An IBCL-what? Why do I need that?
So here we go; my first blog post. Gulp.
I’ve been stressing for weeks now about what I wanted to write about for my first ever blog post on my first ever website. I wondered if I would share the myriad of health benefits linked to breastfeeding for both mom and baby. Or would I write about the latest breastfeeding research advocating for breastfeeding moms to co-sleep (yes, you read that right-advocate)? Or maybe I’d comment on the latest news article where yet another breastfeeding mom is harassed for nursing in public/nursing a toddler/or just plain old nursing. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that it might be best to share a bit about my profession and why anyone really might need my services. I’m often asked just what is an IBCLC or International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and why should anyone hire one?
I should probably back up just a bit. Breastfeeding is a natural act. I wouldn’t be able to call myself an IBCLC if I didn’t believe that, right? Human babies are meant to have human milk and they are certainly meant to breastfeed. Humans have been doing this since the dawn of time and yet many women struggle to nurse their babies. We often wonder if it is so natural, then why can it be so difficult. Frustrating, right? Breastfeeding, while natural, is a learned act. Research actually tells us that mirror neurons in our brains help us to do something that we’ve seen done before; as in “monkey see, monkey do”. That is, when we see women breastfeed-our moms, aunts, cousins, sisters, friends-it is ingrained in us and we have less trouble doing it ourselves. Unfortunately, in today’s world of spread out families and an overall lower incidence of breastfeeding in general we don’t have those mirror neurons to rely on. Enter the clinically trained breastfeeding and lactation professional.
IBCLCs are the gold standard for lactation care. According to the International Lactation Consultant Association or ILCA IBCLCs are:
• Recognized the world over as possessing the only standardized, board certified lactation credential available
• Knowledgeable about up-to-date evidence-based practices in lactation as demonstrated through a rigorous exam process
• Experienced in a wide variety of complex breastfeeding situations
• Competent to assist mothers with establishing and sustaining breastfeeding, even in the midst of difficulties and high-risk situations that can arise
• Sensitive to the needs of both mothers and children as they work to help mothers meet their breastfeeding goals
• Ethical in their practice, abiding by Standards of Practice and a Code of Ethics and working within a defined Scope of Practice
IBCLCs work hand-in-hand with other health care providers to promote, support and protect breastfeeding. We recognize that each breastfeeding journey is unique and meet every family where they are. Not every mother needs an IBCLC, but every mother deserves access to one should the need arise. From the initial latch to the weaning stage, IBCLCs can be the helping hand to meet your goals. I believe breastfeeding is a rhythm, a sweet ballad between mother and baby, and with the right tuning (IBCLCs can help with that!) it is a beautiful song.