A mother of two, a Doula, and soon an IBCLC, I’m Olivia Turner. In 2019, during my first pregnancy, I was blessed with a doula named Ashley. She educated me on communicating with my baby while in the womb and evolving into motherhood. Shortly after giving birth to my son, breastfeeding did not come naturally. I then was given assistance by a practitioner who did not educate me. Being miseducated on how to breastfeed, my son was diagnosed with jaundice. I was told I needed to supplement with formula because my breastmilk wasn’t enough. Hearing those words, I was both devastated and determined to ensure my son was nourished with my breastmilk. While in the NICU, I asked for a pump, and sure enough, I pumped about 7-10 ounces per session. After feeling as if I lost precious time bonding with my son, I met an amazing RN Nurse/Lactation Consultant, Stacy. She was patient in educating me on how to latch, and physically assisted me with the process.
Being fascinated by motherhood and breastfeeding, I began researching on how to become an IBCLC and Doula. Though a social media group, a zoom meeting on “How to become an IBCLC” was shared by the Sacramento Breastfeeding Coalition. I attended the meeting and it lit a fire within me. I knew I wanted to start advocating for women- especially black women. In my community, I have not met an IBCLC who looks like me and can understand hesitance for black women to come forth with questions or concern. This year, I started my journey- being rewarded a partial scholarship to educate myself in becoming a Doula, and another partial scholarship ’Karen Evon Lactation Education Scholarship’, from the Sacramento Breastfeeding Coalition.
In my career as a Doula, I have assisted new mothers in their fourth trimester building a bond with their newborn and establishing a sense of normalcy. I believe having a person like a Doula can hold space and ensure a mother she is doing great. Now with the partial scholarship by the Sacramento Breastfeeding Coalition, I can now start my certification to educate mothers about the importance of breastfeeding. Grateful for the opportunity, I’m more than excited and looking forward to add to CLC to my name.
My name is Devony Canlas and I am a mother of five from Sacramento, California. I completed my undergraduate degree at Humboldt State University in Leadership Studies and currently attend the lactation program at UC San Diego, where I am studying to become an IBCLC. Outside of my academic endeavors, I serve as a Nutrition Assistant for the Sacramento County WIC Program and provide community outreach support for the Motivating Interdisciplinary Lactation Knowledge Research Lab (MILK) at UCSF. While I have always felt a special connection with the mother-baby population, it was through my own breastfeeding challenges that I developed an interest in lactation education. As a future IBCLC, I hope to use my experiences to serve the diverse needs of Sacramento.