Reba Lee, RN, IBCLC, RLC, is a Lactation Nurse and the Lactation Team Lead at CHAMPS hospital, Anderson Regional Medical Center in Meridian, Mississippi. She was nominated as CHEER Champion of the Week for her many years of dedicated service to mothers and babies, and for her help with the Baby-Friendly journey at her hospital.
Reba has worked at Anderson Regional for 26 years. She began as a Nursery/NICU staff RN, then transitioned to Lactation Nurse in 1997. She has taught newborn care and breastfeeding classes since 1997. She became a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) in 2000 and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2012.
The Lactation Center at Anderson Regional offers prenatal breastfeeding classes, inpatient and outpatient consults, and a warm-line for breastfeeding support. In addition to running these services and teaching classes, Reba also writes magazine/newspaper articles and interviews with local news outlets to educate the public on the benefits of breastfeeding. As CHAMPS Lactation Team Lead, Reba has participated in Baby-Friendly task force meetings and CHAMPS phone calls and webinars; and assisted with updating policies, writing prenatal education brochures, obtaining/reporting Baby-Friendly stats, and organizing staff education and skills fairs. Reba is also co-host of the East Mississippi Baby Café-Meridian.
Early in her career, Reba received a letter from a former patient that “rocked [her] world.” Inspired by the story, CHAMPS asked Reba if she would be willing to share it here.
Reba says: “In the letter, this particular mother thanked me for the breastfeeding education and support that I had given. But then she made several comments about the ‘way’ that I spoke to her, the ‘respect’ that I gave her, the ‘tenderness’ that I displayed with her baby, and the ‘patience’ that I shared as she and her baby worked through the learning process. Then she wrote this, ‘In those few visits, you taught me more about being a good mother than my own mom ever taught me.’ In that moment, I was totally humbled as I tried to even recall the specifics of that particular patient. But since receiving that letter, I am daily challenged each time I meet with a patient to remember how easily a new mom may be influenced one way or the other by my words, actions, and attitude. Supporting breastfeeding mothers…what a great opportunity to influence healthy lifestyles of the future!”
Cathy Carothers, BLA, IBCLC, FILCA, CHAMPS Mississippi Liaison & Trainer, comments: “Our patients DO notice us. They see when we are listening to them, when we show respect, and when we help them meet their goals. We might never know how the seeds we are planting will sprout and bloom, but it is a unique privilege and precious opportunity to be able to be in this position at what could be for many women, the most important point in their life.”
Congratulations, Reba! Thank you for all that you do and for this incredible story!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, 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).