Shotwell, a 7-year team member at Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital (RSMH), recently earned her certification as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. To be certified, Shotwell completed five classes and performed 1,000 hours of clinical experience with breastfeeding mothers and babies. She then had a rigorous examination to pass.
Breast milk is widely acknowledged to be the most complete source of nutrition for babies. Babies who breastfeed typically experience a robust immune system and fewer incidences of respiratory illness, allergies, ear infections and diarrheal disease. Later in life, the child is less likely to be obese, develop juvenile diabetes, develop heart disease or have a childhood cancer.
Moms who breastfeed experience more effective post partum weight loss and fewer reproductive cancers later in life. Both mother and child benefit from the quiet, skin-to-skin bonding time that breastfeeding affords.
As natural as breastfeeding is, it can still be difficult. Shotwell is trained to make the process easier on both mother and baby. She counsels mothers in proper positioning for latching on, tips for easing any pain, how to pump and store breast milk, returning to work while breastfeeding, and resources in the community and the marketplace.
Shotwell is a mother of four children, and she was inspired to pursue this certification after her own experiences with breastfeeding obstacles. She recognized the need for a local resource to help new moms solve common problems with the goal of improving breastfeeding success and thereby improving the health of the Shore’s children.