Big Latch On & Workshops

Big Latch On & Workshops


They came, they latched on, & they went home with a spring in their step.





Here’s what happened when the Big Latch on and workshops came to High Wycombe in August 2019.









Every year, all around the world, from 1 to 7 August is World Breastfeeding Week. Individuals and organisations alike, are encouraged celebrate, collaborate and empower parents to breastfeed.

This year, I was able to bring something new to my local town and community. We met at the local Library for a 2 hour session with workshops from myself, a local independent Midwife and a Doula. For good measure, we added in a Big Latch On and the result was a whole lot of love and fun.





Achivements





Across the world, the BIG LATCH ON 2019 organizers counted.





  • 17,846 children breastfeeding during the one minute count.
  • 18,694 breastfeeding people attended.
  • 56,442 people attended registered Global Big Latch On locations to support breastfeeding.




We raised £36 to split between our local branches of La Leche League & Womens Aid – thank you again to all the local businesses that donated a prizes.









Breastfeeding Myths & Questions






My session, as it turns out, was far bigger than the 20 minute slot I allocated myself to answer the breastfeeding myths and questions from the people in the room. We got through a few but honestly, we could have talked about most of them for 20 mins and some, many hours!

So for those of you who where in the room and did not get your card addressed, Breastfeeding Myths & Questions (Part 1) is up now. I hope it gets you started on your own journey of self empowerment (this years #worldbreastfeedingweek theme).

Lastly, if you are sad you missed out on all the fun, and don’t want to wait until next year, maybe #SundaySessions will be your thing.
Get in touch to find out more









#worldbreastfeedingweek2019
#empower #support #wefeedtoo #diversityininfantfeeding #latchon #brestfeedingspecalist #breastfeeding #mum #dad #parent #baby #toddler #pregnant #midwife #doula #raffle #localbusiness #shoplocal #eatlocal #canva #library #communityevent






Is that even a real thing?


We are standing in our uniforms and she interrupts my conversation to ask, “Is that even a real thing? This lactation thingy? “





There is no attempt to hide the contempt in her voice, neither the less, I reply with confidence.





Yes! My full title will be an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) when I pass the exam in October. “





I puff with pride with anticipation of my impending status.





A medical consultant in the room, back turned to me, shares a joke at my expense with the questioning lady. They both laugh and I falter.









Study





I have been carting my 1000+ word textbook around with me for over a year now, fitting study into every available moment of downtime.





Once a shiny new, this expensive textbook now sports pages that are scared with notes and the spine that held it together, gave out a while ago.





Standing in a room of moking health professionals, I feel like the glue holding us both together evaporated in an instant.





Not uncommon





This is not an uncommon experience I am told as in the UK, IBCLC’s are not a recognised professional group. A lactation consultant is not a protected term either. Yet all around the world, it is the premier, gold standard in lacation education & support.





Through their training, an IBCLC has the skills to support every parent, from the normal course of breastfeeding to helping a family navigate the complexities of lactation during cancer treatment. You will find them working as Midwives, leading Infant feeding teams within NHS trusts, and running drop in clinics within the community.





Some IBCLC’s work even harder, to enter the field as a non health care professional investing even more time and money that their health care counter parts. It is a much needed profession, with much research backing up their value.





I have been on the journey here since the first mother-baby duo I supported on a maternity ward as a college student. Since then, I have spent 1000’s of hours (paid and voluntary) & thousands of pounds working towards this goal.





Parents want to breastfeed





Here in the UK, 80% of mothers start breastfeeding, but by 6 months 1% remains breastfeeding. That’s a sharp drop off and its not down to just one thing.





Since starting this job, I have heard all the staff feeding journeys and in their vulnerable moments even seen their tears. Very few met their breastfeeding goals and even though it’s not in my job description as a Paediatric nurse to listen, it’s in my nature as a Breastfeeding Counsellor, so listen I do.





So I hear the grief behind the words, I see how it translates into resentment and undermining of other professionals & parents alike. This is not sustainable.





It’s time for change









I remember a conversation with one member of staff, who was so angry about the levels of training of health professionals helping her family. She was enraged the IBCLC they had eventually seen, said they did not fail, it was the system that failed them.





I shared with her the amount of training on breastfeeding in the various health care professionals education and we both agreed, parents & health care workers desedrve better.





There is no one easy way to change the systemic bias above but what if we rethink our approach?





What if our next efforts to normative breastfeeding start with the next generation in schools. The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers has released free lesson plans for teachers & I love this idea.





Reading through some of the exercises though, I realised that some of the content would be news to people I work within hospitals.





But if generations of children know the basics of breastfeeding, the ones who enter healthcare will already be better breastfeeding advocates without any change in training. It might just work.





Maybe..





Either way, the next time someone asks me,





“Is that even a real thing? This lactation thingy? “





I shall reply;





“Why yes it is, and the fact you asked illustrates perfectly why.”





Then again, maybe not 😉










Tessa Clark BSc, RNc





Balances being a Paediatric nurse, Breastfeeding counselor (private and voluntary) & IBCLC exam candidate Oct 2019 with motherhood.


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