A Few of my favorite things . . . about teaching lactation educator workshops
In addition to working directly with breastfeeding families, I teach professional lactation education. Here’s some reasons I love this part of my work:
I get to stop breastfeeding problems before they start.
As an IBCLC, I’m usually called in when things have gone off course. The lactation educators I train are on the front lines, often as nurses, doulas, or childbirth educators. They are in position to get good information and suggestions to mothers that heads off problems.
I get to be there, in spirit, at the magic moment of birth.
I used to be a birth doula. I miss the raw human intensity of birth. The doulas and nurses I train can be there, and they can be proactive, protecting that special time and helping mom and baby get the party started.
I get to reach mothers who aren’t already sold on breastfeeding.
Any woman who calls an IBCLC or LLL leader is motivated to breastfeed, and knows that help is out there. So I may not get a call from the single mother who wonders if breastfeeding is really possible given her lack of maternity leave, the first-time mom who knows nobody that is breastfeeding, or the mother who has been told not to bother with breastfeeding, because it’s too hard. WIC counselors, nurses, and health educators hear this all the time. They can offer non-judgmental counseling that speaks to a the concerns of a woman who didn’t have breastfeeding at the top of her to-do list.
I get to be a part of Baby-Friendly, improving hospital care and reducing racial disparities.
The Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative is a certification program created by UNICEF and WHO to improve perinatal care. The program identified ten steps that demonstrably improve breastfeeding and infant health outcomes. One of those is for healthcare providers to be trained in specific core competencies, and that 20hr curriculum is included in the lactation educator course. Best for Babes has a great review here of the studies showing that when hospitals go Baby-Friendly, not only does overall care improve, but racial disparities dwindle away.
I get to talk about my favorite studies.
Like this one about fathers and the “breastfeeding team.” And this one, about how mothers breastfeeding at night actually get more sleep and lower their risk of postpartum depression.
I get to teach simple, practical things.
Like nursing in a sling or carrier, and ergonomic positioning for easier breastfeeding.
I get to meet such a diverse group of people passionate about supporting mothers and families!
Nurses, birth doulas, postpartum doulas, childbirth educators, massage therapists, childcare providers, WIC counselors, mental health counselors, dietitians, midwives, HR work-family specialists – so many backgrounds, so many roles, so much to contribute.
More info and registration about the CAPPA Lactation Educator course
Info about the CAPPA certification program
Info about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative and the core competencies