New certification helps moms breastfeed with confidence

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When it comes to caring for newborns, breastfeeding is at the top of the list in terms of hot topics. It promotes bonding, provides the perfect mix of nutrients and antibodies for fighting off infection, and is easily digestible. However, moms sometimes have trouble getting started.

Young mother smiling while breastfeeding daughter at home.At Tri-County Health Care, moms don’t have to navigate this world alone. Sarah Riedel, RN, BSN, is an expert in breastfeeding and lactation and was recently certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).


What is an IBCLC?

An IBCLC specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. They are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, which is trusted worldwide for the certification of practitioners in breastfeeding and lactation.

According to Sarah, there are 16,616 IBCLCs in the U.S. and only 359 in the state of Minnesota.

For Sarah, the rigorous certification entailed one year of independent studying that culminated into a one-week class and international test. This exam is only offered twice a year and is taken on the same day across the world. IBCLCs must be recertified every five years.

Because of Sarah’s love of education and teaching, she knew pursuing an IBCLC would align with her goals. It allows her to keep up with changing trends and research related to breastfeeding and gives her a greater depth of knowledge. As a result, this produces enhanced services for patients.

“I love working with moms and babies,” Sarah said. “I love it when breastfeeding works, and I love making it work.”


Why are IBCLCs important to moms?Beautiful Mother breast feeding her baby girl and smiling at her

IBCLCs are held to a high standard and boast a wealth of knowledge and skill related to breastfeeding and lactation care, not just in day-to-day routines but in high-risk situations as well. They deliver essential information to moms while acting as their support system.

“The more information and help that is out there for moms, the better,” Sarah said. “I want to keep them breastfeeding as long as they desire.”

IBCLCs address a variety of breastfeeding subjects, including:

  • Basic position and latch
  • Milk expression and storage
  • Inadequate/overabundant milk supply or nipple/breast pain
  • Breastfeeding after returning to work
  • Feeding twins or a premature infant

Sarah wants to meet her patients at a place where they are comfortable, whether they choose to breastfeed or not. If they opt for breastfeeding, Sarah helps them determine goals while addressing any concerns they might have, but she will also help with mixing formula and other details related to bottle feeding.

“I know breastfeeding is good for moms and babies both, but no matter what you choose, it’s all about helping you reach your personal goals so that you can be confident with your baby,” she said.


If you are interested in a consultation with Sarah, call 218-631-7538. Check with your insurance or talk with Sarah to learn about the cost and coverage.

For more information about IBCLCs, visit


Sarah Riedel and her family.

About the Author: Sarah Riedel is a Tri Baby Beginnings registered nurse and prenatal educator who is also certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena.

The benefits of breastfeeding

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By Sarah Riedel, RN, BSN – TCHC Prenatal Educator and Certified Lactation Counselor


Did you know that World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7? It is a time when women from all over the world celebrate the special bond between mothers and babies. I would like to share a few World breastfeeding week logobenefits of breastfeeding for moms and babies both. (From the National Institutes of Health, WebMD and Le Leche League)


Benefits for Mom

Breastfeeding burns extra calories to help you lose pregnancy weight faster, releases the hormone oxytocin to help your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis.

Since you don’t have to buy and measure formula, sterilize nipples or warm bottles, breastfeeding saves you time and money so that you have the time to relax quietly and bond with your newborn.


Benefits for Baby

Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants. It has a nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat – everything your baby needs to grow. And it’s all provided in a form more easily digested than infant formula.

Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies. Plus, babies who are breastfed for the first six months have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and bouts of diarrhea. They also have fewer hospitalizations and trips to the doctor.

young mother breastfeedingBreastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores later in childhood in some studies. What’s more, the physical closeness, skin-to-skin touching and eye contact all help your baby feel secure and bond with you.

Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children. The AAP says breastfeeding also plays a role in the prevention of sudden infant death syndrome. It’s been thought to lower the risk of diabetes, obesity and certain cancers as well, but more research is needed.


Benefits for Society and Employers

Breastfeeding does not waste scarce resources or create pollution. Breast milk is a naturally renewable resource that requires no packaging, shipping or disposal. There is less use of natural resources (glass, plastic, metal, paper) and also less waste for landfills. Employers will also experience reduced absenteeism in the workplace due to children’s illnesses. Breastfeeding reduces the number of sick days that families must use to care for their sick children.

At TCHC, we have prenatal classes along with doctor appointments that include breastfeeding education. We can meet with you one-to-one while you are in the hospital after the baby is born, and we can also do a home visit after you go home to make sure everything is going well.

Breastfeeding your baby is a very personal choice, and it is not for everyone. If you want more information about breastfeeding or to schedule a prenatal class, please call Prenatal Education at 218-631-7538.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!


Sarah Riedel with her husband and their three children.


About the Author: Sarah Riedel is a registered nurse certified lactation counselor (CLC) at Tri-County Health Care in Wadena. A CLC has specialized training in the topic of breastfeeding to better help new moms and babies start out in the right place with breastfeeding and troubleshoot when there are problems.