Working life: Susan O’Driscoll, lactation consultant, CUMH

Susan O'Driscoll

6am
I sort the kids’ uniforms, do a quick tidy and make sure the schoolbags are packed before leaving Bandon for CUMH. 

I have three children — Ciara, 12, Liam, 9, and Aidan, 7. I’m fortunate that my husband, Willy, works close to home on the days that I work and he can look after the school runs.

6.30am

It takes about 25 minutes to get to CUMH where my first task is to check emails before dividing the workload with my colleague Mary O’Donnell. 

We operate a helpline for breastfeeding mums and we respond to queries throughout the day. 

The majority of breastfeeding problems stem from not attaching the baby correctly to the breast. 

We give guidance over the phone but we also encourage women to attend our free support group at CUMH on Wednesday afternoons.

9am

I grab a coffee before heading to facilitate a breastfeeding support group on the post-natal ward. We run four in-house support groups per week, three on the post-natal ward and one in the neo-natal unit. 

On the neo-natal unit the mums may not be breastfeeding, so we support them with expressing their breastmilk.

11am

I have a caseload of patients who need specialist advice so I spend time with them individually on the wards. 

These include women who’ve had multiple births and women who had difficulties breastfeeding with their first child and are anxious that it goes smoothly second time around.

2pm

I have lunch in the hospital.

2.30pm

As chairperson of the hospital’s breastfeeding committee, I have some preparatory work to do for National Breastfeeding Week, which gets under way tomorrow. 

We are launching a new online lactation support service on www.breastfeeding.ie, which includes videos providing guidance for breastfeeding mothers.

4.30pm

I facilitate a two-hour support group for women who’ve been discharged but who are having difficulties breastfeeding. Usually about 15 mums and babies attend. 

I always encourage partners to attend because sometimes the mums are a bit overwhelmed and it can be hard to take everything in.

8.30pm

I head home to catch up with my family. It’s a long day, but I love my job.


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