Release Date: 
Thursday, June 18, 2020

Lactation Consulting is Stephanie Arredondo’s way to help mothers

From left to right: Lauren Fisher, Stephanie Arredondo, Gitty Edri, and Clare Durina comprise the first cohort of students who graduated with their certification from HFC's Lactation Consultant Program in May.
From left to right: Lauren Fisher, Stephanie Arredondo, Gitty Edri, and Clare Durina comprise the first cohort of students who graduated with their certification from HFC's Lactation Consultant Program in May.

Once Stephanie Arredondo learned the HFC Lactation Consultant Program (LCP) – a partnership between the College and Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit – was under the direction of Dr. Paula Schreck, she signed up that same day.

“I loved working with Dr. Schreck!” said Arredondo. “Working and learning with someone who shares a passion in the same things as you can be so exciting and motivating.”

A Dearborn native, Arredondo lives in Allen Park with her husband and daughter. An alumna of Allen Park High School and the Wayne County Community College, she currently works as a breastfeeding peer counselor for the Wayne County WIC program.

“While breastfeeding my daughter, I was extremely interested in becoming a lactation consultant to help other moms and babies. Unfortunately, there was no lactation consultant program around,” said Arredondo. “When asking my local Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) clinic for information on becoming a lactation consultant, I was offered a breastfeeding peer counselor position. Through my training at the WIC office, I soon learned about Dr. Schreck. I sat in on webinars and read some of her work. I was intrigued by the amount of breastfeeding knowledge, advice, and passion she showed.”

Excited to be part of the LCP’s first graduating cohort

Alongside her peers Clare Durina, Lauren Fisher, and Gitty Edri, Arredondo is a member of the first graduating cohort of the LCP, which was established in the Fall 2019 Semester and is the first of its kind at HFC.

“I entered this program on a leap of faith in Dr. Schreck and her team. This program hadn’t yet received their accreditation when I signed up, but I had so much faith in Dr. Schreck. I knew this would be something big, and I really wanted to a part of that,” explained Arredondo.

Now accredited through the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), the Lactation Consultant Program is a certification program that allows students to become International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), a healthcare profession specializing in the clinical management of breastfeeding.

HFC is the first academic Pathway 2 IBCLC training program in Michigan, and is the only CAAHEP-accredited program in the state. It is the only CAAHEP-accredited program offered to both undergraduate students and to non-nursing majors. It is one of only nine CAAHEP-accredited lactation programs in the world. CAAHEP-accredited programs provide classroom instruction and clinical experience, which qualify graduates for the IBCLC Examiners Pathway 2 certification exam.

“I loved everything about this program”

As challenging as the LCP was, Arredondo loved it.

“I was in awe being able to work so closely with lactation consultants and work so closely with mother/baby dyads. The hands-on experience was more than what I could have hoped for. Lectures with Dr. Schreck allowed us to ask questions and get very detailed information that was accurate and up-to-date. Dr. Schreck has this amazing way of explaining things so it’s easily understandable.”

She also praised clinical instructor Blair Malian and Colleen Schulter, the lead lactation consultant and lead lactation mentor.

“I really enjoyed working with Blair, who is deeply knowledgeable in this field and goes above and beyond to answer any questions that came up. She was always available for constructive feedback, which I really appreciated,” said Arredondo. “Last but definitely not least, I really enjoyed working with Colleen. I can’t say enough nice things about her. She would go above and beyond to answer questions, explain things that needed further explanations, and would challenge me. She was always there to push you and encourage you.”

Arredondo would like to do more advocacy work in the field of lactation and assist in writing laws that help and support breastfeeding mothers.

“I hope to be able to use the knowledge I have gained from this program to assist moms and babies with all their breastfeeding needs,” she said. “Breastfeeding saves lives and, it’s exciting to see that this line of work is finally getting the recognition and support it needs.”

For more information on the LCP at HFC, call 313-845-9877.