18 Sep Becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)
Why do I want to be an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)?
I am currently working (really hard) towards becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I’ve had a few people ask me why exactly I want to be a qualified IBCLC. I started my breastfeeding studies with the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a breastfeeding counsellor. I enjoyed the study and information I learned so much that I decided to do more study! Breastfeeding, and breastmilk, is really SO incredible! I am in awe of the way women not only grow and birth their babies, but also manage to nurture them for sometimes years at a time from their breasts! We really hold such power. The reason I started on this journey all began with my own breastfeeding journeys…
My IBCLC journey started with my own breastfeeding (trigger warning – it gets brutal)
- Willow, my first baby, was born slightly early. My breastfeeding relationship was almost destroyed by some well-meaning hospital midwives. In her first days Willow had formula without my consent. Leaving the hospital with Willow with threats of her being admitted if she didn’t reach birth weight were disheartening. Pumping and feeding around the clock meant Willow reached birth weight quickly – YES! However, she fed using a nipple shield (for 2.5 years mind you!!); I never was able to get her to feed without it.
- Fast forward to my son, Hamish. He was born at exactly 40 weeks gestation. He could latch!! OMG HE CAN LATCH! BUT (and it was a big one) Hamish has a tongue tie 🙁 The tie quickly damaged my nipples resulting in recurrent mastitis and blocked ducts. Hamish’s tongue tie was revised, but he still has oral restrictions even today. Now I know that osteopathy and craniosacral therapy can help! I wish I’d known sooner. He fed for 3.5 years, even through my next pregnancy and baby’s newborn days! But I never had a pain-free feed with him, and I suffered blockages, mastitis and galactoceles throughout his feeding journey.
- My third baby, Evalie, was born just after 40 weeks. She is amazing – she latched WITHOUT PAIN!!!! I couldn’t contain my excitement. My son was still feeding and I got a chance to tandem feed. We are still feeding now (2020) with no end in sight!
So what does that have to do with being an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant?
My experiences showed me just how HARD it was to find good support. I still find it awful that midwives are given so little information about breastfeeding, especially as they are the first port of call for women. One of the GPs I saw diagnosed my breast cyst as mastitis and sent me home with antibiotics…it needed to be aspirated! Every health professional I saw was lacking in information, knowledge or compassion. Then finally I saw an IBCLC and the puzzle pieces started fitting together. I wanted to make sure this service was available for women in my area, because I found it so hard to find for myself.
I want to make sure that every woman that wants to breastfeed has the opportunity and support to do so.
So where am I in my studies now?
Right now I’m finishing my IBCLC studies! I have a bit more lactation specific education to complete and then I’ll be ready to sit the IBLCE exam. Eep! I’ve done more than 1000 hours of counselling, 14 health science units, all of the associated studies and am on the way to completion. I’ve so valued the information I’ve learned during this journey. Right now it is September 2020 and restrictions are everywhere! Rescheduling of many of the IBCLC exams means many people have missed out qualifying this year. I’m so hopeful that I’ll get to sit the exam early next year! After that, I’ll be on my way to providing incredible breastfeeding support, even beyond what I currently can.
If you need support, I currently DO offer lactation consults (with the proviso I am NOT an IBCLC). If I can’t help, I can absolutely connect you to people who can. Get in touch if you need help!
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Hello, I’m Aimee! I support women and their families through pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding. I am a qualified and experienced Doula and breastfeeding counsellor, providing support in the Blue Mountains and surrounds. I’d love to meet you for an obligation free catch up! Contact me here.