.Emily’s Work with De-a-Luz Oasis as a Lactation Consultant.
Emily got in touch with a Vanessa, a midwife who runs the Da-a-Luz Oasis in the Sierra Nevada mountains. The school is designed for aspiring midwives, or midwives who are planning on leaving their current jobs to work in more rustic settings. Emily met Vanessa at a conference where she was working with refugee populations. Vanessa was looking for someone to provide an education to the midwives in Sierra Nevada region, on breastfeeding and infant nutrition. She asked Emily if she could create a curriculum and put together teaching sessions for these midwives to which Emily agreed to. Emily created both a 5 and 10-day programme for the school, and would also teach the programmes herself.
Emily flew into Malaga and drove into the Sierra Nevada. She arrived at the camp which was completely off the grid. The lifestyle there was healthy and hardworking as the locals had to haul their water from a stream 3km away and all of their food was bought from local farmers. There was no electricity but Emily instantly helped out with the chores and became a part of the community.
The De-a-Luz Oasis offer pre-natal health care, labour care and post-partum services to the women in the area. The midwives at the school are trained in home births but required more background information on infant nutrition, breastfeeding and lactation care.
It is an invaluable service they provide as the women who live there only have access to pregnancy care in a hospital which is an hour and a half away. The hospital is considered to more conservative and not as evidence-based. The women, therefore, need more options to ensure that they and their babies are as safe as possible.
Emily would usually teach around 8-12 midwives. In addition to the current programmes, Vanessa would like the organisation to expand to other rural areas. Emily loves being able to work one-on-one with women usually, but felt she made the biggest difference when she ran classes like these because the midwives are able to return to their own communities with a new and vital skill set.
Alongside teaching the health care professionals, Emily also carried out house calls. While there are paediatricians and health care professionals available, their numbers are low. Emily was able to provide an extra service to women who might need breastfeeding support if they had more complicated issues, making her stay there even more invaluable.
Emily’s goal is to stay connected with De-a-Luz Oasis, and the organisation she worked in prior to that, which was offering help to refugees. Ideally, she would like to work in new communities and perhaps English speaking areas. If she could gain access to the places where the women are being underserved she believes she can make an even greater difference there. Once there she will carry on training people within their own community and in their own language to really make a difference and provide support that is crucial and culturally sensitive.
Emily’s Top 3 Facts
1) A nursing mother is able to regulate her baby’s temperature perfectly. Her body becomes warmer or cooler based on her infant’s unique needs. One study even demonstrated that when holding twins, each breast will respond separately, with different temperatures recorded on either side.
2) A nursing mother and baby have a highly sensitive feedback system. The baby’s saliva on the nipple will send information into the mother’s body. By the next feed, the mother’s milk will contain specific immunological factors and nutrients targeted to the baby. Some research suggests that within 20 minutes of maternal exposure to a pathogen, her milk contains antibodies to that pathogen.
3) Breast milk contains stem cells. These survive digestion to integrate into the infant’s body. They can be differentiated according to the needs of the baby.