Danielle Harmon, MPH
“I don’t have time for that!”
It’s a phrase we all have used at one time or another. Often times what we are indirectly communicating, “that’s not a priority for me,” or, “I’m choosing NOT to devote the time to this.” Time is a precious commodity. Sadly, when we aren’t excited about something or don’t see something as valuable, it’s easier to attribute our decision to the lack of time rather than admitting it’s not a priority. It’s just easier, and more convenient, to blame busy schedules and move on.
In the lactation profession, families are having to prioritize their time in a whole new way. A new baby, whether a first or subsequent child, has redefined priorities, schedules, and truly flipped their worlds upside down. When a parent is seeking lactation help, they are putting tremendous value on their breastfeeding/chestfeeding journey and have entrusted you, as their provider, to deliver value back for the time and space they are dedicating. Time is precious, it’s finite, and it’s invaluable. How can you make the most of the time you spend with these new families?
Lactation clients have diverse needs and backgrounds. Each parent comes in with a different lived experience, shaping their expectations, learning style, and understanding. While it would be impossible to fully comprehend every single difference, it is imperative to understand that they exist. The truth is, we will never be able to determine completely what someone’s needs are; but we can recognize that every person’s needs are different and embrace those differences by asking opened-ended questions and opening our hearts to understanding. Doing so allows our minds to embrace the unknown.
Creating value in the service you’re providing, as professionals and supporters, is one way to help new parents feel their time is respected, valued, and well spent. While it is easy to justify spending time on expanding your clinical knowledge, has the same value been placed on ensuring the services you are providing are equitable and inclusive?
As the Executive Director of USLCA, I do not see families clinically, but I recently had the opportunity to attend a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion workshop offered by a professional association which I am personally a member of. With two young children and work demands, I definitely had to weigh the benefits and the cost to my time (opportunity costs), but it was undoubtedly a critical piece of education for me and I am looking forward to continuing my education in this area.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a hot topic right now! Trainings are popping up all over the place. Access to knowledge is at an all-time high. But who really needs to participate? The responsibility to learn and understand is on each of us. Learning how to ask better questions, build stronger empathy, and grow in our thinking are the building blocks of truly equitable and inclusive care. We understand how challenging it can be to fit one more thing into your busy and demanding schedule and hope that as your professional association, we can serve as a valuable and accessible resource.
As we travel this journey together, each at our own level of learning, I ask you: Are you willing to invest your time? Are you ready to make equitable care a priority? I hope the answer is YES! I equally hope you will join myself, the USLCA Board of Directors, and other vested members at our upcoming DEI workshop this week. There is still time to register for the live event at www.uslca.org/dei-learning-series, but if you truly can’t carve out that time in your schedule, the recording is a great alternative option which will allow you to participate at a more convenient time. “See you there”!
The content of this post does not imply endorsement and may not reflect the position of USLCA.