Today, I’m happy to introduce Lynette Beard, a local Nurse and IBCLC Lactation Consultant, who is helping to make breastfeeding easier for moms and babies in Winnipeg and Southern Manitoba.
I started out my nursing career on the Mother Child Unit at St. Boniface Hospital. It was there that I began to learn more about breastfeeding. I was given the opportunity to take the Douglas College Breastfeeding Course for Health Care Professionals in 2011, which provided me with a wealth of knowledge I could bring with me to the ward. My favourite part about working on the Mother Child Unit was the teaching aspect, especially about breastfeeding. I worked straight nights and you can imagine a large portion of my shifts were dealing with tired moms and babies who wanted to nurse nurse nurse! And once I became a mom myself, I realized how much more important breastfeeding was to me. Sharing my passion for breastfeeding is a joy and I love to see other moms find success in their own breastfeeding journeys.
I read that you are an IBCLC. What does that stand for and how does it differ from other lactation professionals?
IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It is the gold standard of lactation care. It differs from other lactation professionals mostly in its accreditation process. To become an IBCLC, you need to acquire at least 1000 hours of practical experience, 90 hours of breastfeeding education, the equivalent of a 4 year university education, and write the entrance exam. Once you have been certified, you then need to re-certify every 5 years either by submitting 75 CERPs (Continuing Education Recognition Points) or writing the entrance exam (This is optional every 10 years). You can see that to become an IBCLC, the process takes years. To become a lactation counsellor or other lactation professional, the process may be to acquire 20 hours of breastfeeding education, provide an assignment, and write an exam. Some lactation educator programs may differ from this.
What is your favourite aspect of your job as an IBCLC?
I love visiting women where they are most comfortable, in their homes. I’m able to problem solve with each mother in their own environment, tailoring their care to their home environment. I also love all the baby cuddles!
What services do you offer to families and what areas do you serve?
I serve Winnipeg and Southeast Manitoba – including but not limited to Lorette, Ste. Anne, Landmark, Steinbach, La Broquerie, Niverville, St. Agathe, Oakbank, etc.
I offer a bunch of different services:
Home Visit – In the comfort of your own home, I have a conversation with mom about her pregnancy/labour/delivery/breastfeeding history. I do a comprehensive exam on baby, including baby’s structure (body), function (how the tongue moves), mouth, and latch. Together with mom, we create a care plan that meets mom’s needs. We weigh baby and plot it on a WHO Growth Chart. And best of all, every mom receives 2 weeks of unlimited communication with me after our visit.
Hospital Visit – For those who would like to have an IBCLC come see them in the hospital before they go home, this is a great option. I’m happy to come and provide the same service as I’d provide in the home.
Prenatal Visit – For parents who would like to feel more prepared before their baby arrives, I come and discuss breastfeeding basics. I will discuss any past breastfeeding difficulties that may have occurred and how we can combat them this time around.
Full Online Visit – For mothers who might live out of my service area, I provide my services via Skype. The only thing we are not able to do is weigh the baby.
30 minute Online Visit – For those who just have some questions for an IBCLC but don’t need a full consult, this is a good option.
Tongue Tie Package – Many parents who find out their infants have a tongue tie have no idea how to move forward. And when they have a frenotomy done, many parents are unprepared for the difficult journey that follows. I am here to provide guidance and support, both emotionally and practically with breastfeeding positions and after care following the frenotomy.
What do you think are the current breastfeeding challenges for families locally?
I think that the largest obstacle for families currently is the lack of IBCLCs on the front lines. With the cutbacks on breastfeeding services at HSC, we have significantly less resources for moms in that first 1-2 days post-partum. And that’s a critical time in the mother-baby relationship where they are learning to breastfeed. Without appropriate help at this point, they are much more likely to have breastfeeding difficulties in the following days and weeks.
What are the top 3 tips you would give to families who are planning to breastfeed?
Take a breastfeeding class. I teach one once a month at Birth Roots.
Learn what normal newborn behavior is.
Plan to do continual skin to skin with your newborn at all times when you are awake in the first few weeks of his/her life. This will maximize your milk supply!! Skin to skin is magic!
Finally, how can families find you and access your services?
You can find my website here: lynettebeardlc.wixsite.com
You can find me on Facebook here: facebook.com/lynettebeardbreastfeeding