At this point in my IBCLC career (the beginning, but also a long time building up to this starting point), I am starting to think more about something that really interested me the moment I opened the book and read about “cookie cutter” solutions. I really do love that word… but why? Breast milk is not a cookie, it is not a quick fix or a buy in. It’s something that is socialized and also sets up a baby for life, yet it’s got me questioning (with some excitement!) what is life itself?!
Cookie solutions are appropriate at times. When you are stressed and you need a quick fix; or an ability to put a simple band aide on something and ask it to resolve on its own. For example: nipple confusion is considered a discussion point for a quick fix in my opinion. Pacifier use to help soothe gas- quick fix. Follow up feeding with bottles is like a quick fix for someone that may need help with family dynamics. The nice thing about quick fix cookie cutter solutions is that they often kind of have a lingo to them and thus, you can kind of reach out to something or an ibclc or someone and let them know that you might need help in this area. But sometimes, you need help with something deeper, something deep down that the mother and child desire together, that they can only make happen for themselves in the feeding department and that is the nature of wonderment in the eyes of the ibclc.
As a new IBCLC, I keep my commitment to being sort of your cheerleader and encourager as my utmost priority. I’d like to thank other ibclcs for also building up a sense of trust in the nurturing department. However, at the same time I’d really like to question other things that aren’t really cookie cutter solutions. Things that the mom and baby can help themselves out with for example increasing hindmilk can milking the duct help with this, yes it can but it matters how it is done. Thus it is not necessarily a cookie cutter solution. Family issues around feeding, such a scheduling, wasting breastmilk, routines such as changes, need to be addressed but it matters how it is done in that various people in the family like their new role or find meaning in it. For example, if a mother is forced to wean against her own accord, this may be disempowering to the mother. But, if the baby is led to wean on behalf of the family, the mother gets to see the babies progress and grow with the mother.
This also brings up the point of theories. There is lots of literature out there on breastfeeding that is written by a licensed medical professional that does not hold an ibclc license. For example the book baby wise is a theory about following a schedule to get the baby some more hind milk and slowly distancing sometime between feedings essentially stating that weaning is inevitable in relation to someone’s sleep or maybe even in a broader sense tying weaning back into something that has to do with the mother’s body so she doesn’t get too depressed when weaning. For example, maybe switching or not switching sides in relation to feeding or maybe that how a mom deals with engorgement sets her up for the nature of her breastfeeding experience or maybe thinking about how some feedings can be lighter than others in relation to the breastfeeding experience.
As a new ibclc it is nice to give myself permission to use cookie cutter solutions in the form of education but also thinking about the power of either not using a cookie cutter theory solution or backing up your idea with concepts from a theory because this is the nature of connecting breastfeeding to humanity and letting everybody decide and grow in the breastfeeding world for themselves. For example, it is okay to pump and dump when drinking but using awareness of how alcohol might be affecting your milk might be better. Keeping milk moving through engorgement might be best for preventing mastitis but may lead to more engorgement issues to be dealt with affecting breastfeeding. Keeping the mother and baby a dyad can help with this issue because one may help another but at the same time keeping the mother and baby a dyad might be harder for someone going back to work or just wanting a sense of independence from their baby. A mother who is aware of her baby and her baby’s needs is stronger than an ibclc any day of the week, but it doesn’t mean that an ibclc can’t be helpful in any situation.
I want to change the world in relation to breastfeeding, I want to get out there and take some risks and some of my ideas may be sort of new and different, for example possibly starting breastfeeding education earlier in some cultures where formula is over utilized or giving mom’s independence in areas where other cultures where moms are rooted down to their homes but at the same time, it doesn’t mean that we can’t be on different pages of breastfeeding and it also means that as a people this begins the ibclc’s journey and this is essentially why I have started this blog. We are all different and yet all the same.