Ever since I have become a doula, I have also wanted to learn as many skills as possible to support and empower the families I have the honor of serving in my community! As a first time mother, I suffered through a lot of discomfort and misinformation from well-meaning family and friends that I do not think I would have if there had been a supportive IBCLC in my area. By becoming an Oklahoma IBCLC, I really hope I can help prevent other parents from enduring the obstacles I had to without adequate support.
With this goal in mine, earlier this year, I began my journey to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant or ‘IBCLC’. I hope that by building my breastfeeding support skills that I can help families in Oklahoma meet their breastfeeding goals.
So what exactly is an IBCLC?
IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Those who have earned their IBCLC certification are healthcare professionals who specialize in breastfeeding and work independently in collaboration with families to meet their breastfeeding goals.
There are three different pathways to become an international board certified lactation consultant. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE®) website states that “The pathways are designed to ensure that all applicants have a health sciences background, a minimum of 95 hours lactation specific education (including 5 hours of communications skills) as well as relevant clinical experience and adherence to the Code of Professional Conduct for IBCLCs by attestation. These three eligibility pathways permit individuals from a variety of diverse backgrounds to gain the knowledge and skills relevant to practice as an IBCLC.”
At the time of writing this article, I am more than halfway through my 95 hours lactation specific education and have already begun working on providing lactation support under the supervision of an IBCLC or midwife.
I have more in-person lactation courses scheduled with the Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center that will bring me even closer to my education hours as well! I have really enjoyed the hands on classes taught my OBRC IBCLCs. The knowledge they have shared with me has already greatly improved my ability to provide impactful lactation support to families as a doula.
I am already providing lactation support to families in central Oklahoma as an OKC birth and postpartum doula! I am typically accompanied by a midwife or IBCLC, but feel comfortable providing support as a doula and breastfeeding mother myself.
If there was ever an issue that I was unsure how to help with, I have mentors to reach out to who can either offer me advice on how to procede or join the support team.
In order to sit for the IBCLE exam, I must earn 90 educational contact hours and log 1,000 supervised support hours. It is a big undertaking but I am very much looking forward to the learning experience and being able to support and empower families on their breastfeeding journeys.
I am already so thrilled to be able to help parents meet their breastfeeding goals with my current knowledge and skills. I adore getting to learn new things, especially when they benefit others, so getting the opportunity to work towards becoming an OKC IBCLC has been fantastic! I am incredibly thankful for Jessica Cheatwood IBCLC, RLC and Deanna Norris BSN, CPM, LM for being my mentors in this educational process.
Jenni Jenkins – Sekine is an Oklahoma City Bereavement, Birth, & Postpartum doula and Child Birth Educator who serves her Central Oklahoma community. She is also a midwifery assistant with Holistic Birthing Services and began her journey as a student midwife with the Midwives College of Utah in 2022.
To learn more about Jenni, please click here.