Evon Lavergne-Prudhomme, CLC, IBCLC was led to maternal child health advocacy sixteen years ago when she became pregnant with her son. On her path to motherhood, she sought and found information and support from WIC, nursed her son until he was over two years old and eventually became a WIC peer counselor.
When her son was about seven years old, he went to visit his aunt who had just had a baby.
“She was new to the breastfeeding world and she was panicking,” Lavergne-Prudhomme remembers. “My son was like, ‘It’s really simple: all you have to do is put the baby to the breast. Just call my mom!”
“For me, that was the greatest story,” she continues. “My son, who knew he was breastfed and understood why we breastfeed, was able to advocate for someone else in the family.”
Today, her teenaged son continues the conversation around infant feeding with his peers, and Lavergne-Prudhomme serves families from a range of backgrounds in Lake Charles and surrounding areas in Louisiana through her home visiting service Back@theBreast with E.B.A.B.ES. Lavergne-Prudhomme also makes hospital visits at families’ requests and facilitates prenatal education.
Lavergne-Prudhomme reports hearing many stories about SIDS, prematurity, and other tragic outcomes in her state.
“Moms are having to try to understand what’s going on,” she says.
With this in mind, Lavergne-Prudhomme has made education an integral part of her work.
“Health care really starts with mom,” she states. “If they’re healthy, their kids end up being healthy.”
She also stresses health education for families so that they can make informed decisions based on their needs.
“For me, it goes beyond a financial gain,” she adds. “It’s always making sure that the families I serve understand the importance of good health outcomes, the importance of breastfeeding, the importance of being able to have that voice for themselves, so they can actually turn around and advocate for others.”
This month, Lavergne-Prudhomme’s Back@theBreast will bridge services with Cafe au Lait to offer once a month, free community support gatherings. The peer-to-peer support model is facilitated by an advocate of color with lactation care credentials to ensure families receive evidence-based information.
Lavergne-Prudhomme’s reach extends further. She’ll teach basic breastfeeding education with a couple of other colleagues through Community Birth Companion’s doula training in March.
In April, she will host Healthy Children Project’s Maternal Infant Assessment.
Lavergne-Prudhomme quotes the Old Testament’s Book of Hosea: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…” So, she works tirelessly to empower the families she supports helping them thrive and flourish.