Meet Stacy RN, IBCLC interviewed by Laura McLaughlin RN

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Hi Stacy! Let’s start with an introduction! Can you describe yourself for your readers?   

Hello! I have been told that many people describe me as warm and caring and very motherly. Being motherly comes very natural to me. People commonly comment that they love my positivity and positive energy as well.  

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your background as an IBCLC, including what inspired you to make the transition from Labor and Delivery nurse to Lactation Consultant?

I have worked with moms and babies my entire nursing career dating back to 1990, when I was a senior at OSU (yes, Go Bucks! OSU Alumni) working as a scrub tech and student nurse assistant in Labor and Delivery. When I graduated I went on to work as a Labor and Delivery nurse for the first 10+ years of my career. I really loved that part of my career and the difference I was able to make helping to bring new life into this world with families. After my 4th child, I experienced a lot of difficulty with nursing. I had nursed my daughter and my twins no problem so this came as quite a shock. I was given poor advice and ended up being hospitalized for 3 days with mastitis. I was really sick and unsure if my nursing journey with my son was going to work out. I was determined to make it work because I had experienced how good it could be with my other children. It was through those trials and triumphs with Zachary that I decided I wanted to pursue lactation and help other women navigate their breastfeeding journey.

 

What is the difference between a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor) and an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant)? We tend to hear them used interchangeably.

That is a great question and one I am asked frequently.  A CLC completes a 45 hour course and takes an exam at the end of that course and they are a CLC. An IBCLC must not only complete a certain number of education hours but also have documented hands on clinical time working with breastfeeding moms and babies. Both the counseling role and consultant role are needed but clinical experience is what separates the two. 

 

How did you decide to go into private practice and create Baby’s Best Beginning? How did you come up with your business name? 

I decided to open my own private practice after covering for another lactation consultant when she would go to Florida for the winter months. I fell in love with making home visits with new moms and babies. It is totally different being in a mom’s own habitat… her space, her chair, her nursing pillow, etc. It is very different than helping someone in a clinical setting. I love getting to know the family and modeling to them how they can best support mom and baby. I am so blessed to love my job especially with the growth I have experienced. It truly has been a labor of love! My business name really encompasses my mission and that is to give every baby the opportunity for their best beginning in life.

 

How did you come up with ideas for the beloved “Testimonial Tuesday”?

This idea blossomed one day when I was finishing a consult and expressed to this mom how great I thought her story was and how I knew it would help other mothers out there struggling with a similar situation. She said "I would be happy to share my story. Do you want me to write something up?" It is such a great format to feature some of the strength and determination that many of the moms I serve have. I have gotten so many positive comments on these stories and how it has been helpful. 

 

Over the course of your practice as an IBCLC you must have seen a great many women who are in a vulnerable place after the birth of their child and who are also struggling with breastfeeding. What is your message to those women?

Yes, post birth without a doubt is a vulnerable time! Moms are sleep deprived, her body is hurting and healing and her hormones ("horror-mones" as one dad named it) are finding new levels. Compound that with a traumatic birth and this almost always correlates with poor feeding at the breast. When I get called to do a consult it is really important that I do a thorough history to understand what went on during the birth and formulate possible reasons why the baby isn't feeding well. It sometimes involves a lot of tears and hand holding but I always reassure mom that I will walk right beside her in this journey. We come up with a doable plan to move both mom and baby forward. A solid plan and ongoing support is a significant part of how I practice. 

 

How has being a mother and now a grandmother shaped the kind of care you provide to families?

I would not be the person I am today without being a Mom and "Mimi". It is a huge piece of who I am and I carry this into my practice with how I care for my families. 

 

If you could give one piece of advice to a woman who is new to breastfeeding or pregnant and planning on breastfeeding what would it be? Additionally, for any support persons we may have reading this blog (i.e. partners, family members, or friends of women breast feeding) what kind of advice or direction would you give them?

That one is easy....get off to a good start and get help EARLY especially if you are struggling! Women spend so much time preparing for the birth, “the sprint”, as one mom describes it, when really moms should be preparing more for the “marathon”. Breastfeeding is something you will be doing many times a day, for months, possibly years. Women think breastfeeding will be "natural" which often equates to "easy". Studies tell us that 1 in 3 women will have some difficulty by day 3. Partners, friends and family, the best thing you can do is to be her #1 support in her efforts. Know what her breastfeeding goal is and help support her to achieve that goal. I love when partners and grandmas are part of my home visits. Studies also tell us that with a good partner and family support, longevity of breastfeeding is much longer for these moms. FYI-Prenatal and postnatal breastfeeding consults make great baby shower gifts! 

 

What inspires you to get out of bed every morning? Inversely, what has been the hardest aspect of your job?

I am so blessed that I have a wonderful family and a lot of people that support and love me and my passion to work with mamas and babies. I love what I do for a living as an IBCLC. Right now, I wear 2 hats. I spend half of my time as the NICU Lactation Educator at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. I teach the NICU staff about the beauty of breast milk and breastfeeding. It is great being able to share my passion with the staff and teach them so they can go out and make a difference in the NICU setting. My private practice has been a way to continue my practice clinically. I can connect directly with moms to help make a real difference to their breastfeeding outcomes. I am super excited for some of the projects I am working on to launch with my private practice in 2020. My goal is to grow on a larger level with an online presence to reach many more moms. There will be many great things to come in 2020! The hardest part of my job, that is an easy one, there is just one of me and therefore another goal of mine is to grow my team.

 

 

What is your goal for this blog space on Baby’s Best Beginnings and what kind of content can we expect to see here? Where else can readers go to connect with you?

Creating helpful content in my blog space has been a goal of mine for quite some time. My intent is to write about current and interesting breastfeeding concerns and topics that my readers will find practical and useful. My website is a means for readers to connect with me. Underneath the picture of the cute baby there is a grey bar with all the ways to connect (Fb, IG, YouTube, Pinterest) with me. Moms can also sign up for my newsletter and I also have online scheduling.

 

Okay readers, it’s your turn. Stacy wants to hear from you about what kinds of content would you like to learn and read about in upcoming blogs?