Julie Brill IBCLC of WellPregnancy Lactation Consultant

Julie Brill does it all!

Whoa boy, am I embarrassed of how long this took me to put together! Julie was one of the first people I came across when I started dreaming of becoming a doula and childbirth educator. She is among the most respected members of this community and has been dedicated to expectant and new families since she started teaching childbirth education and doing doula work in 1992. Since then, she also began mentoring new birth professionals throughout New England as a member of the CAPPA Faculty in 2003. Additionally, she is a Certified Holistic Lactation Consultant and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in private practice, offering in-home breastfeeding consultations. I am so excited to share some of our Q&A!

Q: Doula, educator, and then an IBCLC? Amazing! Can you tell us about your journey into becoming an IBCLC?

A: I am passionate about parents having appropriate lactation support. Often even small suggestions at the right time can make a big difference in protecting the long-term breastfeeding relationship. Babies want to breastfeed, so when they can’t, or it is difficult for them, they are showing us that all is not right in their world. I think Michele Fetzik summed it up when she said,

“Breastfeeding to an infant is as important as a breath or a heartbeat. It is a vital sign. It is a physiological function that must be accessed. If an infant cannot breastfeed, we must ask ‘why?’ and ask why until we have identified the issues that can be rehabilitated.”

Different types of breastfeeding support are appropriate for different situations. Peer support, in the model developed by La Leche League, is so important that the World Health Organization has included it in the ten steps of their Baby Friendly Initiative. I encourage people to find out where their local support is, whether it’s La Leche League, Baby Cafe, Nursing Mother’s Council, or Breastfeeding USA, while they are pregnant if possible. Seeing babies, especially newborns, breastfeeding at meetings before you give birth will help breastfeeding seem natural for you. It’s also helpful to spend time on YouTube watching breastfeeding videos. Google newborn nursing, laid back nursing, biological nurturing, and the nine stages of the newborn. I’ve written about what to expect at a peer support meeting on my blog.

For help with breastfeeding problems such as pain, concerns about milk supply, mastitis, babies who struggle at the breast, or transitioning from a nipple shield, the gold standard of care is a consult with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). We are the experts on breastfeeding. Anyone can call themselves a lactation consultant, so make sure that you’re working with an IBCLC. You can learn about the difference in lactation consultant credentials here.

Q: How do the services you provide differ from what one would receive in the hospital?

A: In the hospital, nurses have some lactation training, but if parents need more support or information they can ask to meet with a hospital IBCLC. However, many times breastfeeding challenges appear when the mature milk comes in, which is usually after the family is home from a hospital birth. This is when an in-home consult with an IBCLC can really help. The sooner we address these challenges, the easier it is to resolve them, so it’s always better not to wait if you need help. Under the ACA, your health insurance should reimburse you for IBCLC consults.

Q: Can you tell us about the support that you offer to expectant and new families regarding lactation?

A: Ideally breastfeeding education begins in pregnancy, which is why I offer prenatal breastfeeding classes. We know that when parents understand latch and positioning, the demand and supply nature of milk production, how to know when their babies are hungry, and if they’re getting enough to eat even before birth, it is smoother sailing in the early weeks postpartum, and they are less likely to struggle with nipple soreness. Interventions and choices during labor and the immediate postpartum can negatively affect breastfeeding; so, in my childbirth classes I emphasize options to help avoid interventions, and techniques to try if interventions have been used.

I provide in-home lactation care because, as anyone who has had a baby knows, leaving the house in the early weeks can feel like scaling Mount Everest. In addition, I like to observe breastfeeding where it usually happens, and I can tell more about a family when I see them in their own home. I always stress there’s no need to clean up before a visit, or even change out of pajamas; I’m hoping the house will look like a new baby lives there.

A visit usually lasts two to two and half hours and includes an observed feed, a history intake, an oral assessment of the baby, weighing the baby before and after a feed to see how much milk was transferred, answering questions, and creating an individualized, written care plan. In addition to being an IBCLC, I’m also a Certified Holistic Lactation Consultant (CHLC). I took this extra step to be able to provide families with more alternatives. At a consult, we talk about options, and what will work for you. Because breastfeeding is time sensitive, I try to schedule appointments within 24 hours. I can be reached at www.WellBreastfeeding.com.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.