I am Jaye Simpson, CLE, IBCLC, CIIM. I am a full-time Private Practice International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and have owned Breastfeeding Network in Sacramento, CA since July, 1995. I got the sweetest surprise when I was told a dear friend nominated me and shared some wonderful comments about what I have done for her as a mentor and friend. The funny thing is: I can only hope I give to her as much as she has given to me. Being a mentor to another is a very special honor for me. I work hard to make sure I help as best I can.
How did you decide to become a private practice lactation consultant?
In 1994 I had my second son who caused me significant breastfeeding problems! He had a bubble palate and serious suck issues. Saying he damaged my nipples is an understatement. When he was 13, I realized he had a submucosal tongue-tie. What I went through to solve our issues, and the IBCLCs I worked with, showed me a career path I had never heard of and I was determined to help other mothers in any way I could so that they would not have to suffer the way I did.
What advice can you offer a lactation consultant who would like to start her own business?
I prefer working for myself because it allows me to focus fully on my clients and family without sacrificing either. However, Private Practice is not easy. It takes time to build a reputation and a client base. After nearly 17 yrs in the field I see many repeat mothers and my new referrals come from local hospital lactation consultant lists, other IBCLCs, doctors, and personal referrals from friends and family members of those I have worked with in the past. I am truly honored by that!
Aside from learning about business licenses and requirements for your area, and professional Liability and HIPAA laws, I recommend joining your local breastfeeding association affiliate for networking with other IBCLCs. Know who you can refer to if needed and what skills other IBCLCs have. Know your local birthing professionals. Business cards are a must! Know that it will take time for your business to grow – it won’t happen overnight. Do a LOT of research – keep learning all the time. Be able to back up what you are saying. Never be afraid to say “I don’t know.” And know that there are many ways to do things. What works for one does not always work for another.
What is your favorite aspect of your business?
My favorite part of being an IBCLC is being able to help others. I find fulfillment in helping mothers and I love working with other IBCLCs who are just getting started or just need to discuss a tough case. With today’s birthing environment (in the United States) compromising so many breastfeeding dyads right from the start, IBCLCs are desperately needed. And I believe it is in our best collective interests to know each other’s specialties and who to refer to or talk to when we are in over our head. This isn’t about us: It’s about the mothers and babies out there who need our help.
The best aspect of being a full-time Private Practice lactation consultant is knowing I make a difference in the world – even if only one mother and baby at a time. I tell them, “You do as much for me as I hope I do for you!” And I mean it. They make a difference in my world by welcoming me in to make a difference in theirs.
Jaye Simpson is mother to 3 breastfed boys: Chris 26, Benjamin 17 and Patrick 14. Chris nursed for 14 months, Benjamin for 3yrs 2 months with 9 months of tandem nursing with Patrick who nursed for 4.5 yrs.
Jaye became a WIC Peer Counselor and Certified Lactation Educator (CLE) in 1995 and then an IBCLC in 2000, recertifying in 2005 and 2010. Jaye became a Certified Instructor of Infant Massage in 2005.
Jaye sponsors and hosts a New Parent’s Support Group, open to all parents regardless of feeding method and welcomes the partners of the many mothers who come for support. The group is a free service to the community.
Jaye has no plans of ever retiring from this gift she calls her career.