A Baby's Best Start

Nursing Center

Human milk is the preferred food for all human newborns.

- American Academy of Pediatrics

 

 

 

 

 

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About A Baby's Best Start

When I was a nursing student at Michigan State University, I became interested in working with moms and babies from the beginning of my career as a nurse. My first job was in a small hospital in Idaho where an RN functioned as labor nurse, nursery nurse and postpartum nurse. I remembered the positive words on breastfeeding from my maternity instructor at MSU, and I encouraged the new moms in the hospital to breastfeed.

Once I became a mother, I chose to breastfeed, and it was fortunately easy for me. I lived in Idaho where breastfeeding was more the norm at the time and I never felt like the ďlone rangerĒ because I was breastfeeding. Most of the moms I knew breastfed their babies. In fact, I was a member of a babysitting co-op of mothers and everyone breastfed. At the time, I didnít realize that breastfeeding was not the norm in much of the country.

I had a good model for breastfeeding in my mother, who breastfeed all her children. I remember how she suffered with sore nipples with my youngest sister, but didnít give up. I wanted to get involved. I remember traveling 60 miles to Twin Falls, Idaho to attend La Leche League meetings and I eventually started a group in my town with another breastfeeding advocate and friend. Soon after my first sonís birth I was offered the opportunity to teach prenatal childbirth classes and, of course, I also taught breastfeeding.

I remained a childbirth instructor, while continuing my career as a nurse, . Later we moved to Oklahoma City and I began working the night shift in the newborn nursery of a large hospital. Actually there was a great opportunity to teach mothers about breastfeeding on the night shift, because there were few distractions for the mothers.

Only about 55% of the mothers were breastfeeding in the hospital, when I started my work there. I learned about the new career of Lactation Consulting in 1988 and found that I had a great passion for the service. I spent two years preparing to sit for the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners exam and attended many conferences all over the USA while studying in the Breastfeeding Support Consultants distance-learning program.

Once I passed the exam, I was asked to set-up and coordinate a Lactation Program for the hospital. As I set about establishing a supportive environment for the breastfeeding moms, I met resistance mostly from men doctors. I was able to form a Lactation Advisory Board which served as a multi-disciplinary group to educate and promote breastfeeding. In the end, we were able to increase breastfeeding rates as high as 88%.

In the Neonatal Intensive Care unit, the neonatologists saw the enormous benefits of motherís milk for the sick and pre-term infants. After 5 years of work, we received recognition from the WIC program for being the most supportive hospital in town for WIC moms who wanted to breastfeed.

My husbandís work moved us to Austin Texas in 1995, and I felt I was ready to open a private practice. I called it A Babyís Best Start. I focused on helping mothers after they were discharged from the hospital. I also began to mentor and educate student lactation consultants. I have enjoyed practicing in the community very much and like having the opportunity to spend as much time as I need with each patient. I have found my work very rewarding and fulfilling. I feel that I have made a difference and I know that many of my patients would not have succeeded without my help. In Austin, I have been able to work with a pediatric practice and that has been a great relationship. It allows me to be on-site with the pediatricians and be available for immediate referrals. I enjoy the one-on-one relationships with my patients and have learned from every one of them. A Babyís Best Start continues to be a great experience.

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