Dear Hospital IBCLC,
IBCLC’s who are actually asking for consent before touching, I thank you for your service. Those who are not, well you have some work to do. Let’s start by you should probably take a course that I teach with Robin Kaplan, IBCLC and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, as part of our Doula Education Program.
In the 6 hour on demand course available for purchase now or you can wait for a live version. We go into bias and trauma informed care, among other things that you may not have realized actually apply to your job.
I’m not saying this to be disrespectful, but rather to engage you in a conversation about the way we must remember to humanize people in lactation work. It’s easy for you to just see this person merely as a number or name on a chart, but if you could be so kind as to make the extra effort to see this person as a human with a struggle that you might be the only person and often the first and last person to help them.
On that note, let’s also do a better job of sending them home with valuable and tangible information that will not only help them to be successful but to thrive as they go home and continue on their journey alone. When I say tangible, I’m not talking hand outs and nipple shields--that’s another blog for another day--I’m talking about real care so if you do give them an intervention tool or something out of an “abundance of caution” be advised that in order for them not to fail, you must explain how to not rely on it and how to wean off it and most importantly after you’ve found the root cause and given them proper information and education for them to make an informed decision.
If you are not comfortable working with a particular person for your own biased reasons whether intentional or not, they are still harmful, simply as a colleague that is comfortable to take over as to not further inflict psychological warfare on a parent with a new baby that is already having a challenge.
So, want to know one of the easiest ways to begin to incorporate trauma informed care into your lactation practice? Stop grabbing and start asking! About 90% of my clients who have hospital births report feeling “violated” by an IBCLC due to the insensitive way of mishandling a persons body without consent.
If you want to help someone, simply try this statement “It would be helpful if I can see what’s going on, do you mind if I take a look at your breast?” you can also say “It would be helpful if I could feel your breast for (explain reasoning), is that ok?” Want to know what to do if they say no? Take our Breastfeeding/Chestfeeding For Doulas Nourishing Support Course, available live and on demand.