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147. Why I Can’t Live Without My Mentee And Why You Want One Too, If You're An IBCLC

A little more about the inner workings of my business and why I can't live with my mentee's. If you have any interest in becoming an IBCLC one day or if you’re currently an IBCLC and don’t have a mentee, this episode is for you.  I'm sharing how to make a mentoring a win/win situation. 


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Read the full transcript here:

Welcome to the breezy babies podcast. This is episode 147. Why I can't live without my mentee.
Could you use more confidence as a parent? Welcome to the happy place for boobs and babies. You're in good hands. Breezy babies is where we ease your transition into parenthood because it's a bumpy road, am I right? I'm your host Bri the IBCLC. And if you'd like to make life as a parent more breezy, you're in the right place. I'm here to deliver small bite sized tips and tricks so you can crush your parenting and lactation goals. I'm honored to be on this journey with you. Let's go.
Hey there, my friends, it's so good to be back with you for another week of the razor babies Podcast. Today, I am switching gears just a little bit. And I am going to talk about why you want to mentor if you are an IBCLC lactation consultant. So this episode is going to be a little bit more about the inner workings of my business, which will be of interest to some of you. I'm not sure all of you. But that's fine. If you have any interest in becoming an IBCLC, one day, you will want to listen to this episode. Also, if you're currently an IBCLC as of this moment, and you do not have a mentee or feel like they would take up a lot of your time. Without much in return, you will absolutely want to listen to this episode today.
Today's podcast episode is an episode about how to work smarter and not harder in your business. So just to set up the background a little bit here, if you're not familiar with the process of becoming an IBCLC Well, first of all, I do have a podcast episode on that I really focus a lot on pathway one, because that's the pathway that I took to get my ibclc certification. But if you're not familiar with getting that certification, there are three pathways that you can take. The pathway that I want to focus on today is pathway three, which includes a mentorship, it includes mentoring with someone who isn't already an ibclc, who learning from them, spending time with them. And when I say spending time, I mean 500 hours learning with them. And you have to complete those 500 hours along with some other training and courses before you can take your your certification to receive your ibclc. Now, it's can be tricky to find people to mentor you I have a lot of people reach out to me and ask if I will mentor them. I've set a low. I've said no to a lot of people over the years for different reasons.
And I found I feel bad that I do have to say no to so many people because I found that most ibclcs do not want to mentor and have no interest in doing it whatsoever. So my goal today is to explain a little bit more about why it might be useful to rethink that frame of mind and actually have a mentorship in your practice. So I want to tell you a little bit of story recently, towards the end of last year my mentee Sabrina was visiting from California you probably have heard me talk about Sabrina before. If you haven't or need a reminder, she is mentoring with me. She's working towards earning her IBCLC certification and she's slowly chipping away at her 500 hours of mentoring with me. She has been my right arm since mid 2022. She takes notes during my consultations are at least the ones that she's able to sit in on she makes sure the forms are sent in before the consultation. She sends the care plan after the consultation and even submits the notes to be billed by insurance for our lactation network clients. She is so helpful and does so much work for me and I can't wait to see her become an IBCLC over the next couple of years. Yes, that's how long it takes to get your IBCLC certification. It takes years. There is something crazy about Sabrina she actually is my cousin's sister in law. So that's not a close enough relationship for me to have known her before my cousin connected us all. Though I had heard my cousin mentioned her name over the years of her being married. Anyway, she came to visit her nephew and in-laws and I got the amazing opportunity to take her out to take Sabrina out for brunch at a fancy little restaurant in Draper, Utah called Gorman ds. So that time with her is what kind of inspired me to record this podcast episode. But before we get too much into that, I want to even start back even more at the bait at the very beginning. In the very beginning, when I first became an IBCLC, that was in 2017. And again, almost that entire time since I have been an IBCLC. I've had multiple people ask if they could mentor with me as they work towards getting their hours for their IBCLC certification. I've always said no, it sounded like a lot of work. It sounded like a lot of extra time. I mean, sure, I wanted to give back to my profession and help someone else along the way, but I just wasn't in a good place to do it. I was a consultant for another Lactation Group here in Utah. So I didn't have all the control over decisions like that. Plus, I really didn't work many hours, maybe a consult a week, honestly, in the beginning is what I did, because I was still teaching child birthing and breastfeeding classes at my local hospital.
So I was really nervous to take on a mentorship and I really never planned on doing it. Fast forward to 2020 COVID starts bad breakup with that Lactation Group left in shambles and all the ways my business might work, my livelihood was basically non existent. Such a stressful such a stressful time, I can't even tell you. Absolutely the low of lows as an IBCLC. And honestly, just in my life as general. Now, before you get too depressed things did end well I held on to what I had with baby massage. And I started infant massage with Brianne 2020. That slowly morphed into Breezy Babies around 2021. I slowly put the pieces of my career back together. Most of 2021 I didn't honestly even have a business, I basically just did tons of work for little to no reimbursement. The entire year. 2022 is finally where things started to improve. That was the year I could finally say I had a business, a real business that was actually bringing in some income and I had clients again, so exciting. I had one girl reached out to me in the beginning of 2022 asked me if she could mentor with me. She actually lived in the Middle East clear on the other side of the world. But I knew we could do virtual mentoring. And that would work. And we talked about the time difference. And we decided to give it a go and see how it went. Well before we even got started. She dropped out her family needed her focus and it just wasn't the right time at all. Okay, I thought well, maybe I wasn't ready for a mentee after all. But my heart had slightly opened up to the idea of it. Fast forward to spring of 2022. Just a few months later, my cousin actually reached out to me and said her sister in law who lived in California was working towards becoming an IBCLC and needed a mentor. She said her name was Sabrina. And heard I again I had heard my cousin mentioned Sabrina before. But like I said she lived in California and I had never met her. In fact, I had never even seen a picture of her. But we set up a call we chatted over zoom. Around that same time I reached out to some of my IBCLC friends who live around the country and said tell me everything about being a mentor. The Good, the Bad, the Ugly. Is it really something I want to do? They both told me yes, you do want a mentee, they help so much. They take all the notes during your consultations and eventually do consults on their own while you're the one listening in. They basically become your right arm. Okay, I knew I was ready to do this the right time had finally come. So mid 2020 to five years into my career as an ibclc. I accepted Sabrina as my first mentee. And let me just say it has been great. has it taken me more time to mentor her teacher? Yes, especially in the beginning when I was teaching her all the ins and outs of scheduling and charting and consulting and care plans and Doctor reports of billing to insurance and all the things
and the main point I want to make here is that time investing
meant with your mentorship absolutely pays off. And I know that many professions do internships mentorships. This is not something that is just specific to lactation. So even if you are not an IBCLC, you do not do lactation specifically, if you ever have the option to be an intern to someone to mentor someone, to bring them on to teach them more about what you do you want to do it, it is an investment that absolutely pays off. Lately, Sabrina has been busy with her college courses as she works towards completing her own IBCLC certification. And let me just tell you, I have missed her so much. Her absence has been so missed during my consultations, she normally is present virtually at the majority of my in person and virtual consultations. She listens in over secure video and takes notes. Even if I'm physically with a client and she's in a different state, she still can listen in and take notes. And it works really well. I'm currently at the time of this recording and the process of bringing on more mentees. Probably four more, actually, can you believe that four new mentees and that's even after I had to turn many others away, and I even have more on my waitlist that want to join later this year or beginning of next year. It is such a huge need. There are so many people who are looking for mentorships like this. And what's cool is that some of the other IBCLCs on my team are finally getting to the point where they can have their own mentee, they are feeling confident enough in their charting and assessing skills to now turn around and help someone else along the way towards getting their IBCLC, which is so cool. So fulfilling. So I want to break this down a little bit more now that I've kind of explained a little bit of the background of this all and I want to share my top three tips for you of why you want to mentor if you are an IBCLC. Tip number one is, you know enough, don't underestimate what you know, it's easy, I think, especially as a woman to think you aren't qualified enough or you don't know enough to teach someone else. But that's probably not true. Think back to when you were first working towards getting your IBCLC or whatever your certification is, you probably knew nothing about the actual work. Even if you're working towards your ibclc. And you taught breastfeeding before you probably really knew nothing about how to actually get started as an IBCLC. Myself, I worked on a postpartum unit for five years helping families with breastfeeding then I went on to teach child birthing and breastfeeding classes. That sounds pretty dang qualified. But I still had a lot to learn. And I was so thankful for those who knew more than me, and were willing to share their knowledge and help me get started. Seven years in and now Yes, I still learn every single day, but I feel much more confident in my skills and knowledge. And you know what? I didn't have to wait so long to mentor someone I had a lot to offer years ago. So you don't have to wait until X amount of years before you can feel qualified to mentor someone. In fact, listen to this. Holly on my team started in private practice last fall. Okay, I'm talking fall 2022. She started out slow, but this year are now in the beginning of 2023. She has been so busy with consultations. She's been killing it and she is now full time private practice with breezy babies, which is so cool. It's not I mean, we were we're just barely getting to spring right now. So that's about a half year later. And she's working with me to get set up at the time of this recording. With her first mentee. I am so excited to teach her how to do it and I know that she's going to do great. Alright, tip number two is put your mentee to work. Your mentee is not there to look pretty and observe in the background and take extra time from your day to explain every little detail. No way. In fact, to meet the requirements to get their hours. Your mentee needs to be actively involved. I think the biggest reason that I waited so long to get a mentee is I already had no extra time and thoughts training someone would be just a bigger time suck
One of my wiser, more experienced IBCLC friends helped me overcome this. And I hope to do the same for you right now. Yes, you that is listening. My IBCLC friend, her name is Kelly and she is in Denver. She explained to me that a mentee is a helper. In fact, her mentees gave her more time not less how they did her charting during consultations, they completed care plans, they submitted to insurance, they do all this stuff that is IBCLCs. We don't really love doing anyway, we just want to be with our clients and help them we know that the charting is 100% necessary, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we love doing it. So how amazing to have a helper to do all that back-end stuff for you, and eventually work up to the level of doing consultations themselves with you there as a backup. that mind shift was everything to me and I have found it to be so true. Okay, tip number three is follow the IV CLE guidelines. There are some very honestly vague, I'm gonna call them vague rules to having a min team. I don't feel like they're
as detailed or as complete as I would have liked them to be. But basically, the process is on the IBCLC website, you first have to fill out an application to be approved, before the hours of mentorship can actually start counting PS as a mentee, did you know that you get CPE credit for mentoring? It's not a lot, honestly. But I it is something okay. So if you read through the requirements on the IBCLC website, I want you to be really clear with your mentee about what you will expect, for example, with the Will this be paid or unpaid. What does the timeline look like? Look like having a clear contract in place before you start is so smart. And so important. Now, one heads up at the time of this recording, mentees can complete 100% of their hours virtually later this year. I believe right now it's scheduled for September of 2023. Those rules may be changing. Maybe a portion of ours will need to be completed in person, maybe all maybe it will stay 100% virtual we just don't know yet. So I do suggest that you stay up to date on those through the IBCLE website on what the current guidelines are
at the time that you're ready to take on a mentor or a mentee.
So there you have it, Have I convinced you to have a mentee yet. Honestly, a dream of mine is to coach other IBCLCs on how to set up their own thriving private practice business through mentoring and bringing on contracted lactation consultants. That would be so fun, one of my long term goals.
But for now, again, those top three tips for why you want to mentor if you are an IBCLC. Number one was, you know enough, number two was put your mentee to work. And number three was follow the IBCLC guidelines. I hope this was helpful to you if you have an ibclc friend who does not have a mentee and you're thinking oh, wow, they need to know this information as well. Will you do me a favor and please share this podcast episode with them. Every time you share about this podcast, leave a review that makes it so that other people can find those podcasts and benefit from the information as well. PS if you ever have a question about a certain topic, you're you can't find a certain topic, but you think that I have a podcast episode on it. If you go to breezy, And in the search bar, you just click in your topic. For example, if you type in, let's say mastitis or over supply, or whatever it is that you have questions about, it will pop up with all the podcast episodes that are related to that topic. You can listen to it on my website, or it also has the episode number listed on there. So you could come back to Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to your favorite episode. And you could find that podcast episode number and listen to that for free tips and tricks. Thank you so much for listening in today. I hope you find this helpful. I know this topic was a little different than what I normally talk about but I
I also know that I do have a lot of IBCLC friends who listen to this podcast today. I will be back next week with more great topics for you. And of course I'm gonna leave you with you are strong, you are smart, you are beautiful. You're a good friend to all. Bye.
If you would like more help check us out at breezy Is the happy place for boobs and babies, where you can take an online workshop on topics from breastfeeding to baby gas. Learn baby massage, get a pumping plan before returning to work and even get one on one lactation help from our IBCLCs we meet with families both in home and also all over the world via secure video and guess what? These lactation consultations might even be covered by your insurance. Click the link in the show notes or visit breezy to see if you qualify. Also connect with us at breezy babies on Instagram and YouTube.


Intro to this episode.

Mentorship as a pathway to certification.

Mentorship with Sabrina and IBCLC certification.

Becoming an IBCLC.

The start of a mentorship career.

Don’t underestimate what you know.

Put your mentee to work.

Follow the ibclc’s guidelines.

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