March Classes and Support Groups

Happy March!  Here are my class dates for March.  Registration is available on my website here.  More information about what is taught in the classes here.  Preregistration is required for all breastfeeding classes.

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Tuesday, March 14: 7-9 PM at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

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Tuesday, March 21: 7-9 at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

and TWO FREE mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group meetings:

Wednesday, March 1 at 6:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Fathers are also welcome at our evening meetings.  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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Friday, March 17 at 3:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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Wearing a Toddler or Preschooler

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This post continues the ages and stages babywearing series.  If you would like to learn more about newborn babywearing, wearing an infant until they’re able to sit up on their own, or wearing an older infant in to toddlerhood check out my earlier posts.

Babywearing in to toddlerhood and beyond is a great way to bond with your child.  It’s also a good way to build your core muscles.  Newly walking legs get tired easily.  When you can grab a carrier and put your child up on your back it can save everyone’s sanity when you are on vacation, visiting a theme park, hiking, at a festival, and more.  Babywearing also allows you to be able to go to places that strollers aren’t permitted and allows your child to interact more closely with you and the world on your eye level.

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Babywearing while hiking on the Oregon coast.  Woven wraps are warmer for hikes than a soft structure carrier but can be more supportive as well.

I have children who have had sensory defensive issues (the part of sensory processing disorder that makes them really want to push away/not participate in highly sensory situations).  We really enjoy going to festivals.

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My middle son (pictured above) enjoyed the people but didn’t enjoy the noises.  Wearing him helped him be able to interact on a level he was comfortable as well as receive the calming sensation of being wrapped snuggly (like a big hug as my children have described babywearing when they’ve had more words). My oldest son was extremely shy.  Babywearing allowed him to turn his head in to me when he didn’t want to interact and people were more respective of his space when I was wearing him (though not always but it was easier for me to tell he needed a break).

Babywearing children with special circumstances and needs can be extremely helpful for their mental and emotional well-being as well as yours (being able to provide the extra snuggles which also helps release oxytocin which soothes and promotes bonding).

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Babywearing (toddler wearing) can be very soothing when your child is upset or hurt

Toddler wearing is also very helpful to soothe bumps and bruises and fits by offering additional comfort (while being a little easier on your body and arms than holding in arms when baby begins growing larger and heavier).  Toddlers are also notorious for falling asleep in the car RIGHT before you reach your destination.  Babywearing can be a great way to help meet your child’s needs (and allow them to continue sleeping) and your needs to make it on time to your appointments!

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Toddlers are notorious for falling asleep right before you reach your destination!

Babywearing can also be a great way to keep little curious hands out of danger but caution should always be taken to watch what those hands are grabbing while you are wearing baby on your back.  This little gal (below) had recently split her head open.  She goes to a lot of conferences and events with me.  Babywearing has helped me to keep her calm while I’m working and also keep her safe too.

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So what carriers are good for toddlers and preschoolers?

It’s important to keep YOUR child’s needs in mind.  After baby is 2+ the spread squat positioning isn’t quite as important but it’s the normal position for the hips so best practices are that you continue to support that position.  If baby has hip dysplasia or is at higher risk that position is very important to support. It’s important to counsel with your doctor and physical therapist if your child has special circumstances or needs so that you may be able to meet those as well as caring for their medical situations.

  • Woven wraps can always support that position through spreading the wrap to hit knee to knee. Try different lengths-shorter wraps won’t be quite as supportive (using fewer passes over baby) but may be quicker to wrap if your child likes to get up and down a lot.  Shorter wraps are also easier to tuck in a diaper bag or even in your stroller if you go back and forth between wearing and baby strolling.
  • Soft structure carriers and more structured carriers (like mei tais) may not support this position anymore because likely the panel isn’t wide enough any longer unless you purchase a toddler or preschooler specific carrier or one with stirrups (such as the Boba carrier).  Also, it’s likely at this stage that your child has outgrown the height of the panel as well.  If it doesn’t reach the base of their arms (where their arm meets their body) or higher up on their back the carrier is not considered tall enough any longer.  There is a fall and lean back risk even if your child usually does not lean backwards.

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    This is the first time that my oldest “made cookies” with me.  Babywearing allowed me to mix cookies while keeping him secure in a new environment he hadn’t been in before.

  • Ring slings may be ok for a few minutes here and there but many parents find that their back will get really tired using one for more than a few minutes.
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Babywearing is great for all!  Even Yoda! (This is a meme that is often passed around online.  I don’t have a photo credit but if you know who made it I would love to credit them!)

I teach best practices for positioning for all babies because suboptimal positioning puts baby at risk for possible hip/spine issues down the road.  Like how drinking alcohol doesn’t ALWAYS cause liver disease or smoking doesn’t ALWAYS cause lung cancer the benefits and risks should be weighed when making decisions.  The risk is there and I recommend minimizing that risk.

I am a Boba Ambassador.  I do not receive payment from Boba but will occasionally receive new products and updates from time to time.  I am a Boba Ambassador because I believe in their products.  For more information about this as well my other disclosures please visit this page.

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area and would like some hands on babywearing help please contact me or visit my website.

What is your favorite carrier for a toddler or preschooler?

February Classes and Support Groups

Happy Valentine’s Day!  I hope that your 2017 is going well so far!

Here are my class dates for February.  Registration is available on my website here.  More information about what is taught in the classes here.  Preregistration is required for all breastfeeding classes.

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Tuesday, February 7: 7-9 PM at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

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Tuesday, February 21: 7-9 at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

and TWO FREE mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group meetings:

Wednesday, February 1 at 6:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Fathers are also welcome at our evening meetings.  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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Friday, February 17 at 3:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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Business Spotlight: Brittney Kohl of Glorious Moments Birth Services

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Welcome to my Business Spotlight series!  I am kicking off my spotlight with the fabulous Brittney Kohl of Glorious Moments Birth.  Brittney is a member of the OKC Metro Birth Professionals with me.  She is a CLC, birth doula, hypno-doula, and postpartum doula (in training).  She is the mother of two and a military wife.  I had the opportunity to interview her so we could learn more about her and what she does.

Ashley: Tell me a little bit about you! How many children do you have? How old are they?
Brittney: Hello! I am Brittney Kohl with Glorious Moments Birth Services. I am a Birth Doula, Hypno-Doula, Lactation Counselor and Postpartum Doula (in training). I am a mom of two sweet and rambunctious little boys, age 3 and 18 months.

A: Tell me a little about your family and what you like to do together?
B: We are an energetic family. Or at least my boys are! My husband is hardworking and proud to serve his country. It brings him great joy to play a small part in the Air Force.

A: What got you involved in birth work?
B: For the birth of my first son, I had a great friend who offered to be my doula. Her fantastic support blew me away! I realized I wanted to help women feel loved, cared for, respected and supported in the same way. So I jumped right in!

A:How long have you been a doula?
B: I became a doula in the fall of 2014. So, I have been doing doula work for a little over 2 years.

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A: What is your training/experience?

B: My first training was through DONA International. I really enjoyed my training, and learned a ton. But for personal, and business reasons, I chose not to certify with DONA.
Later, I decided becoming a Hypno-Doula could greatly benefit the families I supported who chose to implement self-hypnosis for their labor and birth journey. I had used Hypnobabies for my own birth, and saw how well it worked for me, as well as seeing how well it worked for other hypno-moms. So, I certified through Hypnobabies.

During my second pregnancy, I decided I wanted to spend time focusing on breastfeeding, and how I could better assist mothers in solving breastfeeding challenges. So, when he was still a little bitty baby, I attended a Certified Lactation Counselor training, instructed by the Healthy Children’s Center for Breastfeeding and certified through the Academy of Lactation Policy and Practice. It was interesting being a pumping mom during our training, and rushing home during lunched to nurse him! But it helped me see how I can also help
moms who choose to pump milk for their babies and still be a workin’ mama!

Right now I am certifying through Birth Arts International as a postpartum doula.

A: What do you like to do when you aren’t doing doula work?
B: When I am not doing doula or lactation work, I like to play with my boys, read, or watch movies. Right now I am spending time either working, caring for my family, serving in church or studying for my postpartum doula training.

A: What services do you currently offer?
B: Currently I offer birth doula, hypno doula, postpartum doula, and lactation services. My package information can be found on my website. I do offer breastfeeding assessments and assistance in the comfort of mothers home’s. I have a breastfeeding class that is a work in progress, but it’s not my main focus right now.

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A: If you were stranded on a deserted island with a pregnant mother and could request 5 things to be dropped down to you what would those items be?
B: I trust in birth, and really don’t believe she needs any “items”. Her baby will come, and she will bring it into this world wonderfully. I would support her in whatever way was best for her. If I had to ask for a few things though, it would probably be clean blankets to birth on, herbal/homeopathic remedies for postpartum healing, and items to feed and clothe mother and baby.

A: What is the ONE item that you think every mother should have during labor?
B: A water bottle. ALL moms need to stay hydrated. This is so very important. It helps you, and it helps your baby. Drink up!

A: What is the ONE thing (besides a doula) that a mother should do/have/read to prepare for labor and birth?
B: Moms should prepare mentally. Your uterus and your baby know what to do. Women were designed to birth.

But, sometimes we get in our own way with our thoughts and fears. Every mom will do this mental preparation differently: some use hypnobabies, affirmations, breathing techniques, mantras, prayer, scripture quotes, etc. But it’s important to remember that you CAN do it. And in the moment you ARE doing it! I believe in you. You should believe in yourself too. You are strong and wise.

A: Why do you think moms should have a doula at their birth?
B: Knowledgeable, loving support. It could be a doula, but it could also be her husband, her mother, or a good friend. So long as she is cared for and respected, she will be happier with her birth experience. The nice thing about a doula, is she is specifically trained to know how to help a laboring mother, she has a passion for this work (at least she should!), and she does this all the time. She has a lot of tools, and she knows how to connect with you so that you can have a more positive experience.

A: What should moms ask a doula they’re interviewing to help them find the right doula for her and her spouse/partner?
B: I feel it’s important to ask her personality type, or how she normally serves her clients. All doulas are different. I’m not meant to be everyone’s doula, but I am the right doula for some women.

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A: Tell me about your favorite birth moment.
B: Honestly my favorite birth moments are the birth of my own children. My 2nd child was born en caul at home, and that was really neat. But my favorite birth moment as a doula was watching a mother deliver her OP baby (facing moms front instead her back). It’s harder labor for moms to deliver this way, but I was in awe at how well this mother labored and brought her baby into the world.

A: What are your goals for the next few years?
B: This year I want to finish my postpartum doula training. Over the next few years, I plan to continue my studies by reading and attending local education opportunities, but my focus will be on serving more families. I’m not going to overload my plate, as my family and clients deserve good care.

A: Where can we go to learn more about you and your business?
B: You can visit my page by searching @GloriousMomentsBirth on Facebook, or by visiting my website www.brittneykohlbirthd.wix.com/gloriousmoments
You can also contact me at (505) 554-8441

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A: Any final words?
B: Thank you so much Ashley for spotlighting me on your blog. I know I am called to do this glorious work and I am so thankful for each family that invites me into their sacred birthing space! I hope this post helps families get a feel for me and how I can help them along their journey.

Thank you Brittney!  I really appreciate working along side Brittney because she’s very sweet and brings such a calm spirit and presence in the room.  She is very good and knowledgeable in her work.

January Classes and Support Group

Happy New Year!!  Here are my class dates for January.  Registration is available on my website here.  More information about what is taught in the classes here.  Preregistration is required for all breastfeeding classes.

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Tuesday, January 10: 7-9 PM at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

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Tuesday, January 24: 7-9 at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

and TWO FREE mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group meetings:

Wednesday, January 4 at 6:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Fathers are also welcome at our evening meetings.  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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Friday, January 20 at 3:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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2017 Goals

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It’s almost 2017!  I had originally planned to sit for the IBCLC exam in 2017 and was so excited to find out that I could sit a year earlier than I had planned when they started offering it twice per year.  I want to share with you my business and personal goals for 2017.  There is a lot of power in writing down goals and working to achieve them in bite-sized pieces.

Personal/Family

  • I’m a homeschooling mother.  Something I have struggled with in the past is PLANNING.  I have a love/hate relationship with sitting down and planning things out.  If I can plan out for a few months at a time though we are more likely to do ALL the subjects.  Otherwise sometimes music or art fall by the wayside or something else will for a few weeks.  I hope to start out the 2017 part of the school year well planned and with a good idea of what we hope to accomplish for school work.
  • I want to go on more adventures with my kiddos and husband.  I would love to explore new places in Oklahoma and visit other places nearby (including Texas and possibly even Tennessee).  We have a limited vacation budget while we’re working hard to pay off debt and save for a down payment to get in to a house that’s our own so we really want to explore what this area has to offer!
  • Tomorrow I will be celebrating my daughter’s 3rd birthday (and hubby’s 33rd!).  I’ll be celebrating my longest time breastfeeding as well.  In all, I will have breastfed 6 years and 6.5 months and counting.  My daughter has some tummy issues and thank goodness after a VERY difficult first 6 months breastfeeding is smooth now and it helps her so much when she’s sick.
  • I look forward to celebrating my 11 year wedding anniversary with my husband.  I hope to go OUT and possibly overnight somewhere with him.  Some years we have had to celebrate in or have taken a baby with us but this year I look forward on focusing on us now that our babies are all a bit older!
  • I would like to practice my knitting colorwork techniques in my spare time.  I also would like to make myself another sweater or maybe even 2 and make one for each of my kiddos.
  • I hope that I am able to exercise more often and become healthier.  I battle allergic asthma and while it’s gotten quite a bit better here, I still suffer from time to time which makes exercising very difficult.  I hope that I can stay healthy this next year and have a consistent schedule to take care of myself!

Business

  • Blog: Consistently post every 2 weeks.  Last year was hard preparing for the IBCLC exam.  I have been working on a bunch of really great topics and posts for 2017 though and I hope to keep posting (at least) every other Friday through all of 2017.
  • Blog: I want to interview some really remarkable professionals in our area including the OKC Metro Birth Professionals!
  • Blog: I hope to continue to bring you more mother’s stories!  If you have a story you would like to share with my readers please email me!
  • Continue to offer excellent service to my wonderful clients.
  • Community: Grow the Nurturing Bonds Breastfeeding Circle.  Become a great resource for the members of my local community and give back.
  • Share current, evidence-based information to doctors and work with local professionals that work with moms and babies.  It’s so important that all professionals are sharing the same up-to-date information with new mothers.

What are your 2017 goals and resolutions?

Mother’s Story: How I Got to Where I Am Today (My Personal Story)

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Photo Credit: Ina Reed Photography
     I’m so proud to announce that I am now an IBCLC, RLC!  I received my results on Wednesday and I’m so happy to share that with you.  In honor of my results I wanted to share my story of why I chose this path and how I got to where I am today.  This is my story and some is pretty personal but this is the point of mother’s stories project.  This is a story with just a few edits that I shared on a Facebook group when a mother was asking for how we had gotten in to breastfeeding education or doula work.  I decided to share my full story with her because every puzzle piece is important to my path to get here.
     For those of you new to my blog or story, I just sat for the IBCLC exam in October-it’s been my goal since 2008.
I walked with my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology in 2008. From the time I was young I wanted to work with babies and/or children. I went from wanting to be a Pediatrician (until I decided I didn’t want to go to med school because I knew that would be hard to do and be a mom because I wanted to be home with my kiddos and didn’t think that would be easy to do) to a Neonatal Nurse (until I got rejected the two times I applied to an extremely competitive and highly sought after program in Utah with almost a 4.0 GPA out of high school and with the required college courses). I learned that to keep my RN current I would likely be stuck working holidays, weekends, overnights to work just enough hours if anyone even wanted to keep me on just for those. I didn’t like that idea at all so that was one of many reasons I decided that wasn’t for me. When my son was born I had 2 weeks left of school (I believe a week or maybe two and finals week). He wasn’t able to latch at all. We had major breastfeeding issues and no one really knew how to help us but everyone had a few different ideas. Finally we had a nurse that recognized he was tied almost to the tip of his tongue (knowing what I know now I don’t know for sure WHERE it was located so I can’t say what class of tie it really was but I wish I knew!)-he had a classic heart shaped tongue. The pediatrician refused to clip him saying I must be doing something wrong because he had seen babies with worse ties latch just fine. It was at that time that I started being more skeptical of the medical system and began to learn about where the lack of knowledge was with breastfeeding with medical professionals. We went through absolute hell. I was discharged 2 days postpartum from the hospital with absolutely no way to feed my baby but hope that an ENT would release his tie the next day. I had no pump at all, nothing. My parents went out and bought me a hand pump and I pumped near constantly to try to get something (I believed I had no colostrum because I never saw any when I was forced to bond with my pump every hour while someone else fed my baby). He got clipped and latched once and then never again. The following day we saw an IBCLC that gave us a shield after trying a few things and I cried so many tears of joy because I could FINALLY feed my baby after a very horrible night before when I pumped for hours straight stopping to give my husband a bottle and begin pumping again because he refused formula after he got my milk.
     I became VERY passionate about wanting to help other mothers. When my son was a year old a very wonderful LLL leader asked me if I wanted to explore becoming a leader. I started attending meetings when he was a couple of months old (he always nursed with a nipple shield until he self weaned at 14.5 months). I started the process to become a leader and was done within 2 months. The leader that was helping me beyond that first one to go through the process told me it was a little too fast and to back up and go over a few things with her and wait for a few months. A few months passed and I wasn’t able to become accredited because I didn’t have any extra money to pay my dues-my husband was working and attending school and we had just enough to barely cover our bills and a small amount of groceries, just enough but no extra. My group offered to pay but that wasn’t allowed. I had to sit on things for a while and in the meantime experienced my second loss and third loss while trying for another baby. It took us nearly a year to keep a pregnancy but I found out I was expecting a little after my first son’s second birthday.
     Things got REALLY tough financially and we didn’t even have money to buy food for several months-fortunately I had bought extra here and there and it got us through until we had to reach out for additional help from our church for a month. We were blessed after the birth of our second son for my husband to decide to pick up a second full time job so we could pay down a little bit of our debt from being without my paycheck leading up to our first loss and pregnancy with our first son when I had gone to work as a loan officer on commissions. It was at that time that I was able to pick up and continue with my application. My husband got accepted to graduate school which took us from Utah to Oregon and right after we moved the paperwork was finally finished and I became an accredited LLL leader.
    I was blessed to be able to help many mothers in Oregon through lots of difficulties. It grew me as a mother too being able to continue learning and growing. My daughter came along just before my middle’s 3rd birthday. She had major breastfeeding issues (all 3 of my children were tied-my middle had difficulties for the first 8 weeks but breastfeeding was always uncomfortable). She had a very thick class 4 lip tie and a very tight posterior tie with a little bit of an anterior tie. She was revised by Dr. Ghaheri in Portland where I had been sending moms for a couple of years at that point. Between him and the IBCLC that worked with me and the extent of their passion and knowledge I was driven to complete my requirements to sit for the IBCLC exam. 2017 was my goal. I was able to surpass that goal but it wasn’t without challenges. I saved every bit of my birthday and Christmas money as well as my fees I got from doing babywearing consultations in Oregon to complete my 90 hours of lactation specific education (I had taken my health science classes in college thank goodness because I was on the path to go to nursing school). I did my first half just before my husband graduated with his PhD and he got a job that brought us to Oklahoma last October. I finished the rest through conferences and a couple of webinars (I’ve now far exceeded the required 90 hours because I’m so passionate about learning what I need to know to be the best possible lactation consultant that I can possibly be).
     I began my private practice this year as a Lactation Educator mainly teaching breastfeeding classes to help me get the last bit I needed. I had hoped for and planned for a scholarship to help me with the exam fee ($660) because my daughter has some medical issues that should have been caught soon after her birth. Every extra we’ve had this year has gone to medical bills for her and 3 ER visits for my children and I was super defeated when I found out I didn’t get the scholarship or even a partial one. I tried to come up with a plan but I only had 2 weeks. My husband encouraged me to set up a crowdsource fund which I wasn’t super comfortable with but he really encouraged me as well as a couple of friends. I decided I would try. I received an outpouring of love from some amazing women in our community and many I didn’t even know and my goal for my exam was raised in 2 days!
     Due to some differences in beliefs with some ways that LLL was going I regrettably had a strong feeling to resign from LLL this summer after being a leader for 4 1/2 years. It shattered me. I felt like it was a test though to stand for my beliefs. I received some threats and some verbal nastiness and some other issues that I won’t get in to due to my decision to resign. It has near broken me. I began my own breastfeeding support group to continue the work of giving back for the help that I have received, especially to the low income women that I’m unable to just give my services to at this time (I’m really hoping to set something up though so I will be able to someday), and the mothers that just plain want support. I’ve been pushed back by several barriers but I will continue in that work.
     I have offered limited consultations this year so that I could study and prepare for my exam. I also teach breastfeeding and babywearing classes. My hope is that we are able to buy a house this next year. I will have to raise my prices next year so that I’m able to stay current on requirements and be able to make a small amount to be able to help my family be able to get out of debt except our big student loans and a house. When we can get in to a house I intend to take clients a couple of afternoons each week-my top priority is to my children who are homeschooled (and that’s especially the best thing for them learning about some psychological issues that we’re trying to get answers for and tools to help us be the best possible parents through understanding how their brains are wired differently). I will still do some home visits but I hope to be able to see some more mothers each week in my home office that will be set up just for breastfeeding and babywearing classes and consultations. Every mother I work with makes me fall in love with this work even more. I want to be the best possible lactation professional and hopefully soon consultant that I can be for them. I sure won’t be able to support my family from it but that’s not my goal! My goal is to be knowledgeable and support breastfeeding issues, but especially infant sucking issues and disorders.
     This journey wasn’t easy and it has taken 8 hard years of work to get here. I’m so grateful for my hard working husband that is able to support my family so that I can do this work.  I hope to also be able to eventually help our family out a little bit so we can get to a better place financially and get the help for my boys that they need. Working in lactation is a total uphill battle because it’s a constant fight against the norm and constant defense of why this field is so important. The hope is though that someday my profession won’t really be needed because we’ll all have understanding of breastfeeding issues to the point that no mother will have to fight for a tongue or lip tie revision for her baby, or for extra sucking help from a speech therapist, or help with many of the other special circumstances that I have been trained to work with clinically, and that all mothers will pass knowledge down to their daughters that breastfeeding is normal and good (avoiding many of the common difficulties). If you want to chat about breastfeeding I’m always open to chatting! I also created a group for people who are interested in sitting for the IBCLC exam someday that live in Oklahoma-no matter where they’re at on their journey.

Lactation Cookies, Drinks and Galactagogues

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There is NO “magic” food or drink that will increase your supply.  Your breasts make milk based on supply and demand-the more milk removed, the more you make.  Most mothers can and should trust breastfeeding and watch for the cues that baby is getting enough (for more information see this post).  That said, there are mothers that struggle from hormonal issues, PCOS, diabetes, Insufficient Glandular Tissue, and some other issues that can cause low milk supply.  If after you have read the post linked and baby is not gaining weight sufficiently and/or isn’t having 6-8 wet diapers and 3 poopy diapers each day (24 hours) in the first 6 weeks (may have less poopy diapers after 6 weeks possibly) this would be a good time to:

  • Call an IBCLC and have a thorough assessment of baby’s anatomy and your breasts.  Issues can be ruled out and pre-feeding and post-feeding weights can be taken to get a glimpse of how much milk your baby is taking at that particular feeding.  This is just a glimpse and shouldn’t be used to determine absolutely how much milk your baby is removing from your breasts over a full day.  An IBCLC can also check on any possible positioning issues that may be going on-I’ve found with many of my clients very tiny changes can make a huge difference!
  • Pick up Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk before making any decisions about any extra foods/supplements to take.
  • You may also want to contact your doctor to have prolactin levels checked through some blood work.
  • Finding a cause of the issue is more preferable option because if you’re treating the symptoms rather than the cause you’re just putting a bandage on the problem.

A wise lactation consultant (Christy Jo Hendricks at the GOLD 2016 Lactation Conference) shared a story that really stuck in my mind that I will relay to you now.  We all have that one pair of shoes in our closet.  You know the ones I’m talking about-those ADORABLE pumps that you had to have.  They were a little more than we usually pay for shoes but they were just cute and you had to have them.  You got them home and tried them out for a date or an evening out.  OUCH!  Those adorable pumps aren’t as comfy as you thought there were in the store.  You get home that night and find a blister.  They’re so cute though and a little expensive so you put a bandage on and wear them again the next day to work.  You realize they’re a little too small and they really just don’t feel great on.  Every time you wear them you know you need to wear a bandage.

Closeup of a woman's heel with a blister plaster on

Ultimately, the problem is the fit of the shoes.  Instead of tossing them out and getting a different pair you put a bandage on and keep going though.  Galactagogues work much the same often.

Some mothers do find that certain foods or drinks have boosted their supply.  Some of these work because they’re acting on some type of discrepancy or some mechanism in your body that may need a little extra boost or they’re just helping mama limp along a little (like a bandage).  These are all very individual-Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk AND working with a knowledgeable IBCLC can help you figure out the possible problem together.  Taking the wrong supplement can actually reduce your supply or cause some serious medical issues (remember that herbs are medicines and just like taking the wrong prescription they can cause some major problems or possibly interfere with medications you are already taking).

A few “lactation boosters” that I have seen throw out a lot online:

  • Blue Gatorade (MUST be blue for some reason)-my guess is that this helps if mom is slightly dehydrated or has imbalanced electrolytes.  Oddly enough, I had issues as a child with “fainting spells” and a neurologist said I had issues keeping my electrolytes balanced.  I wonder if this is somewhat common and this is why it may work for some women, especially a new mom that isn’t able to take as good of care of herself as women in other cultures with laying in periods and lots of help from friends and family from their village.  Other options you could try are coconut water or homemade “laborade” drinks that have less sugar and less sodium.

Sports Drink Set Isolated

  • Lactation cookies/bars/smoothies-these often contain oatmeal, flax seed, and can even have some nuts, brewer’s yeast, and fenugreek (from imitation maple syrup).  Some of these ingredients work on the digestive system or just give a calorie boost.  They are often high in sugar though and can really upset a mom’s system with pre-diabetes (many mothers don’t know that they’re pre-diabetic).  Fenugreek also is known to interfere with some medications as well as cause issues with blood sugar.  If you want to eat a cookie-eat a cookie!  It probably isn’t a good idea for many mothers to eat the 3+ cookies each and every day that many cookie makers recommend.  Instead, try eating oatmeal in the morning or try some of the other digestive system aids mentioned in Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk.

American style oatmeal rising cookies

  • Lactation Teas-often contain some or all of the following: fenugreek, marshmallow root, nettle leaf, alfalfa leaf, fennel seed, red raspberry leaf, milk thistle, anise seed, or others.  Most of these are considered safe for breastfeeding depending on the source (it’s a good idea to use trusted brands if you chose to use herbal supplements or teas) according to Nursing Mother’s Herbal.  Many of these aren’t in sufficient quantities to really make a difference though or some are contraindicated long term (more than a few weeks)

Some of these may give you a little boost to help you get through a growth spurt along with nursing frequently and following baby’s cues.  They may also help if you need a little extra boost on occasion when you’re pumping if you notice a little supply dip.  They aren’t necessary though, and are just an extra expense that most mother’s can avoid.  Ultimately though, the best way to increase milk supply is to remove milk more frequently.  If you want to eat a cookie or drink a smoothie go for it!  It’s probably not a good idea to have some of these every day without finding a cause for low supply though.  If you genuinely have low supply issues, working with an IBCLC is the first and best thing to do.  If you don’t find the answers you’re seeking, just like with a doctor or other professional you can always seek out a second opinion.

What “lactation boosters” have you heard about or tried?

 

December Classes

Happy Holidays and Happy December!  Here are my class dates for December.  Registration is available on my website here.  More information about what is taught in the classes here.

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Tuesday, December 13th: 7-9 PM at Cardon Family Chiropractic in Mustang

and TWO FREE mother-to-mother breastfeeding support group meetings:

Friday, December 7th at 6:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Fathers are also welcome at our evening meetings.  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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Friday, December 16th at 3:30 PM.  This is a meeting for mothers and children not comfortable being away from mom (nursing children are always welcome).  Please bring some toys for your older children to be entertained.

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