Me then NHS Midwife & Infant Feeding Lead
When I decided to retrain to become a midwife, I always knew I would specialize in supporting parents to breastfeed but at the time I had no idea what an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) was. That was 17 years ago, I have been a registered midwife for 13 years and an IBCLC for 7 years. As is my preferred method, I need to understand the inside outs, the upside downs and back to fronts of a subject or role to feel completely prepared and deserving of the term professional and I finally feel I am there.
Me now MD/Founder of 3 Businesses
Today I wanted to use this opportunity to highlight what I and my colleagues do and how diverse our roles can be in the way we support families.
This is how our governing body IBLCE® explain who they are and who we are:
What is IBLCE?
IBLCE®, or the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners®, is the independent international certification body conferring the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant® (IBCLC®) credential.
What is an IBCLC®?
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants function and contribute as members of the maternal-child health teams. They provide care in a variety of settings, while making appropriate referrals to other health professionals and community support resources. Working together with mothers, families, policymakers and society, IBCLC certificants provide expert breastfeeding and lactation care, promote changes that support breastfeeding and help reduce the risks of not breastfeeding. They are governed by IBLCE®.
In the UK IBCLCs can be found working as volunteers, employees, private consultants, as sole traders or business owners. We help breastfeeding families are every stage of their journey and some specialise in specific areas. You will find peer supporters, midwives, family support workers, nurses, paediatricians, pharmacists to name a few have studied for 90 hours across 13 disciplines, practiced for 1000 hours supporting feeding babies and update there qualification every five years.
I am a private practitioner now and support families from pregnancy through to weaning from the breast (often the hardest part 🤪). I specialise in supporting breastfeeding when maternity leave is over and mothers are considering returning to work. Helping them through the turmoil of emotions, planning, expressing breastmilk and where will they #pumpatwork? As part of my work at MumPod Consulting I support employers and property owners who may have breastfeeding staff, visitors or clients. I offer policy reviews, estates assessments to identify suitable MumPod® rooms or establish the feasibility of installing one of our MumPods® as a more flexible option.
I left the NHS four years ago and was not replaced by an IBCLC which is not a surprise, the role of a lactation consultant is so poorly understood in many hospitals. I am pleased to say there are many awesome NHS Trusts who value the role of an IBCLC, understanding they are key in ensuring breastfeeding parents reach their goals. More than that protecting and promoting breastfeeding can save the NHS millions of pounds by improved health outcomes.
IBCLCs are not a nice to have, here to firefight but a fundamental part of saving money and saving lives in the NHS and across the world!