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Friday, September 28, 2012

Why I Want to Be a Lactation Consultant

I just started my LC program at UCSD online, and will soon begin my internship with Nurse Debbie at Scripps Encinitas. By July 2013, I will be an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant! In class, I was asked to write a paragraph about why I want to be an LC...and I came up with a few more than just one. Thought I would share, Enjoy!
Since the first Halloween costume that I could choose what I wanted to be (a Pediatrician) I have always known I wanted to be around and work with babies and children. I babysat a lot growing up. In college, I chose Psychology as a major and Child and Family Development as a minor, with the goal of working with kids and families in a therapeutic setting. That evolved to my earning a multiple subject teaching credential and subbing in elementary schools for a few years. I have always LOVED children, and I have been told by many, that they really seem to enjoy me as well.

In 2010 I had my first daughter, Avery Patricia. I knew I wanted to breastfeed her since all the books I’d read and all the websites I’d visited told me that was the best thing for her. When she was born (after a 12 hour-epidural-2 million cc’s of fluid-2 hours of pushing-vacuum extraction, labor and delivery), I had family waiting in the hallway and didn’t put her to breast immediately. When we finally got around to it, it was hard. She didn’t get it. I didn’t get it. And I cried out of frustration and disappointment in my hospital bed in the middle of the night all by myself. Until a lovely, warm, huge teddy bear of a nurse with an accent came in and helped me get her to latch. She rammed  my baby into my breast and she latched! It was a revelation and a relief. Upon discharge I was still struggling and went to see Nurse Rose at Kaiser San Marcos a few days after she was born. Sweaty, scared and emotional, I drove myself and my screaming, hungry 3 day old to sit in a waiting room, nervously rocking her car seat and apologizing to others. Then I was ushered into another room and told to whip it out. So I did, while 3 (presumably) LC students looked on and smiled knowingly as I tearfully told Rose my nipples were very sore and I couldn’t get her to stay on for longer than 1-2 minutes at a time. She said, “Ok! I can help you!” then she left for about 15 minutes. I remember figuring out later that she had 3 moms lined up in neighboring rooms and she flitted from one of us to another. She told me what bottles I should have, then left again. She told me to get the gel pads and put them in the fridge and left again. She had me weigh her, nurse, then weigh her again and praised me for how much milk I made. At the end of the hurrican, I clearly remember her telling me “I promise you, in a week from today you will be a pro and your sore nipples will be gone.” AND SHE WAS RIGHT. I was in love with the profession then and there, though I didn’t think of it as a career for me until about a year later.

As an “experienced” mom with 1 single, pretty easy-going, through-the-night-sleeping, well-nursing baby, my pregnant and new-mom friends were constantly asking me advice on everything from what to register for, to how many days between poops is acceptable. They would always tell me, after I answered with nothing more than my research and anecdotal experience, “You are so good at this! You should make it a job somehow.” These comments coupled with my experience led me to do some research and I found the UCSD program.

The first few days home with a new baby is the most terrifying and overwhelming experience a woman can ever have. My goal is to work with new moms and put them at ease about breastfeeding and related worries with empathy, humor and current information. I would consider myself fulfilled if I could help just one mom look back on that first week home with her baby as an enjoyable one.

1 comment:

  1. Tish, That is an amazing story. You should be so proud of yourself for continuing to breastfeed and in trying to help other women. I hope you have a great career as a lactation consultant.