In my Bat Mitzvah speech many years ago I said, “Even when it’s time to move on, it’s hard to let go.” I remember that now, as I am closing my lactation practice in order to take on a new role at the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission. It’s time. I’m excited about the opportunity to work on the health care system as a whole. At the same time, I will miss working directly with families. Helping parents and babies at such a vulnerable time has been an incredible joy and privilege. I’ve been immersed in the hope, anxiety, excitement, frustration, exhaustion, determination, and wholehearted love of new parents.
I’m so grateful for the families that I’ve worked with and learned from. So many lovely memories.
- A couple singing together “Will you still need me, will you still feed me” as they coaxed their daughter to latch.
- A dad peeling off his shirt to snuggle his baby skin-to-skin while giving a bottle feeding.
- A relieved mom saying “that gives me so much comfort” as her husband finger-fed her breastmilk to their newborn, who couldn’t yet latch.
- A grandma who was thrilled to learn to finger-feed her grandchild.
- A proud mom, who induced lactation in order to share breastfeeding with her wife, describing how their new baby had milk from both mothers in her first days.
- A high-producing and diligent mother of a premature baby who had pumped so much milk that she ran out of freezer space. She decided to donate her surplus to a family she had come to know in the NICU, who were so grateful for her special gift.
- An adoptive mom who was expecting to be matched with an older child, but got surprised with a newborn. A lovely nurse suggested she try breastfeeding, and she jumped in with both breasts.
It helps that I have a fabulous group of IBCLC colleagues at the LC Home Visits Association – I’m confident sending families into their capable hands. But I am a baby addict, and I need my fix regularly, so I will continue to volunteer with nursing moms, co-leading the Boston La Leche League group. At the last meeting, I got the wonderful surprise of seeing a former client. Seeing the newborns transform into toddlers is fun. And witnessing the transformation of stressed-out new mothers into confident moms enjoying their kids – this makes me incredibly happy.