What does an IBCLC do?
Breast feeding is natural – right? Midwives teach you how to breastfeed in hospital. There are heaps of books to tell you how to breast feed. There are classes, app’s and even You Tube! It can’t be that hard… can it?
For some mums breastfeeding just works. Babies are born knowing what to do! But, for many, this is not the case and breast feeding can be the most overwhelming, disheartening, emotionally and mentally draining time of your life. This is when you should seek the support of an IBCLC!
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Why an IBCLC?
What’s so different from a Child Health Nurse? A Midwife? ABA counsellor?
The path to becoming an IBCLC is challenging and only for the most dedicated breastfeeding advocates. It requires 1000 hours of clinical practice, 90 hours of theory before sitting an exam, which is held twice a year globally! It then requires 75 hours of lactation specific education (accredited) every 5 years, proving that our knowledge is kept up to date.
There are many breastfeeding courses a Health Professional can partake in and these are useful in helping new mums with normal breastfeeding questions, but do not offer expertise in complex breastfeeding issues.
The path to become an IBCLC takes years of study, clinical hours and training in lactation specific education. We specialise in all areas of lactation, specifically complex breastfeeding issues where the depth of knowledge is required to support families through complex situations.
IBCLC’s will support you fully. We will work with you and your family until you find the right breast feeding path for you. We will give you up to date evidence based advice and guidance. We will individualise a care plan for you and your baby, and we will keep in close contact to see what is and isn’t working for you. We will provide holistic care.
Some scenarios we commonly support mums with are; nipple damage, supply issues, blocked ducts, tethered oral tissue, nipple shield use and expressing.
IBCLC’s can work in many settings – hospitals, clinics, CHN clinics or privately. If you seek the support of an IBCLC privately then you will have one to one support with continuity of care. Typically, a consult will involve a comprehensive assessment of maternal history, birth, feeding history, your baby’s oral structure and function, supply, latch, milk transfer will be done. An important part of the consult is establishing YOUR wishes, desires and goals! Then advice, support and a plan will be given and usually a follow up phone support or appointments will be offered. Most importantly they work with you to individualize your care and advice.
It truly is an amazing job and such a privilege to work with amazing, dedicated mums and babies. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your life at such a precious time, putting your trust in me to support you both!