I’ve finally found a few minutes to write about last week and my experience taking The Center for Breastfeeding‘s class to become a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC).
The Center for Breastfeeding is part of The Healthy Children Project, which was established in 1993 as a non-profit research and educational institution dedicated to improving child health outcomes in partnership with public, private and non-profit agencies. Healthy Children assumed responsibility for the educational services which had been provided by Health Education Associates Inc. since 1976. Through its Center for Breastfeeding, Healthy Children is the largest national provider of lactation management education for health care providers. More than 1,500 health providers, advocates and facilitators are educated annually through more than 50 offerings across the United States. When I was looking into getting my CLC, I was thrilled to discover the class in Burlington, which meant I didn’t have to leave Nora for a week and we didn’t have to worry about hotel costs.
The class met Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 4:30 pm at UVM, but being in Burlington meant I didn’t have to worry about being away from Nora. While I studied, she stayed with Mim (her great grandma) and play with her cousins, J and R.(Which was okay as long as they didn’t stop playing to try to take pictures.)She loved them both, especially Miss R, and had a great week.
Nora wasn’t the only one having fun — I was having a blast, too! I was a little nervous going into class; I had no idea what to expect, especially because the program is designed as continuing education for nurses and I have zero medical background. But any worries were quickly allayed by our amazing teachers. Our class was supposed to be taught by two women, Sheri Garner and Barbara O’Connor, both RNs and IBCLCs, but Barb was delayed by snow in the midwest, so for the first two days we had a “sub”…who was none other than Dr. Karin Cardwell. Karin Cadwell is basically a celebrity in the lactation and maternal/infant health worlds. She is the Executive Director of Healthy Children and is a member of the US Breastfeeding Committee, convener of the US UNICEF/WHO implementation of the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative, Baby Friendly USA, Chair of the National Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Breastfeeding Committee and Leader of the Eisenhower Foundation international delegations on breastfeeding and human lactation. Wow; she really knocked my socks off.
All three of our teachers were unbelievably knowedgeable, easy to listen to, friendly, and, surprisingly, hilarious. Of course it helped that I was interested in the topic, but not once was the course dull or dry. From the stories they told, to the photos they sharedthere was much laughter and joy in learning. (There were great videos, too!)
But it was serious, also. There was a recognition of the importance of the CLC role and the research being shared. Some might wonder how one could possibly talk about breastfeeding for 4.5 days — one of the greatest thing I took away from the class was just how much research has been done on breastfeeding and breastfeeding related issues. The research they shared with us was breath-taking. There were detailed discussions of the history of breastfeeding in the US and it’s breastfeeding goals, the challenges women face in getting breastfeeding off to a good start and maintaining the breastfeeding relationship, the major importance of hospital practices in the first days, the need for more breastfeeding support in the community, the benefits of breastfeeding (huge!) and the risks associated with formula feeding (scary!), nursing toddlers, weaning, contraindications to breastfeeding, and so much more. And each and everything they shared was backed up by real research.
I linked to a few interesting things last Saturday, but there’s so, so much more to share that I’m going to follow up with another breastfeeding links post soon. Friday afternoon, I took the exam and now I just have to wait (impatiently) 6 weeks to receive my certification in the mail. Six weeks during which I’ll be singing the CLC song:If you’re interested in breastfeeding or if you work with mothers and babies, I couldn’t recommend this class more.