Each birth is unique. I had different pregnancies and 3 very different births. Some labors are fast and intense, as was my 3rd labor and some are very long, drawn-out events perhaps lasting for several days from start to finish. Some moms make firm decisions ahead of time to have a medicated birth and to their dismay get to the hospital too late for any pain medication as their labor was quicker then they thought it would be. Other moms plan a homebirth and need to be transferred during labor as they needed the assistance of medical intervention and the skills of a physician who could offer a surgical birth.
I have had the opportunity to witness first hand how birth impacts early breastfeeding. Observing mothers in hospitals, birthing centers and at homebirths has been quite eye opening to me. I have attended these births as a friend, as a birth doula and as a lactation consultant. I have witnessed first hand, many of the situations that Mary talks about in her book. Today, I would like to highlight one very important area that I feel we are still lacking in and that doesn't get enough attention
Jennifer Gaskill is a former teacher now works in instructional design. She lives with her husband and beautiful 10-month-old baby boy in Florida She is also an aspiring blogger of One Working Mommy, where she writes about new mom life and what's it like to be a full-time working mom. She recently weaned after 9 months of breastfeeding 6 of which were spent exclusively pumping.
Kristine Keller, BS, IBCLC owns a private practice in Austin, TX and it is called Operation Lactation. She has been an IBCLC since 2010. Kristine is married with 2 mostly breastmilk fed boys. She tells us that she had a miserable time breastfeeding. It was hard for her and her two babies. She became an IBCLC to help others prevent the same struggles that she endured. Kristine left her employment in aviation to pursue a career in lactation. She now teaches prenatal classes and provides in home postpartum consultations.
Christine wonders why we are so afraid to be vulnerable. It seems moms need permission to have a different breastfeeding experience. While we don't think they need our permission, it seems that moms have such guilt that having an experienced lactation consultant tell them that it there situation is difficult. It is okay if things are not going as planned. This is hard. And it is okay if you aren't exclusively breastfeeding.
We are talking about how interventions that happen during your birth can directly or indirectly affect breastfeeding in the early days. We are talking about the choices that are made during your labor and birth
Joanna Wilder RN, BSN, LM, CPM has been practicing “good birth” for 25 years. As a nurse Joanna started out in an inner city Phoenix hospital in 1990. Three years gave her a good foundation in Labor and Delivery, Nursery and Postpartum. Next, she helped create Bethany Birth Center. For fourteen years, she had the privilege to work as a nurse in the birth center, led a unique childbirth education program, and served as a community liaison orienting women to birth choices in AZ. This birth center closed in 2007. In November 2006, she began to work toward her licensure as a midwife. In May 2010, she was licensed as a midwife in AZ and completed her national certification or CPM in April of 2011. Joanna has been involved in grass roots community development in inner city Phoenix for 25 years. She works with a teen mom program in “the neighborhood”, and also with a breastfeeding grant program bringing support to Hispanic moms. She is passionate about helping women learn to trust their bodies. One of her passions, birthed from her own story, is walking with women as they heal from childhood sexual abuse. Joanna believes that the birth space is “holy ground”. Breastfeeding creates a powerful space for attachment and bonding to occur, and for mothers to reclaim their bodies, and their stories.
I was born and raised in South Africa. It was there that I obtained my degree in Dietetics and honed my skills providing breastfeeding education to rural communities. I met my husband during my graduate year. I moved to Portland OR with him in 2004 and started working with WIC that same year. In january of this year we moved down to Ashland where I am now starting my own Private Practice after almost 14 years on the public health sector.
She was born in Iran. Her family moved around a lot. Her mother was and her father is English and they married when they were in University. They did go back to Iran, but settled in England. My mom has 7 children, breastfed them all. We had a busy life with all the kids and family activities. She is the eldest daughter and what she describes as the second mom.
Tom Johnston is a midwife and lactation consultant. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Nursing at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee and his Masters Degree in Midwifery at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. He served 27 years in the US Army and retired as the Chief of Midwifery Services for Womack Army Medical Center, the largest Maternal-Child service in the Department of Defense. Since retiring Tom has spent his time as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at Methodist University where he teaches undergraduate nurses, specializing in Maternal-Child Nursing and Nutrition. Tom is uniquely placed as a man in both Midwifery and Human Lactation and the father of eight breastfed children.
Margery grew up in Southern Indiana in a small town. Margery was 1 of 4 girls and was number 2 in the line. She describes a very typical childhood with a mom that stayed home and a Dad that worked outside the home. The family moved to Toledo, Ohio as a teenager, which was not fun because she left all her friends and "the boyfriend." She knew that from the time she was a very young girl she wanted to become a nurse. Margery attended a Liberal Arts College and majored in biology because she knew she wanted to do something in the medical field. She first considered becoming a Dr., then thought perhaps a midwife. So, she started with nursing school, but did not go on to pursue midwifery. She is very happy with how things turned out.
Abby felt that she had a fairly typical upbringing and remembers her childhood fondly. Her family moved to Amsterdam when she was 15 years old and lived there until she was an adult. This move made her family a little more relaxed as Europe as a whole seems to be much more relaxed. The atmosphere in Amsterdam is family centered and very small townish. She moved back to the United States and when she became pregnant, she assumed she was going to go back to work once her maternity leave was over. She was a self-proclaimed workaholic working with teenagers in a high stress program with kids who struggled with mental illness and violent behavior. This was her identity and she figured her husband was probably going to stay home. She was going to run her house like a residential community just like at work... but she said: "they handed me Jack and I am like - what am I suppose to do with this? I am totally prepared to deal with a violent teenager and now they have handed me this newborn and I was not sure what to do with him. I crumbled." Staying at home, separated from her work, she began to realize just how stressful her job had been. She realized that this is something she did not want to bring home to her children. Once home from the hospital, she began struggling with breastfeeding issues. Abby says that she does not know exactly why she wanted to Breastfeed so badly and I doesn't know why she tried so hard, but she did. She talks about how she fought so hard for it and just doesn't know where this intensity came from. Abby said that she felt like she was awake for like 3 months doing research and trying to figure it out. She soon got into this great Breastfeeding place and then thought: " I am so not into going back to work and said I needed to stay home."
Karey Northington is the owner of Northington Fitness and Nutrition. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Nursing and Psychology and is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist though the ISSA. She is passionate about helping others achieve their goals without restriction. Karey is also an IFBB professional athlete who competes in the bikini division and a published fitness model. Most importantly, she is a wife and mother of a sweet 6 year old boy, Nolan.
Kathy grew up in the 60's and 70's in Southern California and was the oldest of 4 kids. Her father was a veterinarian and her mother stayed at home raising her kids. She never really thought much about breastfeeding until she was pregnant with her first baby.
Kellie is originally from Truckee, California which is near Tahoe. She later moved to Sacramento, California where she currently lives now. At first she wanted to be an English Major then a Music Major, then she returned back to being an English major with a minor in music. She taught piano lessons while she was pregnant with her daughter. Kellie worked in the marketing field in corporate America and quickly realized she hated all the bureaucracy.
For the early days and nights of breastfeeding and for the times that you are at home and want to relax and rest your eyes while your baby feeds, I love showing moms and helping them gain confidence to lay down while feeding their baby. The main advantage to this is that both you and your baby can relax all the muscles in your body and just be... just be there... no holding up babies weight, no pillows around your belly, no pillows sliding away. No need to use stools or ottomans or anything else to support your legs.