About me, Sarah Oakley

Registered Nurse, Health visitor and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

I am based near Ely, Cambridgeshire and provide clinic consultations in Burwell (near Newmarket and Cambridge), and Somersham (near Huntingdon).

I am Registered Nurse and Health Visitor and regulated by the Nursing and Midwifery Council.  I am also an Internationa Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Holistic Sleep Coach and Tongue-tie Practitioner. I am insured by Hiscox and am a member of Lactation Consultants of Great Britain, United States Lactation Consultants Association and the Royal College of Nursing. I am a founder member and former Chair of the Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners (2016-2019). As well as providing private consultations for families, I offer training courses and speak at national and international conference and am the author of the book ‘Why Tongue-tie Matters’. In April 2023 I was given the annual ‘Outstanding Contribution to Breastfeeding’ Award by Lactation Consultants of Great Britain.

  • 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.

Throughout the material on this website I use the term ‘breastfeeding’. This is because many of the courses I have attended include this term in the title, most of the research I refer to and use to inform my practice has historically been in people identified as ‘breastfeeding’ and this reflects the client group I have served over many years.  However, readers can substitute this term for ‘chest feeding’ or any other term they prefer. I offer help and support to all parents regardless of feeding method, including those who are combination feeding, exclusively pumping or fully formula feeding and regardless of whether they identify as ‘breastfeeding’, ‘chest feeding’ or ‘bottle feeding.’

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 left this role in 2015 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 undertaken over 4000 tongue-tie division procedures. I have attended study days 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 regularly have healthcare professionals, lactation consultants and breastfeeding counsellors observing my practice in order to further their own knowledge and skills. I have provided study days for several NHS Trusts,  webinars for GPs, birth workers and breastfeeding supporters and run regular study days on tongue-tie for breastfeeding supporters and healthcare professionals.

I have also undertaken the Brazelton Newborn Behavioural Observation training, a baby massage course with Peter Walker, studied cranial sacral therapy with Jonathan Lawrence and Holistic Sleep Coaching with Lyndsey Hookway. I have undertaken the Mindful Breastfeeding Supporter Course with Anna Le Grange and incorporate mindful techniques into the support I provide for families.

I have provided breastfeeding peer supporter courses in conjunction with Cambridgeshire County Council and was involved in a small local charity ElyMilks which ran a weekly breastfeeding support group for mothers in Ely for 12 years. I am a Founder Member and former Chair of the Association of Tongue-tie Practitioners and served on the training team of The Association of Breastfeeding Mothers.

My hobbies include meditation, hen keeping,  walking our dog and caring for and riding my rescue pony.