One of the most important aspects of being a doula is networking with other professionals in the Fort Wayne area. I seek out professionals with unique skills and perspectives, so that I have plenty of references when clients ask me for a recommendation for anything beyond my scope. One of these professionals that I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with is Taylor Banks, a Certified Lactation Specialist (CLS), who received her certification through training at Dupont Hospital under the supervision of IBCLCs. I sat down to lunch with her recently to learn more about the care she offers, and how lactation professionals are such a valuable partner to have in birth work.
What inspired you to become a lactation specialist? My journey with my son. I got almost no support when I was struggling, just a nurse that gave me a pump. I was totally alone, without friends or family nearby to help me, and I had to figure out how to breastfeed all by myself. I exclusively pumped for three months and it was incredibly hard. I wanted to help other moms overcome the same struggle I did.
What has been the best part of this profession for you? A ton of women trusting in me and seeking me out for advice in their most vulnerable moments. A lot of women have no idea about breastfeeding since their moms and grandmothers didn't nurse. There is a much lower rate of breastfeeding in the Black community,* so saving breastfeeding relationships is important to me.
What has been the greatest challenge? Not letting personal opinion get in the way. Understanding everybody's belief systems are different.
What makes care from a Certified Lactation Specialist so valuable? Education, being knowledgeable about issues that arise and how to support them, and having my own experiences. I can relate to other women who are having struggles with breastfeeding because I’ve been there myself.
What are your goals for the future? I plan to expand into birth and bereavement doula services. I’m currently training through Stillbirthday.
If you’re looking for lactation support, I highly recommend reaching out to Taylor! She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (773) 6161213. She also runs a support page for breastfeeding moms in Fort Wayne.
*An important note about breastfeeding rates for Black mothers: Data shows racial disparities in breastfeeding initiation and continuation in the United States, with African-American families being most adversely affected. I encourage everyone to make themselves aware of the data, and the systemic problems that have led to this disparity.
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Breastfeeding: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4410446/
Racial disparities persist for breastfeeding moms. Here’s why.:
Distant Echoes of Slavery Affect Breast-feeding Attitudes of Black Women: https://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2016/03/03/distant-echoes-of-slavery-affect-breastfeeding-attitudes-in-black-women/