Twenty-six years ago, Lydia Boyd had her son prematurely. He was born at just 28 weeks. In the first few days of motherhood, she experienced the usual stresses around becoming a new mom. Those stresses were compounded by her son’s early birth, but there was something else she hadn’t anticipated: An almost complete lack of support or information about breastfeeding from hospital staff.
“My doctors never talked to me about breastfeeding, not one time,” Lydia says. A nurse came by to drop off a breast pump, leaving before plugging the machine in—and leaving Lydia with many unanswered questions. She struggled to piece together any information she could about breastfeeding, eventually finding a book in the hospital gift store about a mother’s journey with breastfeeding her premature baby. It became Lydia’s sole guide as she embarked on her journey as a new mother.
At the time of her son’s birth, Lydia worked in corporate IT, making a good living. But the experience of having embarked on the journey of breastfeeding alone, without support or resources, left her wondering why there weren’t more resources for women around something so important. She began gaining qualifications that allowed her to work as a lactation educator, eventually gaining certification at the highest level, as an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant—the gold standard of lactation education.
Today, Lydia Boyd is the lactation educator in MLK Community Healthcare’s dedicated outpatient lactation clinic. The clinic provides free breastfeeding support to mothers, regardless of their insurance status—and regardless of their patient status. It’s for all mothers, no matter where they delivered. And it’s the only one of its kind in South LA.