After lots of research and a few very interesting conversations with IBCLCs in my area, I decided to re-evaluate my plan. Being that I'm not a nurse, the opportunities to work as an IBCLC in a hospital setting would be slim to none. I was, admittedly, a bit crushed when I first realized my plans were dead in the water... but it really got me thinking. I have a passion for working with pregnant/nursing mothers and babies, and I would love to have a career that really focuses on the childbirth and earliest parenting experiences. I know so many incredible doulas, but I'm confident that becoming one is not the "right" path for me.
So I continued to contemplate all my options and brainstorm all of the possible careers ahead of me. The age old, what do I want to be when I grow-up question... yep! Go ahead and laugh a little (or a lot), I did. The fact that I already have two degrees and still haven't committed to a career path is a little odd, but hey... I'll be doing it for the rest of my life so it has to be something I love!
Okay, I'll get to the good part... Nursing. Yes! Everything I want to do, every option I contemplated, all came back to nursing. So I'm going for it! And, because I already have my nursing pre-reqs completed I'm eligible to enter a BSN program to complete the last two years or an accelerated BA/BS to BSN program (about 15 months). I'm very excited and extremely confident that this is the best possible career for me, my family, and our lifestyle.
My intentions are to become a Labor & Delivery nurse, but I'm also excited by the variety of specialities and options available in nursing. I am currently applying to a few programs to start May or August 2013 so I'll keep everyone posted!
Becoming an IBCLC... the planning stages!
For many years I've been interested in different aspects of social work and public health, especially as it relates to mothers and young children. I just love mamas and babies!!!
In the last year, I've become inspired to become an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I have come to recognize the important role of lactation consultants through my work with young mothers, my own experiences as a new mother, and the challenges many friends have faced with breastfeeding. The reality check: for something so amazingly natural and wonderful, breastfeeding can be hardwork. Support, education, and advocacy from a lactation consultant and/or participation in a mother-to-mother support program can help mamas gain knowledge about breastfeeding and help to cultivate a wonderful, meaningful mama/baby relationship!
So I very recently made the decision to pursue my goal of becoming an IBCLC!!!
Finding all of the information about certification was a bit more difficult than I had originally expected. In an effort to help other aspiring IBCLCs, I'm going to provide some of the most relevant info I came across while digging through the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners IBCLE website.
First, there are three distinct pathways to become an IBCLC. This page provides an overview of those pathways to help you figure out which one might be best for you.
Ultimately, I decided on Pathway 3:
- I'm using my MSW degree to satisfy the general education requirements. However, I also did a minor in health sciences during undergrad so I know that I have taken the required gen. ed. courses either way... thankfully IBCLE doesn't appear to have a "pre-reqs with in X years of applying for certification" clause anywhere that I've come across.
- Next, I'll need to complete 90 hours of course work in Human Lactation & Breastfeeding. There are many ways to fulfill this requirement, and I referred to the list of LEARRC-approved courses. I ended up enrolling in a distance learning course that satisfies the full 90 hours. As I get rolling in the course, I'll provide more info and eventually a review of the course itself... promise!
- Pathway 3 also requires 500 hours of clinical mentorship with a one (or more) current IBCLCs. I am currently talking with the lactation department of a local hospital, with an incredible birthing center, about an internship this summer... I'm incredible excited about the possibility of this setting for my clinical experience.
And of course I have to plug all of my favorite breastfeeding support resources online:
And in print: