Building a Breastfeeding Relationship


“You must love your job,” is a statement I hear often in my position. As a Lactation Coordinator, I can truthfully answer that I absolutely do!

Working as a professional in a healthcare setting, it doesn’t get much better.  I work every day with families that are, for the most part, healthy people going through a normal process of becoming a family.

Corinne Bursey, lactation coordinator at Eastern Health

Corinne Bursey, lactation coordinator at Eastern Health

My background is in antenatal and postpartum obstetrical nursing. After I had breastfed my own children and returned to work, I began working on a postpartum unit at the Salvation Army Grace General Hospital.

“I realized very quickly that I really enjoyed helping women initiate breastfeeding.”

Sometimes you wonder how your life is guided in different directions. A colleague happened to show me a brochure on becoming a lactation consultant. I immediately decided that this two-year correspondence program would work for me. Once I finished my course, three months after I wrote my international certification exam, a position was posted for the obstetrical program at the Grace Hospital … and the rest, as they say, was history!

I was the first Lactation Consultant hired for the hospital, and I can’t believe that almost 20 years have gone by.  Since then, other lactation consultants have been working together in this region and across the province to provide support for women breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding has so many benefits for both mom and baby. Breastmilk is disease prevention in its simplest form. The evolving research regarding the complexity and biological specificity of breastmilk is so exciting!

“Helping families achieve their breastfeeding goals is very important to me.”

Prenatal education helps to inform families about breastfeeding so that they can make an informed choice. Once a mom has her newborn, the process of caring for and feeding this new little person can seem somewhat daunting.

Some families start breastfeeding because they know it is the normal healthy way to feed their babies. They continue breastfeeding often because they get the help and support they need in the early days and weeks.  Encouragement and assistance from partners, family and friends is very important. I often tell new moms that true friendship is someone bringing you a casserole!

My job is to educate staff and help them develop skills to facilitate the early breastfeeding relationship. In complex cases, I am consulted initially in the hospital to guide moms in proper attachment, drinking at the breast and to offer continued outpatient support should they require it.

“Seeing new moms gain confidence through their babies’ growth is very exciting.”

Corinne Bursey assisting new mother and her baby with breastfeeding

Corinne Bursey assisting new mother and her baby with breastfeeding

Offering clinical skills, when they are necessary, to improve or enhance the breastfeeding relationship is a large part of the Lactation Consultant’s role.  My favorite experiences are when moms come up to me years later just to say hello, or a toddler comes up to me at the supermarket and says, “My mom says to say thank you.”  It really doesn’t get any better than that! ■

This story was written by Corinne Bursey, a lactation coordinator with Eastern Health. 

7 responses to “Building a Breastfeeding Relationship

  1. Corrine is a wonderful support and helped me personally in the early days and months with breastfeeding my little one. She provides such encouragement and reassurance! Thanks Corrine!

  2. Corrine really reassured me that my child was getting enough from me and that I was producing enough milk. She always showed compassion and would answer any and all questions I had; We had a really rough start the first few months. When we went back at six months and she had seen I was still breastfeeding my son, she applauded me for my persistence and for not giving up… I’ll never forget how much she helped us 🙂 Sincerely… Thank you.

  3. Corrine was a great support to me when I had my son at the Grace Hospital in 1999. My son was 5 weeks premature. She helped me through some rough times and encouraged me to continue to breastfeed. Thank-You.

  4. As an RN, I couldn’t understand why a mother would give up breast feeding after not giving it a good honest try. And then I had Jackson. My desire to breast feed my son was quicky replaced with stress as I produced very little milk, and he was a poor feeder. Without Corrine’s support, I think the stress would have gotten the best of me, I would have given it, and I would have always felt like I had failed.
    Living an hour outside city limits, Corrine was always a phone call away. And I called her many times. I was on domperidone, had to pump between feedings (half an hour with an electric pump would only yield 20mls) , and feed him the results with a feeding tube by my breast at feedings, all the while supplementing with formula as there would never be enough milk.
    Regretfully, after 9 months (and throwing my back out requiring flexeril), I did give it up, but I know I would never stuck it out as long as I did if it weren’t for Corrine.
    Jackson is 8. he is healthy. he is happy.

  5. Corinne was such a great support to me when I had my first daughter in 2011. I was a first time Mom and breastfeeding was starting off very challenging. She helped me through some pretty tough times at the hospital. When I had my second daughter in February of this year I went to the breastfeeding clinic at the hospital and there was Corinne again. She was such a great support again. It was always nice t be greeted by her and reassured when I felt worried. She also would celebrate right along with me when we would watch the scales go up. 🙂 I am very thankful to have had support from Corinne. She was definitely the right person for the job!!

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