNC-NIC, IBCLC

Prior to the 2011 release of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) Position Paper – The Role and Impact of the IBCLC – there was no single evidence-based advocacy document that defined the role and impact of the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC): a cross-disciplinary role that straddles generalized support for breastfeeding, and allied healthcare. As the preeminent professional organization for IBCLCs worldwide, ILCA was charged with developing a paper that outlined the unique expertise and influence of the IBCLC on breastfeeding care for mothers, infants, children, families, and communities.

The profession had entered its 26th year of existence, and IBCLCs were still struggling to differentiate themselves from other breastfeeding care providers – peer counselors, breastfeeding counselors, registered nurses, physicians, etc. IBCLCs continued to battle the need for justification of their duties and/or outcomes. This is not surprising for a relatively new profession: many of the allied health care professions have a history of the struggle to be universally recognized, valued, and compensated. To add another layer of complexity, while the IBCLE certification is international, IBCLCs practice in work environments based on the legal and socio-cultural traditions of their countries. Consequently, there was confusion as to the common threads of the profession. IBCLCs needed a position paper.

With the explosion of research and public interest in human lactation over recent years, this position paper came at an opportune time. Breastfeeding was not just the optimal mode for infant feeding that had health benefits for mothers and infants but evidence associated breastfeeding with tangible economic benefits to families and communities. Immediately, breastfeeding topped the list as a preventative measure for cost savings in healthcare. When considering measures to improve breastfeeding care and outcomes at an institutional, local, regional, national, and global level, the IBCLC is central to that plan
as the only internationally certified healthcare professional in the clinical management of breastfeeding and human lactation. But how were IBCLCs communicating this to the world? The release of the position paper came in the summer of 2011.

The position paper on “The Role and Impact of the IBCLC” is intended for use by IBCLCs,
administrators, policy makers, and members of the public. The document describes the rigorous professional standards of the IBCLC, and the mandated demonstration of specialized knowledge and skill through international certification. The IBCLC is the gold standard for provision of breastfeeding care in any setting. Every IBCLC should be equipped with this paper. Administrators and policy makers who need evidence for justification of an IBCLC on staff to deliver breastfeeding care to mothers, infants,
children, families, and communities must first consult this position paper. The multi-role capacity of the IBCLC cannot be overlooked, nor can the economic and social impact of having an IBCLC on staff be ignored. Lastly, members of the public can use this paper as an educational piece to make decisions regarding whom and where to seek breastfeeding support and care. Mothers and families of the world have a right to know the role and impact of the only internationally certified healthcare professional in the clinical management of breastfeeding and human lactation.

The ILCA Position Paper on the Role and Impact of the IBCLC is available in English, Spanish, Croation, and Japanese. Watch for the future translations into German, French, Russian and Arabic. on the ILCA website.

Shakira Henderson MS, MPH, RNC-NIC, IBCLC is a neonatal nurse by training but her passion is to improve breastfeeding outcomes for mothers and infants. Shakira is currently, the South Miami Hospital Research Specialist. She has previously served as a staff nurse, nurse specialist, and breastfeeding coordinator in the Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at South Miami Hospital. She is a second career nurse, and holds other degrees such as a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Microbiology, Master of Science in Anatomy, and Master of Public Health. She is currently pursuing her PhD in nursing and her DNP in neonatal nursing. Her research focus is improving breastfeeding outcomes for women and infants.

Ms. Henderson’s nursing support model for breastfeeding in the NICU has won her many awards – National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) Leadership Award, South Miami Hospital Patient Educator of the Year Award, the Cherokee Comfort Inspired Award, the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award, and most recently Association of Women’s Health and Neonatal Nursing (AWHONN) Clinical Practice Excellence Award. She is a 2012 Sigma Theta Tau International Maternal-Child Health Leadership Fellow. Her project will focus on strategies to implement the ten steps to successful breastfeeding in the acute care setting.


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