NOTICE: I will now be running an extremely reduced consultancy service until the end of June 2019, to allow me time to complete a big project which you will hear about soon! I apologise in advance, as this means that I will probably be unable to see you. If you are local (in/near Kent) and seeking specialist breastfeeding advice, please see www.kentbabymatters.org for details of drop-in groups and alternative support. Thank you for your patience with me. Warm wishes, Vanessa x
As a certified Lactation Consultant I have worked with many thousands of breastfeeding mothers and have 20 years experience in this area. Whatever your concern is, and however complex, you can be confident that I will be able to help you. I will never approach challenges from a rather blinkered ‘one method fits all’ perspective as commonly happens, as this simply doesn’t work! Instead, we will work together to solve your individual concerns and to help you meet your own goals, in a way that is right for you and your baby. By using relaxation and mindfulness techniques as necessary in my consultations, you can also be assured that you will be in the very calmest and safest of hands.
If you are here because you are pregnant with your next child and have had past breastfeeding experiences which were challenging and potentially traumatic, please see HERE to find out how I can specifically support you.
My clients contact me for many different reasons but most commonly it is for:
Skilled Tongue Tie Assessment & Support
Milk supply (oversupply & undersupply)
Baby doesn’t ‘want’ to breastfeed
Reflux, colic & allergies
Engorgement, mastitis & blocked ducts
Slow weight gain
Transitioning from bottle to breast & breast to bottle
Weaning off nipple shields
Inducing Lactation (surrogacy/adoption)
Expressing & Storage of breastmilk
Going back to work
Premature & Special Needs babies
“I simply can’t thank you enough Vanessa! The difference you have made is beyond words….we have a happy baby and one much calmer and happier Mummy. I will tell everyone they need to speak to you!” (Leo, Tunbridge Wells)
“Thank you so much for being such a lifeline – the best money I’ve ever spent! I have told all my NCT group about you!” (Laura, Tunbridge Wells)
Figuring out what qualifications and experience people have in breastfeeding is far from simple! Here’s a short guide to help you to make an informed decision about who you are seeing.
Before becoming eligible to apply to sit the rigorous exam to subsequently become a certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), candidates with a health professional background, must first provide evidence they have had a minimum of 1000 hours of breastfeeding counselling experience within the previous 5 years and have accrued a minimum of 90 hours of breastfeeding-related educational hours (eg courses, conferences etc) also within the previous 5 years. After passing the exam, re-certification is required every five years and all IBCLCs must adhere to a strict code of conduct and level of competency.
It is important for parents to be informed when seeking breastfeeding help and support, that other related titles such as Breastfeeding Consultant, Breastfeeding Expert, Breastfeeding Specialist, Lactation Expert, Infant Feeding Expert and so on, DO NOT reflect any specific qualification or level of knowledge, experience or competency. Most often, practitioners using these titles, will have attended a brief and very basic level breastfeeding course (usually as part of a broader training such as maternity nursing) ranging from 3 hours to a couple of days. These training sessions do not require any previous experience of breastfeeding counselling or practical assessment – I honestly know as I teach them.
Women (usually!) who often work voluntarily and are particularly passionate about supporting breastfeeding mothers, may be mother-to-mother peer supporters who receive around 18 hours initial training and certified breastfeeding counsellors who can take up to 2 years in part-time training to complete their qualification.
Breastfeeding specific training given to doctors (including GPs & paediatricians), nurses, midwives and health visitors is incredibly varied. It can range from almost nothing (a few mentions in a lecture!) to several days. Where an individual takes a particular interest in this topic, they may have been on further training, use resources such as the GPIFN and some (like me) are certified Lactation Consultants.