From volunteer to hospital-based lactation care provider

In a sense, Certified Lactation Counselors (CLC) and other lactation professionals are working to render our field obsolete. As we empower women and shift culture and policies that support healthy families, the hope is that some day, the need for lactation specialists becomes an anomaly.  Of course in our current environment, the demand for skilled lactation professionals is great as our systems often make it difficult for mothers and their babies to reach healthy infant feeding goals.

Time and time again, mothers are inspired by their infant feeding journeys which leads them to explore credentials and search for positions that will allow them to help others.

Nicole Fisher, CLC, a mother of five, recently and somewhat unexpectedly landed a job as a lactation care provider at a Texas hospital.

“To be honest, I had no business applying for the job,” she writes in a Mom2Mom Global blog post. “The list of requirements was long and I barely met any of them.”

Fisher shares her story this week on Our Milky Way in hope to inspire others to “continue following what you are passionate about.”  

Fisher first became a mother 14 years ago. It wasn’t until she had her third baby six years later and moved to Landstuhl, Germany that she was exposed to the magnificently supportive community Mom2Mom Global through its KMC Chapter.

“I had always had a love-hate relationship with breastfeeding, but being part of this community inspired a love that made me want to learn more and help others,” Fisher writes.

It was through Mom2Mom that she completed the Lactation Counselor Training Course (LCTC).

“My experience was amazing,” Fisher begins. “ Everything in the class was very valuable to me and I ended the course with complete fascination of the woman’s body.”

Initially, Fisher signed up for the course because it simply interested her, and she thought it could help her to learn more about breastfeeding especially as a nursing mom at the time.

“I really had no intention of making it my career,” she says.  

With Fisher’s new credentials though and the encouragement of Mom2Mom Global Executive Director Amy Smolinski, she began to host weekly breastfeeding cafes and eventually provide in-home lactation visits as well as breastfeeding support via social media.

Having been out of the workforce for over eight years, Fisher applied for the hospital lactation position after returning stateside. Her volunteer experience with Mom2Mom was the focal point of her resume.

The hiring team celebrated Fisher’s experience with Mom2Mom and her desire to continue her education.

“I believe one of the main qualities that helped me land the job was my honesty that I don’t know everything and that I am always striving to learn more,” she explains.

She goes on, “I believe some other qualities that helped was my approach to breastfeeding and that I believe the education mothers receive about breastfeeding is key… also that I am personable, friendly, outgoing, compassionate, and a huge factor was my volunteer work with Mom2Mom.”

Fisher has been working with the hospital for about a month now. One of her priorities is to encourage skin-to-skin immediately after birth.  

Fisher makes rounds to each patient in “Couplet Care” despite infant feeding method. She offers information about skin-to-skin, feeding cues, hand expression, community resources, among other things.

Having come from an outpatient breastfeeding support setting, Fisher is working to shift her perspective to an inpatient setting where she strives to dispel breastfeeding myths early, like the assumption that colostrum is not milk, and instill confidence in mothers from the start.  

Fisher reports a warm welcome and overwhelmingly positive interactions with others on the medical team.

“They are so supportive and thrilled to have another lactation consultant on board,” she says. “I have felt so needed in my position.”

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