PLATTSBURGH — When Susan Trombley's first child was born in 1982, breastfeeding was not a common practice for new mothers.
In fact, she had never witnessed a mother breastfeeding her baby. Canned formula was the popular choice for that generation, and that's the direction most new moms took.
That all changed, however, when she decided that breastfeeding was in the best interest of each of her babies.
"To me, it seemed natural."
Her sister-in-law had been living in the Philippines, where all mothers breastfed, and she had done so herself upon returning to the United States, Trombley explained.
"I saw her do it, and I said, 'I'm going to give it a try.'"
Now, nearly three decades later, she is an experienced coach for moms wishing to breastfeed their newborns.
She works for the Clinton County Department of Health as the breastfeeding coordinator for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and has also been assisting young mothers through the La Leche League since 1986.
Trombley recently added to her skill set by achieving credentials as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), a designation that emphasizes her ability to provide competent lactation and breastfeeding care to the community.
"The IBCLC is the highest form of lactation certification," Trombley said. "The process (certification) tests a person's competency and professional ability to help mothers who wish to breastfeed.
"I love the teaching aspect of nursing," she added. "I've always been fond of helping other moms breastfeed."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 75 percent of new mothers start breastfeeding their newborns, with the rate dropping to 43 percent by the infant's 6-month birthday.
Healthy People 2020, a national, science-based program of healthy initiatives in several health-care fields, has set an objective that 82 percent of all new moms will be breastfeeding by the end of the decade and that 61 percent of those moms will still be breastfeeding six months later.