What is your breastfeeding story?

When I took my first prenatal birthing class the instructor made a comment about breastfeeding that really stuck with me. She said that we should all spend some time preparing to breastfeed our new babies – afterall, we spend much more time breastfeeding than we do giving birth! Up to that point I had been thinking an awful lot about the upcoming birth of my baby but I had not spent much time considering how I would feed my baby. This really encouraged me to spend some time researching breastfeeding in the weeks leading up to my daughter’s birth.

Once I began my breastfeeding journey I was so thankful for this time spent preparing! I was overwhelmed by the challenge of nursing a newborn – and by the joy I felt doing it! I ran into many obstacles early on but I felt that I knew where to turn for information and support, which was critical to being able to tackle the challenges and move through them

Since that time I’ve continued to breastfeed happily through many different ages and stages. I’m now looking forward to welcoming my second child and am so very excited for this new breastfeeding experience which will certainly be so different now that I have much more knowledge and information available to me!

You’re a Yoga Teacher – why offer breastfeeding support?

To me, conscious wellness encompasses all areas of one’s life. The practice of yoga initiated on a yoga mat quickly swells to other areas of a person’s life. The philosophy and teachings of yoga can be applied to pregnancy, birthing, parenting, and more! When my daughter was born I quickly realized how important my yoga practice would be in guiding me in my journey of parenthood. On a more practical level, I struggled to find breastfeeding information and support in the early days. I felt strongly that I would breastfeed my daughter (offering us both the opportunity for whole health and wellbeing – both physically and emotionally – over a lifetime) but came up against hurdle after hurdle. Inspired by the incredible supports I eventually did find (La Leche League Leaders and group moms, Breastfeeding Moms in NL Facebook page, Dr. Jack Newman, and more) I decided to become a peer breastfeeding counselor and then to develop classes which help parents-to-be prepare for this journey. As I often say about yoga, breastfeeding is simple, but not easy! Having good information and resources on hand is critical for breastfeeding success. And so I am excited to offer that to the families of Newfoundland & Labrador.

Why should I take a breastfeeding preparation class? 

It’s widely known that breastfeeding is the physiologically normal way to feed a baby. The benefits of this normal infant feeding process are very well documented and promoted! But, while we all understand the benefits of breastfeeding the “how to” of breastfeeding is much less clear. For a few generations our culture has been “bottle oriented”; many more people have bottlefed their babies than have breastfed. Because of this, much of the wisdom and hands-on experience of breastfeeding has disappeared. While your doctors, nurses, parents and friends may all understand the benefit of breastfeeding your baby they may not have the practical, hands-on experience needed to support a family in meeting their breastfeeding goals. To illustrate this more fully, in Newfoundland & Labrador today:

– we have the lowest exclusive breastfeeding rates across the country

– only 6-17% of birthing parents who want to exclusively breastfeed for 6 months actually reach their goal

– 74% of babies are supplemented with something other than breastmilk before they are discharged from the hospital (usually 2-3 days post-birth)

And so, to beat these odds and successfully meet your own breastfeeding goals (whatever they may be) it is very helpful to prepare for breastfeeding and to arm youself with good information and support. When your baby is born you become his or her advocate and primary source of nourishment. This course will prepare you for this wonderful experience!

In addition to giving you the information you need, this class will also help you develop your support network. As a participant in this class you will be able to contact me by phone or email for breastfeeding support once your baby is born. I also do a limited number of home visits for families that need that type of support. You will meet other families with similar infant feeding goals and with babies due around the same time as you. This class is a friendly and comfortable environment for you to learn about breastfeeding and prepare for this wonderful, and challenging, experience!

Are you a Lactation Consultant?

The term Lactation Consultant is used widely and means many different things. It is an unregulated term and can therefore be applied to many different people with a wide variety of backgrounds, experiences and educations. The gold standard of Lactation Consultant certifications is the IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). An IBCLC is a health care professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding. I am not a clinical practitioner and I am not an IBCLC. Read more here.

What is a Breastfeeding Counselor?

As a Breastfeeding Counselor I have cultivated the skills needed to support breastfeeding families, including counseling skills. I have developed a thorough understanding of the physiology of lactation and the ethics related to lactation practice. I am currently awaiting certification as a Breastfeeding Counselor through Childbirth International. My certification will be awarded once I complete the required number of one-to-one counseling hours.

In addition to this program of study I have been learning about breastfeeding independently since before my own daughter was born in 2012. I have been an active member and administrator of the very busy Facebook group Breastfeeding Support – Newfoundland & Labrador since that same time. I have also supported breastfeeding families in various other peer support capacities. I am very passionate about breastfeeding and am so excited to share that passion in this new format!

I’ve already had my baby and I need breastfeeding help now. Where can I get support?

Congratulations! There are many wonderful breastfeeding supports available to you. Please see Breastfeeding Resources for complete details.

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