A Little Background: In looking for a career change and a business to buy, my husband and I bought Bosom Buddies in 1994. Breastfeeding had been a passion of ours when we had our three babies. It seemed like a great fit. At that time, Bosom Buddies was just a pump rental station with a good contract to serve a large hospital. I learned and relearned the basics of breastfeeding by following the lactation consultants at that hospital. I also discovered Lactnet, an online resource for professionals in the lactation field and followed it faithfully. Not having a medical background was a bit of a handicap, but my mentor lactation consultant taught me about the things that came through with a medical bent. I observed breastfeeding classes all around town and was invited to come to those classes to do the pump demo and information parts. Our community has a wonderful, monthly professional resource in the Lactation Journal Club run by Maryann Neifert, MD, widely known as author of "Dr. Mom". I also attended the International Lactation Consultant Association conference annually, attending a multitude of lactation related workshops. By spring of 1999, 5 years later, I had accumulated enough hours interacting with moms and babies, especially around their pumping issues, to apply to sit for the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant exam. I had taken the week long preparation course and realized I was ready to take that leap. I sat for the exam and after 3 anxious months, learned I had passed! I have to say, I celebrated that milestone as much or more than even my college graduation.
My Personal Experience: I breastfed my three children in the '70's, when breastfeeding rates were at their lowest point. It was considered a pretty "hippy" thing to do, but my husband and I were/are far closer to "geeky" than "hippy"! I was strongly influenced by accounts of problems created by drugs during pregnancy and delivery; breastfeeding followed along naturally. One had to be prepared and informed to wangle a natural birth at a hospital; I was prepared, informed and stubborn about breastfeeding, too. My support and information came from La Leche League's The Motherly Art of Breastfeeding and Karen Pryor's Breastfeeding Your Baby. In addition, I was lucky enough to have babies who knew what they were doing and I didn't have any particular problem that I can remember. For the last 17 years, I have taught and worked with breastfeeding moms and families in pre-natal classes, in the Bosom Buddies store and in individual problem solving consults.
My Education: I have a Bachelor's Degree in Education from the University of Colorado. I earned the IBCLC designation in 1999. Recertification is required every 5 years; the first recertification accomplished with continuing education credits. At 10years, I sat for the exam for recertification and passed. Whew!
My Favorite Thing: Teaching breastfeeding classes, giving anticipatory guidance to moms as they embark on their breastfeeding and parenting adventure. Being a non-RN IBCLC has two benefits for the moms I touch: 1) I have a strong belief in breastfeeding as the norm and I think this colors my perspective in solving problems with mothers. Even though I sell breastfeeding equipment and supplies, I am truly looking to make breastfeeding the successful experience mothers want. In our place and time, we have access to great resources that make it possible for moms to breastfeed more conveniently, longer and have more fun; 2) I get to work with moms and babies of all ages. Some lactation consultants only see moms and babies for those first couple of days while in the hospital; or only in the intensive care unit. I get to work with moms for all the months that follow, a broader and more holistic perspective, and with babies of all ages.