I was born and educated in Norwich before training as a registered general nurse at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. On qualifying in 1991 I worked on an acute medical unit as a staff nurse.In 1995, after the birth of my daughter, I moved into community nursing, working with the Fenland District Nurses on the evening service. After studying for the ENB 928 Diabetes qualification I joined Bridge Street Surgery in Downham Market, Norfolk as a practice nurse where I developed my special interest in diabetes.
In 2002-3 I decided to change direction and trained as a health visitor, gaining BA(Hons) in Primary and Community Care with Specialist Practitioner (Public Health Nursing) at Homerton School of Health Studies, Cambridge. I had always had an interest in working with children and families and this was fuelled by my personal experience of having a child with autism. I quickly realised that the training provided for heath visitors in breastfeeding was inadequate. So after securing a health visiting role in Ely in 2003, I trained as a breastfeeding counsellor with the Association of Breastfeeding Mothers. Frustrated by the fact that I was not able to fully utilised my breastfeeding skills within my NHS role I decided to set up in independent practice. In 2009 I sat the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants Exam and left my NHS health visiting role and in 2010 joined the Old Exchange Surgery in St Ives as a practice nurse whilst I built up my private work. I have very recently left this role to focus entirely on my lactation work.
Since establishing my private practice I have trained to do tongue-tie division in Southampton with Carolyn Westcott and Mervyn Griffiths (Consultant Paediatric Surgeon) in 2011 and went back to Southampton in 2014 for refresher training. I have also attended training with internationally renowned experts in lactation and tongue-tie, including Alison Hazelbaker and Catherine Watson Genna and I have observed Mr A Minocha ( Consultant Paediatric Surgeon, Norwich) and Helen Caulfield (Consultant Paediatric ENT Surgeon, London) in their tongue-tie clinics. I have undertaken more than 700 tongue-tie procedures and work alongside a lactation consultant colleague in my Cambridge clinic, as well as working independently. I regularly have student and qualified midwives and health visitors, lactation consultants and breastfeeding counsellors observing my practice in order to further their own knowledge and skills. I have also undertaken the Brazelton Newborn Behavioural Observation training and done a baby massage course with Peter Walker.
I also provide breastfeeding support groups and breastfeeding peer supporter courses in conjunction with Cambridgeshire County Council and am involved in a small local charity ElyMilks which runs a weekly breastfeeding support group for mothers in Ely.
I am based in Ely, Cambridgeshire and will visit clients within a 30 mile radius. For those living further afield who can travel to me I can offer consultations in clinics in Cambridge and Bury St Edmunds.
- My Medical Defence Union member number is 538899G
- My qualification as a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) can be verified by logging on to europe.iblce.org/ibclc-registry and entering my surname (Oakley) or my IBCLC number which is L-33263.
- My nursing registration can be verified by logging on to www.nmc-uk.org/Search-the-register/ and entering my name and PIN number which is 88E0274E.
My hobbies include beaded jewellery making, hen keeping, walking our dog along the river and droves where we live and helping my daughter care for her horse.