The entire process of pregnancy and childbirth is a miracle, and the health care teams that support families through this process are often seen by patients as “angels.”
After moms and babies have time to connect and bond, several team members from around the hospital visit to check in and provide extra help and support; one of them is a lactation educator.
Sharp HealthCare is committed to providing moms and babies with the best possible start in life, and for many moms that means exclusive breastfeeding. However, breastfeeding is ultimately a personal choice and lactation educators will always provide a caring environment to help each mom receive all the information and support she needs.
Marciela (Marcy) Escobar, CCE, CLE, CPHW, CIMI; Kika Sandoval, CLC, CLE, CBE; and Carmen Koning, CLE, CIMI — all lactation educators at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center — answer some common questions about this special role.
Why are lactation educators so important?
“Lactation educators empower moms and provide them with peace of mind that they are doing it right,” says Escobar. “We are a good starting point for moms who have many questions about the baby’s latch, position, frequency of feeds, milk supply and duration of feeds.”
What makes this job so special?
“It is so rewarding to see a mom get necessary information on something that seems so natural, but is unexpectedly difficult, and help make her experience a bit more pleasant,” says Sandoval. “When I walk out of a patient’s room knowing that what I have done made a difference, it makes everything worthwhile.”
When should a mom receive additional support for breastfeeding?
“Some of our moms may experience that breastfeeding is harder than they expected, which is why receiving support from others is key,” explains Koning. “But our moms are troopers and our support groups have really become a sisterhood. Some of our moms come back with their second, third and even fourth child just to see everyone and visit with the educators. We love these babies and their moms so much.”
At Sharp Chula Vista’s women-only, bilingual breastfeeding support groups, lactation educators address common breastfeeding concerns, such as:
- Low milk supply
- Difficulty latching onto the nipple
- Sore or cracked nipples
- Poor weight gain
- Returning to work while breastfeeding