Posts Tagged ‘ibclc’

Breastfeeding: A Historical and Cultural Reading List

August 16, 2010

[Description: The image shows a stack of four books, with only their spines visible. The titles are listed after the paragraph below.]

Shortly before leaving for vacation, I ordered a several books and had them shipped to a friend’s house while we were out of town. I’ve thumbed through them all and I’m so anxious to read them all that I can’t decide which one to start with! Here’s the list:

Not shown in the picture above is Breastfeeding Rights in the United States (Reproductive Rights and Policy), which arrived right before we left. I am a lot less excited about this book, as the authors don’t have any credentials in law that I can find and the one Amazon review the book has isn’t exactly glowing. However I still decided to read it because it may prove itself to be a good source of primary resources, even if the authors’ translations of the legalese are unreliable.

Amazon just shipped the following books that I am also super excited about:

My long-term plan (get my RN and earn my IBCLC through Pathway 1) has changed since I’ve found a place to mentor that is more or less local. I’ll be earning my credentials through Pathway 3 and taking the exam in 2012, then earning my RN degree afterward. So instead of continuing with my classes in the fall, I’m going to take a medical terminology course, take a 90-hour lactation course, and then wait for my mentorship to start (which will likely be soon after May 2011). Between now and the start of my mentorship, I’m going to study lactation and breastfeeding independently: right now I’m mostly focusing on the historical and cultural aspect, and saving the stuff that is more relevant to clinical practice for after I finish my 90-hour class.

I plan to write up reviews of these books as I finish them. Just thumbing through Milk, Money & Madness (which is where I believe I shall start) has got me practically drooling with excitement!

This is the Start of Something Beautiful

May 26, 2010

Yesterday I mailed in an application to a local community college.

I’ve been doing some reading, some thinking, and some more reading about school. I’ve been saying for years that I want to be a nurse, and that I want to work with mothers and babies. But I could never figure out in what capacity. I wasn’t really interested in Labor & Delivery, nor the NICU, nor Obstetrics. I saw myself doing any one of those things, but not forever, not as an endpoint, not as a goal. I’m a person that does not act without motivation. If I don’t have sufficient motivation to do something, I just will not do it.

So I never went to school for nursing, because I’ve been an unmotivated student before (twice, actually) and it never worked out. I’ve been a psychology major (fascinated by psych but I didn’t want to do clinical and was lukewarm on R&D and teaching), an English major (I didn’t know what I wanted to do with it, I’ve just always loved literature), and a business major (I had NO interest whatsoever in business, it was just the major I picked that I knew my job would pay for). I got As in every class but one (I got a B in Statistics; it was an 8am class that I skipped a little too frequently) regardless of my major.

But I didn’t follow through on any of my attempts at higher education because I just didn’t care enough to follow through. I had no specific goals and no motivation. So even though I figured out three years ago that I wanted a nursing degree and that I wanted to work with mothers and babies, I still didn’t make a move even though I hate my job and I want out. It was too vague a goal, and I didn’t like the options in front of me, and I knew I’d do poorly or even just quit if I got started. I know myself pretty well.

But lately I’ve been thinking, and reading, and thinking some more about lactation consultation. I want to be an IBCLC – an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. It’s not an easy certification to achieve, and the bar just keeps getting raised every year. You don’t have to be an RN to be an IBCLC, but that is one path that you can take. I don’t just want to be an IBCLC, I want to be the BEST damn IBCLC that I can possibly be, and I believe that for me, going the nursing route will help me achieve that.

The carrot on my stick is not nursing, which is more of a means to my ends, or even to be an IBCLC working for a hospital, but to provide services for those who are most in need of help to establish and maintain healthy nursing relationships with their children. I would like to someday start a nonprofit that will provide breastfeeding resources and guidance targeted towards teens, families living in poverty, minorities, folks with disabilities, queer families, and trans people. These are the populations that have the least support financially and/or socially to nurse their children, many of whom stand to gain even more from breastfeeding than their privileged peers would, and I want to help fill the gap.

And I’m not just talking about counseling or support groups (though I intend to provide that as well), but providing pumping equipment at reduced or no cost to those who need them, advocating for laws that protect and encourage the nursing relationship, building awareness and acceptance of breastfeeding amongst at-risk and general populations both, and negotiating mentorships for other aspiring IBCLCs. I just want to do so much, and it will probably take me twenty years to get there, but I feel that it’s a goal well worth the time and effort.

The first step is school. I hope to have my associates degree before I’m 31, and I hope to be an IBCLC before I’m 35. I hope to found my nonprofit before I’m 45. Tall order, I know, but it feels damned good to finally have something to work towards.