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My Journey so far..

I was 9 years old when I told my mother that I was going to be a nurse – and that's exactly what I did as soon as I left school! And although I enjoyed my general training, the minute I started my midwifery I knew I had found my real passion. Working with babies! In fact I was so drawn to babies that I went on to complete my studies in Neonatal nursing. Nursing tiny little premature babies, and babies who have difficulties at birth, and watching them grow and recover, is enormously rewarding.

I was in my late 30's and early 40's when I myself was blessed with children of my own. And a far as I was concerned I was going to breeze through this motherhood thing! After all, how much more “qualified” could one be?

Well, suffice to say, I fell flat on my face! This was no longer me looking after a baby and being able to go off duty! This was my baby and I was now the parent and I felt like I had no clue what to do! The adjustment was so profound that I developed a new respect for the need for information and guidance during this life changing time.

I put together all the information that seemed important and started running antenatal classes in Johannesburg, South Africa, where we were living at the time. Yes I taught about the birth, but I really loved focusing on the time after the birth – from breastfeeding to bathing babies to helping parents have realistic expectations around Infant sleep. My practice grew and so did my knowledge. It became a one-stop shop where parents could learn how to prepare for the birth of their baby, and then go on to seek advice on feeding, sleep issues and even have their babies immunized. There were mums groups, baby massage classes and even baby gym sessions. And, of course, all of this lead to further studies and in 2009 I qualified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Unfortunately the political situation in South Africa did not seem to be improving and my husband and I started seeking a more stable future for our children. We immigrated to Australia in the January of 2011 – initially to Hobart where I once again found myself in the intensive care unit for newborns.

Finding employment for my husband was difficult though and so when an opportunity came up in Albury in 2012 we were once again on the move. However this came with a great opportunity for me – a new outpatient breastfeeding service had just been established at Wodonga Hospital and I was appointed to run the clinic. And that is where I have been for close to 6 years now. I have been privileged to walk alongside hundreds of families as they face the task of feeding their new little babies.

For some it may only be one visit and a few suggestions and they happily go on to breastfeed for months and even years. They are the lucky ones – those for whom the challenges are easily overcome. But for others, it’s a long hard road of challenge after challenge after challenge. Many tears have been shed along the way and plans are made to not only ensure that their baby is fed, but that they are able to cope with the rigorous demands of providing milk for this little person. Many friendship have been formed as we journey together, cry together, laugh together and celebrate even small achievements.

We are not always able to fully resolve some breastfeeding issues but being able to talk the parents through those difficulties and ensure that there is no guilt is vitally important. My vision is to provide education and support with the emphasis on compassion and understanding of each families unique situation. My heart lies with those who find themselves faced with what can feel like insurmountable challenges when it comes to breastfeeding. Women are so vulnerable at this time of their lives and they need someone to come alongside them and be willing to listen to their concerns and help them come up with a solution that suits their unique situation. They need to feel validated and not judged for a situation that is largely beyond their control.

It's with this in mind that I will continue to give to the border community and will myself be enriched by the interactions that I am privileged to be a part of.

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My approach to breastfeeding problems

I do believe that God created us as women to breastfeed our babies. It is an amazing, dynamic process that can be BEAUTIFUL! Breast milk is the absolute best milk for human babies. The nutrients are all in the correct proportions and breast milk can protect babies against illness and disease, as antibodies are present to help boost the baby’s immune system. There are hormones that flood through a mum’s body, which help with bonding and even getting your uterus back into shape after the baby is born. These same hormones go through to your baby and help him/her to feel contented and loved. In a nutshell Breast Is Best - when it works well. And for the lucky mums it does go well and lives up to all the great expectations that were promised.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT IS NOT GOING WELL?

What happens when your nipples are so sore that just the thought of your baby waking up for another feed makes you dissolve into floods of tears? What happens when your milk doesn’t fully come in and your baby is constantly crying and wanting to feed for hours on end.....

Get In Touch

At Baby Assist we are committed to providing you with honest and caring advice.

Feel free to talk with Wendy Pratt or learn more about Pre Birth Education Classes, we look forward to helping you soon.

 

0455 612 229

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Our Support Hours

Mon - Fri: 9:00am - 5:00pm

Sat: By Appointment Only

Frequently Asked Questions

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1. What qualifications does a Lactation Consultant have?

The IBLCE (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners) is a certification body that confers the credentials of IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) on members that pass the set exam. In order to be eligible to write the exam a person, usually a health professional, needs to have completed around 90 hours of lactation species education and up to 1000 hours of practical breastfeeding hours! Every 5 years the IBCLC will need to recertify to remain an IBCLC. After the first 5 years this is done by completing a specific number of education hours and after further 5 years the IBCLC will need to resit the exam. My next exam is due in 2019!

2. Why should I do breastfeeding classes before the birth?

When you are pregnant it is normal for you to be focused on the birth. You mind is set on that one event. THE day your baby arrives. And yes you have thought of all the wonderful hours you are going to be breastfeeding your baby, the moments you will spend lovingly looking at your baby while he/she breastfeed! You may have heard that some people struggle , but in your mind that is not going to be you. Your mind will just not let you go there! But the reality is that there can be many challenges you could face on your breastfeeding journey. Ignoring the possibility that things may not go smoothly can lead to great disappointment if you do face difficulties. By doing a class that prepares you for the reality of the difficulties that you could face, you will be much more prepared to manage those difficulties. The Baby Assist course is offers insight into the functioning of the breast and how to negotiate some of the most common problems that can occur.

3. What if my baby is born before I finish the pre birth classes?

This situation has occurred as babies do not always follow our agenda. Instead of giving a refund I prefer to exchange the missed session for a post natal visit. You will still receive all the written information given during the course so you shouldn’t miss out on anything important.

4. Why should I consult a Lactation Consultant if I am having breastfeeding difficulties?

When you engage the services of an LC, who is a qualified IBCLC, you will have many years of experience and study at your disposal to help you navigate the difficulties you may be having with breastfeeding. The ability to diagnose the problem and come up with a feeding plan comes from many years of watching babies feed! It is this valuable experience that provide you with the help you need.

5. What services are offered after the birth?

Currently Wodonga hospital do not allow private allied health workers to come into the hospital to consult with patients. There are Lactation Consultants that work at the hospital as well as the midwives who can assist you with the initial difficulties. One you are discharged however I will be available for consultations to help you with any difficulties you may be experiencing. Please go to the infant feeding section to get assistance.

6. Do you do home visits?

This will largely depend on my availability. I usually consult from Sarkon medical centre as this enables me to see more patients as there is no travelling time between appointments. If, however, a home visit can be discussed if this is what you would prefer and it is feasible for me to accommodate this.

7. What do I need to prepare before a lactation appointment?

Because the whole purpose of an appointment with a Lactation Consultant is to evaluate how your baby is feeding it is important to try and ensure that your baby is ready to feed when you arrive for the appointment. In order to achieve this please try feed your baby 3 to 4 hours prior to the appointment. This may mean that you will need to adjust the feeds in the 12 hours leading up to this time. If your baby wakes and is hungry before you leave for your appointment PLEASE DON'T FEED YOUR BABY! I know this is really hard but if you use a dummy and try sooth your baby back to sleep then you can start feeding as soon as you arrive for the appointment. You are your baby will benefit the most if the entire feed can be observed.

8. How can payment be made?

Payment can be made cash, by card or by direct bank transfer.

My approach to breastfeeding problems

I do believe that God created us as women to breastfeed our babies. It is an amazing, dynamic process that can be BEAUTIFUL! Breast milk is the absolute best milk for human babies. The nutrients are all in the correct proportions and breast milk can protect babies against illness and disease, as antibodies are present to help boost the baby’s immune system. There are hormones that flood through a mum’s body, which help with bonding and even getting your uterus back into shape after the baby is born. These same hormones go through to your baby and help him/her to feel contented and loved. In a nutshell Breast Is Best - when it works well. And for the lucky mums it does go well and lives up to all the great expectations that were promised.

BUT WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT IS NOT GOING WELL?

What happens when your nipples are so sore that just the thought of your baby waking up for another feed makes you dissolve into floods of tears? What happens when your milk doesn’t fully come in and your baby is constantly crying and wanting to feed for hours on end – on those sore, bleeding nipples? What do you do when your baby is jaundiced and sleepy and just won’t wake to breastfeed? What happens when you are told that your baby has barely gained any weight?

Your dreams of quiet times spent lovingly looking at your beautiful baby, with feelings of overwhelming love flooding through you, lay in ruins as you dread the next feed. The books you read hadn’t prepared you for this. You feel like you are failing at the very thing your body was created to do – nurture and feed your baby. The feelings of guilt rise up as you hear the voices shouting their condemnation in your head! You read the book again and trawl the internet trying to find the magic answer that is going to make it all come right. You look in your baby’s mouth as you have read that tongue and lip ties seem to be the cause of every breastfeeding problem there is.

What you really need to do is find a lactation consultant who will be able to evaluate what the cause of your difficulties are and to make a feeding plan that will ensure the following:

  1. A comprehensive history must be taken so that you feel that your concerns have been listened to
  2. The prime purpose of breastfeeding is to ensure that your baby is getting sufficient milk to grow and be content.
  3. My approach is – “Feed the baby while we fix what we can”. If breastfeeding alone is not accomplishing this goal, then supplementation with either expressed breast milk (EBM) or formula may need to be commenced
  4. Any damage on your nipples needs to be attended to so they can heal as quickly as possible. This may involve using specific creams or using a nipple shield
  5. Your baby should have a thorough examination of his/her mouth to check for tongue and lip ties (and no, they are not the cause for every breastfeeding difficulty despite what you have read!)
  6. You must be shown positioning and attachment techniques to get the best latch to make feeding as comfortable and as pain free as possible
  7. I believe in honesty rather than giving you false hope which will only set you up for disappointment later
  8. All feeding plans must be doable! Very time-consuming plans can be sustained for a week at best, and should be adjusted according to your ability to cope
  9. Most importantly you should not be made to feel that breastfeeding difficulties are your fault and you should under no circumstance be made to feel guilty about what has happened

I am available for consultations in the Albury - Wodonga region so please contact me for a consultation on 0455 612 229 (please leave a message and if I do not answer my phone I will call you back. Or e-mail me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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15 February 2018

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