Hello! My name is Janice Clarke and I am so happy to serve as a Certified Chocolate Milk Café Facilitator! My breastfeeding journey began in February 2019 with the birth of my son. Like many new mothers and lactating parents, I struggled with terrible nipple pain for the first few weeks. I didn’t particularly enjoy nursing my son, and I was suffering from postpartum anxiety. I felt lost and guilty. Worst of all, I felt failed by our health care team.
However, it wasn’t their fault that they didn’t know how to support me—no one was a lactation specialist. I was advised to use formula even though there was no medical necessity for it, I had an adequate milk supply, and my goal was to breastfeed. Based on how they pressured me to give my son formula, I felt that my health care team didn’t believe I could breastfeed. It was as if my milk wasn’t enough—that I wasn’t enough. But, there was a silver lining. A breastfeeding peer counselor at my local WIC office taught me how to correct my son’s latch. Even though it took over a month to find relief, this simple solution made all the difference for me. And I’ve continued to breastfeed my son! We are approaching 3 years in our breastfeeding relationship.
I didn’t like the misinformation presented to me at doctor appointments. If I had listened, our breastfeeding relationship would have been sabotaged. I empowered and educated myself by enrolling in a Lactation Counselor training program when my son was 6 months old. I officially entered the field of breastfeeding consulting in September 2019 and began providing breastfeeding assistance to friends, family members, and to mothers seeking help on social media. I started my private practice JC Lactation Counseling, LLC in 2020 because of recent instances of racial injustice. I have a Health Science degree and work experience in the environmental health and safety field. I’m currently working as a Health Inspector for the NYC Department of Health but my long term goal is to sit for the IBLCE exam in a couple of years. Our mothers deserve well trained and competent Black IBCLCs. Please wish me luck on this journey and best of luck on yours!!