My lived experience of breastfeeding my 1st child led me to train locally with the Breastfeeding Network. I completed this training in 2005 and have been supporting mothers with feeding through the charity ever since. I qualified as an IBCLC in 2011 and became a member of the LCGB (Lactation Consultants of Great Britain). I currently work in NHS hospitals such as UCLH and the Whittington Hospital. I run community breastfeeding drop-ins and clinics as well as visit mothers in their own home. I also teach breastfeeding ante-natal workshops. I keep abreast of current research and attend many relevant study days and conferences.
I have my son to thank for introducing me to a world I didn’t know existed, breastfeeding and the village that comes with it! I stumbled into pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding with a sense of joy, apprehension and excitement.
Deep within, I felt confident that my body could weather the journey ahead, first the birth then the breastfeeding. I felt fully prepared and quietly confident. What transpired was very different from what I had imagined. My birth was long and traumatic – my plan was always to have a home birth – but we finished the long race in hospital (after a short journey in an ambulance, my one and only time) where many interventions followed. These interventions,
unbeknownst to me at the time, had a significant impact on the breastfeeding, which proved to be challenging right from the beginning. I struggled, emotionally and physically, during one of the most vulnerable times of my life. Faced with the real possibility that I might not be able to breastfeed, too much pain and too much pressure to feed my baby with alternative methods, I sought help and support. Thanks to a wonderful lactation consultant who showed me the way, as well as lots of community support, I persevered, and my feeding experience improved over time.
These early feeding struggles were transformative, they changed me personally and professionally. I had worked previously as a person-centred counsellor which in many ways made the transition to Breastfeeding Supporter with the Breastfeeding Network and then later to Lactation Consultant feel very natural. I consider it a privilege to support the families I work with during a real turning point in their lives. Cliched perhaps, but I learned first-hand as a new mother that it certainly does take a village to raise a child. My aim is always to instil a belief in the mothers and families I support that they are not alone, that with the right guidance, love and care, they will find their way, feeling secure and confident in their choices, and ultimately enjoying being new mothers with their baby.