Camie Jae Goldhammer, LICSW, MSW, IBCLC (Sisseton-Wahpeton) is a rising star in the field of lactation! Through various unexpected turns, she has allowed her career to beautifully unfold into a unique blend of social worker, lactation consultant, and breastfeeding advocate.
Camie is the Founder and Chair of the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington; one of the Founding Mothers and President-elect of the National Association of Professional and Peer Lactation Supporters of Color; and a Consultant with MomsRising, through which she helped to bring paid family medical leave to the state of Washington. Camie is also a CHEER Consultant with our American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) CHAMPS and Mississippi CHAMPS programs, and she recently designed the first-ever Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor (IBC) training. Through these roles, Camie has spoken nationally on the effects of historical trauma on attachment, and breastfeeding and bonding.
“I very much identify and consider my work social work,” Camie shares. “I often say I’m a social worker that does breastfeeding work. I never would have expected my career to go the way it’s gone. It’s been amazing and fun. I go where it takes me.”
Camie’s breastfeeding work began with her own breastfeeding journey. No one in her family had breastfed and she felt somewhat ambivalent. However, in those first moments of skin-to-skin followed by her daughter latching, Camie was changed forever. She started learning about the benefits of breastfeeding and the disparities in Native infant mortality rates, breastfeeding rates and access to lactation support. She began dialoguing with people and started the first Native breastfeeding organization in her state, the Native American Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington. In 2013, Camie became the first Native IBCLC in Washington.
These days, Camie travels all over the country speaking about historical trauma’s impact on attachment and breastfeeding, and how breastfeeding can bring bonding and healing. She has spoken at conferences such as the International Lactation Consultant Association, the United States Breastfeeding Coalition, Reaching Our Sisters Everywhere, the Kellogg First Food Forum, CHAMPS conferences, and more. Camie also spends a good amount of time working for CHAMPS, teaching clinical breastfeeding and helping hospitals become Baby-Friendly.
Camie says, “I love my work for CHAMPS. It’s been a real amazing experience for me in getting hospitals to meet their goals of Baby-Friendly. Developing the IBC training through CHAMPS has been a life goal of mine. I definitely consider it to be my life’s work. I’m grateful for the support to have been able to do it.”
There are 3 versions of Camie’s course: a 45-hour course geared towards those that self-identify as Indigenous (the IBC course); a 20-hour course for health practitioners serving Native populations and meeting Baby-Friendly requirements; and a 5-hour in-person training for health practitioners serving Native populations and meeting Baby-Friendly requirements. Read the press release for the exciting launch of the first IBC course in Barrow, Alaska!
In all her spare time, Camie spends one day a week volunteering her IBCLC skills at Rainier Valley Community Clinic’s lactation drop-in groups, where she also mentors aspiring lactation consultants free of charge. It’s no surprise Camie’s amazing work has garnered media attention. Check out these beautifully written articles from South Seattle Emerald and KUOW.org.
Congratulations, Camie, it’s wonderful to have you on our team!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).