Eliza was wearingLovemère Seamless Nursing Bra.
3. What makes you want to be a lactation consultant?
I love this question, and I'm excited to share where my journey began!
I gave birth to my second child at the height of COVID-19. Everyone was in an extended lockdown with me while I had my confinement. It was on April 21, 2020 - just after giving birth in the hospital ward, my husband and I switched on the television to hear the Prime Minister's announcement of the "Tightened Measures."
In my mind, I thought, "Might as well," because I didn't need to manage or entertain visitors in my house. Little did I know, that was the cause of my breastfeeding struggles - no visitors (read: lactation consultant) could come to my house to help me!
From the beginning, it was an unexpected roller coaster! I struggled with both oversupply and undersupply challenges. I was diagnosed with mastitis (an extremely painful inflammation of breast tissue) seven times within the first six months of my baby's life. That meant every three to four weeks, I'd be down with body aches, chills, a high fever, and painful breasts.
Each time it happened, I felt a sense of dread consuming my entire mental space. I would cry. I would feel lousy, useless, and defeated. Questions like why I was getting painful breasts every four weeks, why mastitis was coming back, how many rounds of antibiotics I needed to take, and how much more pain my body could endure would flood my mind.
Mastitis is known as the "milk killer." My milk supply was at an all-time low, and my baby had "brick dust" urine, which means concentrated urine crystals causing a reddish appearance in the diaper. Usually, this can be resolved by the baby drinking more milk, but my supply couldn't go up fast enough because I'd get mastitis again a few weeks later. It was a vicious cycle. I quickly realized that the confidence I had gained in breastfeeding the first time was nowhere to be found the second time.
Despite the challenges, the numerous benefits of breastfeeding kept me motivated to persevere. As pandemic restrictions eased, I had visits with two lactation consultants who educated me on various techniques and methods to improve my son's latch. However, it didn't entirely resolve my monthly mastitis episodes. It was during this time that my interest in mothers and their breastfeeding experiences began to develop.
While recovering from one of my mastitis episodes one fine morning and listlessly staring out of the window, an idea crept into my mind - "No mother should go through breastfeeding struggles alone like I did. I want to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)!"