This week we celebrated IBCLC Day...
to recognize those amazing, top-level lactation professionals who have gone through the difficult steps to becoming International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. IBCLCs are at the forefront of breastfeeding difficulties -- or at least they should be. What seems to happen, though, is when breastfeeding problems arise in the early days after birth, many families turn to their doctors for breastfeeding help. It is natural to assume this provider who cared for you during pregnancy would have the skills to treat sore nipples or inadequate weight gain, right?
Liz is a friend of mine in medical school, and I am so glad she set her sights on becoming a doctor. I know she will do a world of good, absolutely A WORLD OF GOOD, because of her knowledge base and her passions. Liz gave a "Breastfeeding 101" presentation last weekend at Take Root: Red State Perspectives on Reproductive Justice conference. Spend 10 minutes watching this and you will gain understanding of why lactation knowledge is so lacking among our doctors, and why we should be shouting from the rooftops the value of IBCLC help and support.
Unfortunately, the end was cut off, so I let me add Liz's takeaway points:
The last point in particular is one of interest to me: What if all residents received the same three-hour lactation education required by physicians when a hospital is working toward Baby-Friendly Hospital Status? That three hours could be a consistent way to provide lactation education to new doctors.
Three hours -- many of us would be happy if doctors received just three hours of education. Think about this: I just finished 90 hours of specific lactation education as I work toward becoming exam-eligible to get to IBCLC -- 90 hours! And there is something busy doctors out there can do to add to their skills in an easy, effective manner -- today, without even one minute of extra education: Get to know local IBCLCs, and refer to them often!
3/4/2016 05:28:12 pm
My husband is a NP in a pediatric practice. They have LC staffers (IBCLC) who routinely meet with all new babies, even if babies aren't breastfeeding, to make certain feeding is good. When I had our first baby, he said he wasn't any help around breastfeeding, and I had access to the LCs at his work who are also friends. I was taken care of!
3/4/2016 10:31:46 pm
That's pretty awesome! Has he come around at all with his own breastfeeding knowledge?
3/4/2016 08:42:47 pm
3/4/2016 10:38:34 pm
I agree! Just as Liz pointed out, there is no captain of the ship (bad analogy). Everyone else assumes the other guy's going to take care of it. And mom and baby get passed over. I am amazed by how often I talk to women and they have no idea there are professional people who help moms with breastfeeeding! We don't have to go it alone :).
Kathleen Chiu, IBCLC, RLC
4/29/2016 12:34:22 am
Excellent piece! Are we free to share on FB? I will leave your name on and credit you.
5/1/2016 05:06:52 pm
Absolutely! Share away :).
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♥ four young boys and a boy dog (offspring)