Of all the challenges that come with new motherhood, breastfeeding can be one of the most difficult experiences. Having the support of an IBCLC lactation consultant is so important to prevent and problem-solve breastfeeding issues to set your experience up for success from the very beginning.
So, today on the blog, I’m happy to feature the work of a Lyon lactation consultant, Elise Armoiry.
Elise is an IBCLC-certified lactation consultant and babywearing educator, who has served over 1000 families in nearly 10 years. She’s also volunteered at a UK-based breastfeeding charity. She is based in Lyon and offers in-person consultations in Lyon and surroundings and telehealth worldwide.
In the Spotlight: IBCLC lactation consultant Elise Armoiry
What is the most frequently asked question you get from expecting couples and how do you answer them?
“Is it painful to breastfeed?” is a big question.
My answer to this question is that preparation is key! So that you know all the basics about positioning to start your breastfeeding journey with confidence.
And I also recommend patience with yourself and your baby. Learning how to handle your baby and your baby learning how to latch is a slow process that can take time.
What advice can you give expecting couples to help in their search for the right lactation consultant?
Find out what training your lactation consultant has.
In France, there are various kinds of breastfeeding support available: breastfeeding supporters (through charities), health professionals (midwives, etc), lactation consultants who have a university diploma, and IBCLC lactation consultants.
IBCLC is the Gold Standard in lactation support because to pass the exam the consultant has to meet several prerequisites, such as amount of training, clinical work, and gaining in-depth evidence-based knowledge.
Plus to keep the certification, an IBCLC lactation consultant need to comply with continuing education requirements every 5 years to stay up to date with the latest research and best practices in lactation support.
What are the main challenges women face when breastfeeding for the first time? What advice can you give them to prevent these problems?
Cracked nipples are one of the biggest big challenges for new breastfeeding moms. To prevent them, I highly recommend attending a support group or a 1:1 breastfeeding workshop before birth with an IBCLC-certified lactation consultant to help prepare.
Another common challenge is to have a sleepy baby, typically after a C-section, who won’t wake up enough to breastfeed. The best way around this issue is to learn how to hand-express the colostrum to offer it to the baby through a syringe.
What inspired you to become an IBCLC lactation consultant?
My own personal experience with breastfeeding my children. I gave birth to very premature twins in 2010, which started quite a big breastfeeding adventure. Then in 2013 I had my third child, and I went through new experiences.
That’s when I started volunteering as a breastfeeding counselor. In 2019, I completed my IBCLC training and became a certified lactation consultant.
I find human milk amazing, and I am passionate about research in the lactation field. We really just started discovering human milk properties and how powerful it is for both moms and babies!
I am also passionate about mother support, as I know how overwhelming motherhood and breastfeeding can be.
What services do you offer?
I offer breastfeeding information and support, in French and in English, at each step of moms’ breastfeeding journey, including preparation prior birth, the first weeks after birth, going back to work, and weaning.
I can also help expecting moms with all kinds of challenges, such as breast or nipple pain, breast refusal, tandem feeding, twins, pumping tips, unsettled baby, sleep, premature baby (once back home), baby or mum with a disability, and re-lactation.
I do online telehealth consultations (wherever moms are!), and in-home visits around the Lyon area. I also have an office in Lyon one day per week.
I also offer a wide range of free and paid online resources here.
What makes your work as a lactation consultant unique?
My approach is unique because I offer evidence-based information and advice during consultations.
I think combining “evidence-based” and “ethics” are two big values for me. I will only suggest items with proven efficiency and I won’t suggest expensive items that aren’t helpful.
A thoughtful process
I make sure that my working process meets the needs of the moms I work with. For example, because I know that sleep-deprived moms can’t memorize everything, after each consultation, I email a written summary of our discussion, my observations, and suggestions.
I also include a follow-up as part of my standard procedure. That is, I follow up after 4 days of the consultation to check if the adjustments I proposed helped or if the mom needs new suggestions.
Moms who work with me receive exclusive access to an online community that allows them to chat, connect, and share experiences with other members. My aim is to help moms to build their village, make positive connections, and feel less isolated and more empowered during their breastfeeding journey.
I also just started an app initiative support through my website where moms can access for free all the information about positions, rhythm, etc.
A budget-friendly alternative
My services are not reimbursed by insurance in France. But I want everyone to be able to access evidence-based breastfeeding information. As such, I offer online resources that are more affordable than 1:1 breastfeeding consultation.
How do you handle situations when things do not go as planned during breastfeeding?
I assess what the causes can be and make suggestions for improvement. That can be adjusting the position, pumping milk to enhance the production, or taking galactagogues, for example.
But my main priority is to support the parents in their choices as I believe it’s their child and their breastfeeding journey (versus imposing something I believe to be right).
When thinking about all the clients you’ve worked with so far, what is your ideal client like?
My ideal client is one who stays in touch. I’m always very happy to have some news, even several months after we met. Sometimes it’s an email with a photo of a gorgeous baby, and usually, it makes my day! And sometimes we meet again for a new step in the breastfeeding journey, or for a new baby!
What to do next
If you want to learn more about Elise’s work, you can contact her via email email@example.com or telephone at 07 49 50 67 82. You can also visit Elise’s website and follow her work on Instagram.
Check these other helpful resources on breastfeeding:
- The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding (Book)
- The Positive Breastfeeding Book (Book)
- Kelly Mom
- La Leche League
- UK Breastfeeding Helpline
Are you searching for a maternity or newborn photographer? You can see my work in the portfolio here.