Q&A with Dr. Allison Baynham, Our Newest IBCLC
One of our pediatricians is rocking some new credentials: Dr. Allison Baynham is now an IBCLC! She makes our Lactation Support team a party of three and extends their reach to more families that will benefit from their infant feeding expertise—both virtually and in person.
If you’ve never had the pleasure of working with one, an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. They come to your rescue when you’re having lactation and breast/chestfeeding struggles, working one-on-one with you until you get the hang of things and your baby is making steady progress on the scale. IBCLCs are the best of the best for troubleshooting lactation issues, helping parents with positioning and latching, low or oversupply, anatomical issues, bottle-feeding, weaning, and much more.
It’s a relief for us (and babies and parents too!) to add another skilled IBCLC to our Lactation team. We look forward to sharing Dr. Baynham’s care and support with families during their infant feeding journey and beyond.
To learn more about what prompted Dr. Baynham’s pursuit of IBCLC certification, why she loves it, and how to schedule a visit, check out our Q&A with her below. Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment and for making the most of your pandemic downtime, Dr. Baynham!
Q: What first sparked your interest in becoming a lactation consultant? When were you first exposed to an IBCLC?
A: My first exposure to working with an IBCLC was in the NICU during residency. I also completed some basic lactation training through La Leche League during residency training. I really enjoyed it, so I spent some additional time doing reading on my own to help provide lactation support to families. My next real exposure was working with an IBCLC during my own breastfeeding journey, and she really inspired me to want to further my training to provide more support to breastfeeding moms.
Fast forward to spring 2020 and it just so happened that the onset of COVID coincided with an annual lactation conference that Irma [an IBCLC on our Happy Valley – Sunnyside team] emailed about, so it was a great way to fill some of the early clinic downtime. Once I realized how many CME (continuing medical education) credits I already had from doing that, I decided to go ahead and complete the 90 hours needed for certification. I loved the conference and to bring it full circle, the NICU IBCLC from residency that I first worked with was also participating in the conference, and we were able to reconnect in the online chat forum!
Q: What does it take to become an IBCLC?
A: As an MD, it is 90 hours of lactation CME and 1,000 hours of clinical practice during the five years prior to the exam, so clinic and hospital-based hours count toward that total. After you have the 90 hours of lactation CME, then you just need to pass the IBCLC exam!
Q: What’s your favorite piece of lactation advice/wisdom that you learned in the process of becoming an IBCLC?
A: I learned that perceived low milk supply and pain are the top two reasons that moms stop breastfeeding in the first couple of months, so to be able to guide families through what is normal and to ensure a comfortable nursing experience are invaluable in promoting breastfeeding success. I also assess for tongue tie and can perform simple tongue tie releases in clinic when it is impacting breastfeeding, which reduces pain and results in more efficient nursing and, thus, better milk supply. It is the most rewarding feeling to be able to address and solve a breastfeeding issue that same day and get mom and baby on the right track to meet her breastfeeding goals.
Q: What can families expect from you care-wise as an IBCLC?
A: Everyone’s breastfeeding journey is unique. I start by asking what the initial breastfeeding goal is, then letting them know I will provide support to meet that goal. I always emphasize that it is okay (and expected!) for goals to change over time, and we will celebrate each step along the way.
Q: What are you most looking forward to now that you have your IBCLC certification?
A: I am most looking forward to working with breastfeeding dyads (parent and baby duos) and being able to do a complete medical and lactation assessment without having to refer families out for breastfeeding support since timing is so crucial in the early breastfeeding period.
Q: What should families know about scheduling with you?
A: Consults can be in person or via video. The scheduler will register the mom and schedule an appointment for mom and baby, ideally 30 minutes each, back-to-back for an hour total. We do our best to accommodate everyone’s scheduling needs and are usually able to work something out, especially if a family needs to be seen that day.
Appointments with Dr. Baynham can be made by calling our Bridgeport location at (503) 214-2064. We look forward to taking care of you and your family!