As a now supposed academic this should appall me, reducing a 100 page tome that represents a year of my life into a blog post. But it doesn’t. As proof, I just started a sentence with a conjunction, so there!

If grad school taught me anything, aside from research methodologies, medical statistics intrepretation, ethics in healthcare models … I digress. Let’s try that again. If grad school taught me anything, it’s that there’s a shocking amount of information garnered from published studies that everyday people don’t know about. This upset me a great deal.

Based on that, I composed a thesis proposal for “dissemination of academic information to expectant women”, that my thesis mentor, god-bless-her, Dr. Anna Blair, kindly laughed at and told me sounded like a PhD proposal. And so it was with my next three proposals. Sometimes I bite off more than I can chew, like having my own thriving business, a 3.5 year old, a 6 month old, and applying for grad school … huh, go figure.

Then she said words I literally wrote down they were so awesome: “Why are you in this program?” 

She was right. I had abandoned almost 500 hours of internship hours in a different Pathway before switching to an academic Pathway for my IBCLC. (This is nerdy lactation speak – there are 3 Pathways to apply to sit for the board exam. Doula support and teaching hours don’t count. You have to follow around a mentor for documented hours, and I was lucky enough to have 4 mentors in NYC.) I switched because I wanted to know what would really help women breastfeed. That, and I was already reading so much research on a weekly basis, I knew I could do more with it.

Accordingly, she encouraged me to work backwards.

Research stats show us that attending a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class has less impact* than prior exposure to breastfeeding, partners being supportive, and maternal-influence.

*Gives you real faith to want to take a breastfeeding class now, doesn’t it?! Sign up now!

Getting back to it – to influence breastfeeding outcomes, I needed to understand those who wanted to breastfeed, as well as those who did not. After all, the women who called me for individual support or hired me for birth services because of my CLC, really wanted to breastfeed, struggles or not.

Thus my topic was born!

“Choices in infant feeding:
Why women choose to breastfeed or not to breastfeed, and when.
A crystallization method approach to existing research.”

Sounds super fancy, right? It’s basically a large scale literature review. More on that in Part II, I’ve babbled on long enough for a blog post.