Is your Lactation Consultant a Registered Nurse?

October is renewal month for Registered Nurses in Kentucky. Ashley and I both started our journeys to become IBCLCs as nurses. Why is this background helpful to us in our lactation practice and why should someone seeking lactation support want someone who is also a nurse to support them?

I graduated from Texas Woman’s University in 1995 with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  After graduation, I worked at Parkland Hospital in Dallas in both the Medicine Clinic and on a Medicine/infectious disease/telemetry floor.  There I took care of 7-8 total care patients every shift (yes, it was crazy.)  That was where I learned all about advocating for patients, time management, diabetes, blood pressure issues, heart disease, and wound care.  (Also about AIDS and TB.)  My next job was in home health.  This is where I discovered that I love teaching people about how to care for themselves.  I did lots of wound care (which I really do love) and again, patient advocacy and case management.  

My next position was a combination of many of the things I loved: teaching childbirth and breastfeeding classes and working in the hospital as a lactation consultant.  When we moved to Lexington, I worked on the mother/baby unit, and did lactation support on the floor and in the NICU, as well as continuing to teach breastfeeding classes outside of the hospital. What I learned during those 15+ years has been key to how I practice now, both in what I do and what I don’t do.

What skills and knowledge do I bring to every lactation visit?  Years of clinical experience, assessing moms and babies, looking at the big picture as well as the small details.  Teaching, case management, advocation.  Wound care, medications, blood pressures.  How what happens prenatally and during labor, delivery, and post partum affects families and their breastfeeding experience. 

My nursing background has been a starting platform and solid base for lactation support- caring for moms and babies, not only in feeding, but by looking at the entire picture.  It also has shown me how a solely medical approach can be detrimental to a breastfeeding relationship, and I have worked to expand my education and practice to incorporate the natural instincts of mothers and babies in their nursing relationship, learning about herbal and other alternative support, the role of mindfulness in my practice and how to support families in that, and training in bodywork.  

If you are looking for expert breastfeeding support that appreciates and understands both the medical side and expands beyond that to comprehensive care, I would love to bring all my skills and knowledge and compassion to our visits!

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