Allison Horton, RN, Mercy Hospital, recently passed the examination of the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
As a Lactation Consultant, Horton possesses specialized skills and knowledge in lactation management and is qualified to provide skilled technical breastfeeding assistance to mothers and babies experiencing breastfeeding problems.
Before becoming eligible to take the exam, Horton had to complete 90 hours of lactation specific education and 1,000 hours of lactation specific clinical experience. The Mercy Foundation awarded her a grant to offset the cost of the exam. By attaining the certification, Horton is able to provide quality breastfeeding care and share knowledge with other staff.
‚ÄúI now have so much more in-depth knowledge than I had before,‚ÄĚ Horton said. ‚ÄúI will be better able to trouble-shoot problems with moms and babies, and I now have more resources to utilize when more difficult challenges arise.‚ÄĚ
Horton explained that Mercy is striving to build an Outpatient Lactation program as part of the care provided at the Rhonda Kay Skelton Birthing Center.
‚ÄúFor the past six months or so we have been successful at seeing almost all of our mothers and babies a few days after they are discharged–it is really a ‚Äėbreastfeeding checkup‚Äô for both mom and baby,‚ÄĚ she said. ‚ÄúWe are getting very positive feedback!‚ÄĚ
During this checkup, Horton or one of Mercy‚Äôs three Certified Lactation Counselors assesses mother and baby in regard to breastfeeding and helps with any difficulties with the actual breastfeeding process. They develop an individualized feeding plan and provide follow-up as needed, either with Mercy staff or with our partners in public health.¬† Staff also update the patient‚Äôs primary doctor on breastfeeding progress.
‚ÄúPatients are really appreciative of this follow-up visit and I believe that this support and education after their hospital stay will increase the success of their breastfeeding journey,‚ÄĚ Horton said.
For more information about breastfeeding or the services offered at Mercy‚Äôs Birthing Center, please call 218.485.5521.