Why A Lactation Consultant? This Is My Story

Get a cuppa…this could take a while!

I’ve been asked a lot recently what made me decide to study to become a lactation consultant so I thought it was time to share my story.

Three years ago I became a mum for the first time. Our beautiful boy Jack came into our lives. Truth be told, I thought I’d get the hang of breastfeeding pretty easily.  My sister had learnt a few months earlier and had no trouble. Surely I’d get the hang of it too. Well, in actual fact, I struggled. A lot. I couldn’t seem to get Jack to latch well, to the point where I’d dread, (and I mean dread), every feed. My husband would say “he needs a feed” and I’d burst into tears. My breasts were battered and I was defeated.

At 3 weeks of age, Jack was thriving. Big at birth (4.2kg) and gaining weight each week, he was getting enough milk. But I was not coping.

My mum (a midwife) decided enough was enough. Mum called upon her midwife friend, also a lactation consultant, to come to our house and give some advice. She watched me breastfeed and said it would be worth getting Jack checked for tongue tie (also known as Ankyloglossia). She observed that Jack was struggling to latch due to a tight lingual frenulum (the membrane found under the centre of your tongue). She also commented that he had a very heart shaped tongue (see here for instagram video post). If these issues were addressed, all my pains, blisters, grazing and trauma associated with breastfeeding may be resolved.

I was so excited to have a plan that we contacted the obstetrician and booked an appointment. He took one look at Jack and said it was a tongue tie and cutting it today would likely resolve breastfeeding problems, lessen nipple pain and trauma.

At 3.5 weeks, Jack’s tongue tie was cut. The first feed felt instantly better. Jack could latch fully and maintain the “vacuum seal” that is OH so important when breastfeeding. I can do this. For the first time in 3 weeks, I felt so empowered, reassured and ABLE to breastfeed.

What I learnt in my experience is that tongue ties + breastfeeding appears to be a very political issue. What I also learnt is that if we want to improve breastfeeding rates and truly support women to breastfeed, then we also need to listen to mum’s. The trauma and pain they are experiencing when learning to breastfeed is real. Just because a baby is ‘thriving’ doesn’t mean mum is.

Truth be told, if it wasn’t for the lactation consultant suggesting tongue tie, I wouldn’t have been able to continue breastfeeding. What I was doing was not sustainable. So I urge you – whether you are a medical professional, midwife, husband, sister, grandparent, friend – to listen to the new mum’s and support them on their breastfeeding journey. Breastfeeding is not easy. It’s not innate. But there is sooooooo much support out there, we just need to know where to find it.

Breastfeeding Support Services:

Please note that information provided in this article is general advice only. For individual advice, we recommend a consultation. For more information or to book an appointment, you can…

  • Contact our friendly reception team on 9822 4999 (Armadale) or 9486 0512 (East Melbourne)
  • Book online. Select ‘make a booking’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen and follow the prompts
  • Email us on [email protected]
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Our Values

Our values are the basis of everything we do at Fitwise.

Excellence, Respect, Innovation and Fun – For our clients, for our team and for ourselves.

This is evident with the service we provide, the environment in which we provide it, the way in which we operate as a team and how we care for and value our clients, referral partners and ourselves; we live the Fitwise values every day.

Our culture is one where everyone feels supported, respected and safe. Our clients and our team, experience a leading-edge health environment where we remember to have fun along the way.

Our Story

In 2004, Gen McGlashan and Libby Oldfield founded Fitwise Physiotherapy. They first met in 1994.  Libby was Gen’s physio when she had her first child. Gen then worked for Libby for 10 years in Libby’s previous business, located at the Epworth Freemasons Maternity Unit in East Melbourne. They have been a team working together for a very long time!!

Libby and Gen have always had a passion for empowering women, by helping provide accurate evidence based information and treatment to help women live their best lives. Excellence in all that they do, practising and operating in an innovative way has always been their core. Fitwise was the first multi-practitioner practice providing Women’s Health physiotherapy consultations, exercise classes and clinical pilates in Melbourne.

Gen and Libby

In February 2005 Gen and Libby moved their one room practice to Albert St East Melbourne. They had expanded to 2 treatment rooms, an exercise studio and a pilates studio with a small team of physiotherapists and one receptionist. This was exciting as they wanted to be able to help more people and to grow their team – enabling their other passion: teaching and mentoring clinicians who also wanted to work within the Women’s, Men’s and Pelvic Health arena.

5 years later, they expanded their East Melbourne clinic and in 2015 opened their second clinic in Armadale.

Remedial Massage, Myotherapy and Dietetics have been an exciting addition in recent years, with Podiatry and Exercise Physiology being added in 2022.

Fitwise Physiotherapy | Armadale

The Fitwise team has now grown to include 18 amazing practitioners and 12 wonderful administrative team members and is still growing!

Libby and Gen have always loved providing a holistic service, treating a variety of conditions in consultations and providing exercise appropriate for different life stages. The community of clients that are part of the Fitwise family, (some who have been part of the journey from the very beginning – over 17 years ago), are the biggest reason they do what they do. For Gen and Libby, it is a privilege to be part of these wonderful people’s lives.