Hey parents! We hope that you’re enjoying your summer, and that these last few days of rain have been a nice break for all of you pregnant mamas!
We have some big news to share today!
If you have taken our prenatal classes in the past, during introductions we have always said that Sara was studying hard to be an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Well, today we are here to say that she IS an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant! WooHoo!
This means that Sara has joined a global collective of more than 33,000 Lactation Consultants that are certified and regulated by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLE). To be able to sit this exam, Sara had to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, 95 hours of lactation specific education, lactation specific clinical experience, and must adhere to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs.
That’s a lot of technical speak to say that Sara can officially start consulting and assessing/assisting you with any breastfeeding challenges you may face! However, with the potentially imminent arrival of her own twin babies, we have decided not to offer this service at From Seed to Sprout until after Sara’s maternity leave is complete.
At From Seed to Sprout, we believe that evidence-based education can get you on the best path for your parenting journey. So you can be reassured that all of the education we provide in our online prenatal classes is researched and presented by not only very knowledgable Registered Nurses, but by an IBCLC, as well!
So what made Sara want to pursue this certification? In her own words:
When I was pregnant with Luca, I didn’t do any extra preparation in learning how to breastfeed. I figured that I had several years of experience teaching new parents how to breastfeed, so I didn’t need to do any extra research. And in all honesty, our breastfeeding journey got off to a good start. I was able to feed Luca shortly after the first hour of birth, and he gained weight well in the first few days of his life.
Then one night when he was about 10 days old, he had a night where it felt like he didn’t sleep at ALL. I tried feeding him, bouncing him, rocking him…everything I could think to do. The following day, he barely peed, and when he finally did, he peed uric acid crystals, or “brick dust” urine. This can be really normal in the first few days following birth, but can be a sign of dehydration later on. I called our local public health office and they suggested pumping and feeding him a bottle, so I tried that and he finally settled and peed. The next day, a nurse game to see us and suggested some techniques to get him feeding better, but he continued to struggle with his latch, and his weight gain was very slow.
We did hire someone privately to help with breastfeeding help, but the help wasn’t exactly what our family needed.
I continued to work with the public health nurses, and one nurse realized that Luca wasn’t really swallowing when he fed, just simply sucking. Breastfeeding was painful, my nipples were cracked and bleeding, and my baby wasn’t growing. As you can imagine, I was very stressed out-which also didn’t help! I tried every different hold, every different position, and many types of nipple shields. All of these things worked only some of the time, at best. I also realized at this time that a circulatory disorder that I have called Reynaud’s Phenomenon can not only make your hands and feet extra cold in the winter, but can cause significant nipple pain while breastfeeding.
I started to have concerns about my supply, so the public health nurse that I wound up working with the most suggested trying SNS feeding, or feeding Luca with a little tube at either the breast or with the tube taped to one of our fingers to help him work on his suck and my supply. As the nurse left our home that day after two hours of working with us (bless her!), I asked her, “Should I give up on this? Don’t people stop breastfeeding at this point!?” And she replied, “Of course they do. It all depends on how badly you want to breastfeed.” I took that as a bit of a challenge, and envisioned the day that breastfeeding would no longer be a constant struggle.
I wound up renting a double electric pump and pumped on a schedule following feeds to increase my supply, and I ate every sort of lactation cookie and drank every tea that I could get my hands on. I know now that the best way to improve supply is to improve baby’s latch, not taking supplements - but I was quite desperate at the time. Gradually, I began to feel more confident in my supply and the fact that Luca’s growth was mostly on track again. As he grew, his latch continued to improve, and breastfeeding became easier to us.
At the end of our breastfeeding journey, Luca breastfed for about 13 months. By around 9 months I had also begun to supplement with formula and of course complimentary foods, and so Luca was happy to bottle feed or breastfeed, and our breastfeeding journey came to an end without many hurt feelings for either of us. I did feel sad though, as we worked so incredibly hard to get through multiple issues to get him to feed well.
Looking back, I wish I had prepared myself a little bit more to know signs of a good latch and knowing that baby is actually getting enough milk. I wish I knew all of the different resources that were available to me in the community, instead of frantically google-searching in the middle of the night.
Through our entire journey, I kept thinking to myself, this shouldn’t be hard, I am a Registered Nurse with years of helping people initiate breastfeeding. I realized that if I was struggling - even with the amount of knowledge and tips and tricks that I did have - that probably other new moms experienced similar struggles - and may not have the resources that I had to make it through their struggles. I vowed to become an IBCLC to be able to help other families in our community.
So, that’s where we are today! This is just one of the reasons that Loreli and Sara had the idea to build and grow From Seed to Sprout into what it is today. We look forward to being able to offer formal consulting services in the new year, and growing the services that we can provide to our community of families!