The 2018 Members-Only ALCI Spring Study Day was held on 10th March at the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland Building at University Hospital Waterford. There were close to 100 ALCI members in attendance and the overall feedback on the day was overwhelmingly positive. ALCI was delighted that the new National Breastfeeding Coordinator, Laura McHugh, was able to attend. Laura, herself a breastfeeding mother of three, introduced herself to attendees and spoke with great enthusiasm about her new role. We wish her luck!
Following a welcome to attendees by ALCI President Sue Jameson, the first speaker was Dr Justin Roche, consultant paediatrician at The Infant Feeding Centre and South Tipperary General Hospital, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary. He spoke about his experiences of doing tongue tie releases at the centre, and discussed the kind of post-frenotomy care that he advises his clients to do. Some of the questions that were asked after Dr. Roche’s presentation raised issues around lack of access to frenotomy providers in certain parts of the country and the lack of consensus among providers on best practice around the procedure. According to Dr. Roche a team approach is necessary for a successful outcome for babies with tongue restrictions, this includes a tongue tie provider, IBCLC, Bodywork/CST and post-division exercises. Dr. Roche made the pertinent point that we are all learning and that what we are saying in regard to tongue tie today may be different to what we are saying in a few years’ time.
Paediatric physiotherapist Patricia Weldon from the Rainbows End Clinic in Kilmessan, Co. Meath was also very warmly received. She spoke about the kinds of issues that she helps babies with, such as misalignments of the skeletal system, central nervous system dysfunction, stress, birth trauma and developmental challenges. It was a very interesting talk which provided insights into how these physical and neurological issues can make breastfeeding difficult for some infants. Patricia also spoke about how the “mother’s mind surrounds the baby’s mind,” and how as practitioners when can care for the mother, we are indirectly caring for the baby.
The AGM was held after coffee break. Two council members who recently stepped down, Helen Byrt from UMHL and Megan Shepherd from The Coombe, were thanked for their time and work on Council. One new Council member, Aine O’Leary, was proposed and seconded and welcomed on Council. ALCI still has one vacancy on Council and put out a request for a volunteer.
After the AGM, IBCLC Claire Bulfin livened things up with her very interesting talk about the web chat service, ‘Ask the Expert,’ that is provided on the HSE website www.breastfeeding.ie. This service is available from 10am to 3pm, Monday to Friday. It is a 35-hr per week role which is shared by 6 different IBCLCs. In 2017, there were 1588 interactions with breastfeeding mothers. Claire spoke to us about some of the common issues that mothers contact the service with, and some of the more unusual queries! Claire finished her talk with some music and managed to get everyone in the room up dancing, which was quite an achievement. It really helped create an atmosphere of togetherness and positivity, and the sense that we are all working towards a common goal.
In addition to all of the above, there were a couple of short ‘nuggets’ presented. One was by Dr Yvonne Fogarty and Ciara McCorley of the University of Limerick, who spoke about the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) which was set up by IBFN to assess and monitor key breastfeeding policies and programmes. Yvonne and Ciara made an appeal for anyone with an interest in getting involved with WTBi Ireland to contact them. The Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/WBTIIreland/. The other nugget on the day was by ALCI President Sue Jameson, who described the techniques involved in hand expressing and therapeutic breast massage. She played this video to help demonstrate the practice https://vimeo.com/65196007.
Sue also facilitated a workshop at the end of day on ethics for the IBCLC. The workshop included ethical scenarios that IBCLCs encounter in clinical practice on a daily basis and created much discussion among attendees. The resource for guiding IBCLCs in relation to ethical issues can be found on the IBLCE website as follows