“Breastfeeding should be a part of all medical disciplines”: Interview with Ruth Mayné

“Breastfeeding should be a part of all medical disciplines”: Interview with Ruth Mayné

Ruth Mayné is a pediatric dentist and expert in lactation. She is also an alumnus of the first edition of the LactApp postgraduate course in lactation. Here we continue this series dedicated to introducing the network of students of LactApp’s professional training courses.
We would like to highlight professionals from different areas who have trained with us and approach breastfeeding support from their different perspectives.

Ruth Mayné
I am a pediatric dentist and pediatric dentistry teacher. I lead the baby dentistry department (care from 0 to 3 years) at HM Nens pediatric hospital in Barcelona, and work in a couple of private clinics, only in pediatric dentistry. I am a professor of pediatric dentistry at the University of Barcelona (Bellvitge campus), in the clinical part. And I love to give lectures, either to professionals in my sector, paediatricians, midwives, parents and so on.

What was your first encounter with breastfeeding?
It was a course I did on theory and practice at the Hospital Sant Joan de Déu in 2010. Although I had been working with babies and breastfeeding mothers for many years, my interest in getting more training in breastfeeding came later in 2013, when I became a mother for the first time. When the first LactApp postgraduate course in lactation opened, I decided to get more training.

What were you looking for in a graduate course?
To learn more. I didn’t need a degree for my professional experience, but I wanted to gain the knowledge the training gave me.

Any unexpected learnings?
Many: relactation, the way of looking at breastfeeding from a human or anthropological point of view, breastfeeding without having given birth.

Anything you have had to unlearn?
In my profession, I have already had to unlearn so many things that I was taught in dentistry (and in my speciality of pediatric dentistry). In lactation, having two children, I already had to unlearn the guidelines I was given. I loved the exchange in the postgraduate course with other wonderful professionals who have taught me so much.

A piece of advice for people who are starting out?
There is a lot to learn, and you never know everything. Everything is useful: looking for information, cases, theory and so on.

A case or a person who has inspired you?
It is impossible to mention just one single professional from the postgraduate course: Alba, Maria, Paula, Anna, Hortensia, Laia, Serena and so on. Seriously, it is impossible to choose just one of them. 

Things we need to improve in the field?
Breastfeeding education should be introduced in all medical specialities, such as dentistry. Students come out after five years of studies without having heard a word about breastfeeding (something that begins with the baby’s mouth). It is necessary to have a subject, even if an elective one, within the dental career path. Not to mention the master’s degree or speciality in pediatric dentistry. 

A recurring fear?
Giving bad advice to a family. That’s why the more I know, the more I refer to other professionals and the less I advise. After having done the postgraduate course, I value the professionals who support lactation much more.

A goal you would like to achieve?
To continue promoting breastfeeding in my work, which I do. But to never forget it. To try to improve the care of infants and future infants.

What is LactApp for you?
Help for many of my families and a very important resource for me as a professional. I recommend it a lot and with full confidence. Thank you for the wonderful work you do in promoting health! Keep training and teaching people and increase this network of professionals to help humanity, especially mothers and their babies, all families.

Which fellow graduate student would you like us to interview and why?
Esther Vallés, a speech and language therapist at Vall d’Hebron, who did the postgraduate course with me. She is a great professional. Although in my edition, there were more great professionals with whom I share patients, advice and doubts.

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