Erica Robertson has developed a passion for obstetrics and newborn care since becoming a nurse.
Therefore, she was excited to be offered the opportunity to receive training to become a certified lactation counselor for Promise Community Health Center in Sioux Center.
To earn certification, Robertson took a 45-hour, one-week course through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. The course, which was offered via the Healthy Children Project, included instruction time, latch assessments and counseling competency exercises. At the end of the course, she had to pass a certification exam.
She now is eager to put what she learned into practice.
“The training has given me the knowledge needed to feel confident in helping parents realize and achieve their breastfeeding goals,”she said. “I can counsel patients on the importance of breastfeeding, help them determine if breastfeeding is the best option for them and their baby, assist with breastfeeding after their baby is born and help troubleshoot problems that arise.”
Robertson, who has served as a registered nurse at Promise since June 2014, said the health center has many goals with the project. Initially, the prenatal team will use her as a counselor for moms – answering questions and giving information to them – at a couple of their prenatal appointments before their baby is born.
“Our prenatal team already does a great job at supporting parents with their breastfeeding questions,” she said. “By having a counselor meet with them at particular visits, we can be more intentional about the education.”
She also will contact home-birth moms within 24 hours of delivery – a critical time for breastfeeding success. All parents will be given the option to call whenever questions or concerns about breastfeeding come up, including after regular business hours for urgent concerns.
“We want parents to know help is available, and they aren’t alone in this journey,” she said. “Babies deserve the best nutritional support possible, and parents deserve optimal breastfeeding support to ensure their goals are met with breastfeeding.”
August is National Breastfeeding Month. To learn more, visit: www.usbreastfeeding.org/nbm.