Breastfeeding my daughter was one of the toughest, but then most rewarding experiences of my life to date. Making it through the difficult patches to a positive breastfeeding relationship with my daughter that lasted more than a year would not have been possible without the support of my partner, my friends, AND the lactation consultants of TMC. I’m thrilled to introduce you to Susan Dennis, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, who was the leader of TMC’s Breastfeeding Support Group when I attended in 2007. Today Susan is one of the co-leaders of the Breastfeeding Support Group, teaches breastfeeding classes at Central Arizona College and is a guest speaker for Arizona State University’s Certified Lactation Consultant Program.
Susan, you and the Breastfeeding Support Group were recommended to me back in 2006 when I was first pregnant. I know you’ve been at Tucson Medical Center before that time. How long have you been a lactation consultant?
I was drawn into lactation by one of our senior staff members, Betty Anderson. While working on the Mother Baby Unit, I learned tricks and techniques to help mothers be successful in breastfeeding and was mentored into the Lactation Department in 1997 when I became International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
What did you do prior to being a lactation consultant?
I have background in neonatal intensive care, pediatrics, and postpartum care.
What is it about being a lactation consultant that you enjoy most?
I love helping mothers achieve their goals on their terms. I learned early that you must meet a mom where she is and help her on the journey to her goals.
I know you love your work, but what about outside of work? What do you like to do for fun?
I sew parachutes for my friends who fly model rockets. A family hobby is model rocketry, but we are talking 20-foot rockets with huge parachutes! I love to take pictures of animals and landscapes. I love the outdoors and the ocean.
Are you from Tucson, or elsewhere?
I am originally from Indiana, moved out here with my husband (Susan has been married for 28 years and has two sons) for his work, after graduating from Indiana University in 1983. I love the climate and mountains of Tucson, the wildlife, and the lack of sub zero temps.
Next time on TMC for Children Focus we’ll share some of Susan’s tips for carrying on breastfeeding once you go back to work. For more information about Tucson Medical Center's Breastfeeding Support program go here.