Birth Trauma

I cringe whenever a new mother tells me that her baby’s birth was awful, but all that matters is that her baby is healthy and well.

I want to scream “NO! That’s not all that matters!  YOU matter just as much!”

Somehow, society has decided that what happens during the birth is obsolete, and all that matters is a happy, healthy baby.  Of course we all want a happy and healthy baby, no one is denying that or saying anything contrary to that.  However, if things do not go as easily as you had hoped, that can be disappointing, upsetting, and downright traumatic.  When someone tells you that its ok, the healthy baby is all that matters, they are minimizing the reality of what really happened.

Traumatic birth is a real thing.  It happens a lot, way more than people think.  It is talked about even less.  Often the mothers I work with tell me they just want to forget what happened, put it behind them.  Who can forget the birth of their baby?   It’s a significant life altering event.   Finding a way to process what happened is a meaningful and important part of recovery.

This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about traumatic birth.   Tune in to hear more!




Partner Support

When I had my first baby, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. I was so unprepared for the whole experience and I didn’t know how to ask for the help I needed – if I could even articulate what that was. I figured people would just know what to do.

They don’t.

If you don’t know what you need and don’t know how to ask for what you need, you will be doing way more than you should be doing. If you are one of those strong-willed mamas (I happen to be one of those) that denies needing help or figures that it will be easier to do it yourself, well…you might learn the hard way.

We weren’t meant to do this alone. We were not meant to have a baby and do everything by ourselves without support, guidance or both. Maybe you’re thinking “it’s ok, I have a wonderfully supportive partner”. Well, that might be enough. However, the chances are that your supportive partner doesn’t know what to do either.   Somehow, as the generations moved on, we lost the art of community support. Families used to rally around new mothers, helping with meals and other children and recovery. Mothers and babies were left to bond, breastfeed and recover from the childbirth experience, knowing that their aunts, mother, sisters, neighbors were there to pick up the slack. It’s not like that anymore. Well, I’m sure it’s like that somewhere, but it is no longer the expectation. We are almost offended by the offer of help, as if it is the universe’s way of telling you that you aren’t good enough. I think it’s time that it circled back around again, and we appreciated this for what it is – a celebration of bringing a baby into the world and supporting the new family as they learn the parenting ropes.

This week Dianne and Abby talk all about partner support and how this looks. Check it out here:



Traveling with the Breastfeeding Baby

Sometimes we get some pretty great questions from listeners of the podcast. Recently we had a mom email us with questions about traveling with a breastfeeding baby. This is a pretty broad topic – there are a lot of variables here. We covered several, but I really think this is one of those things that you really don’t consider at first. I mean, you just had a baby…are you planning a trip? Probably not. However, 6 months later you may decide to pack up the car and hit the road. What will you need? What should you expect? Maybe it’s not a road trip, but you’re flying somewhere. Can you get past TSA with breastmilk (yes you can, but we talk about that on the podcast) or breastfeed the baby on the plane sitting next to a complete stranger?

We have said it over and over again; breastfeeding is not a deal breaker for living your life. You can absolutely take trips and do whatever you want to do. The bigger consideration is that you now have a baby, and that will complicate any kind of travel – it’s not breastfeeding that is a problem. You would still have to feed the baby. Could you imagine trying to find a place with clean water to make a formula bottle while running through an airport or stopping at rest stops?

As we get closer to vacation season (isn’t it always vacation season though?) you may be starting to think about these things. Check out this week’s podcast for more information and some tips on how to make traveling a breeze.


Distracted Breastfeeding

You finally get on a roll with breastfeeding. It felt like it would never happen – then all of a sudden your sweet baby is breastfeeding well, is more efficient, even sleeping longer stretches. And then it happens – distraction.

Distraction sets in around 4 months or so. One day your baby is breastfeeding just fine. The next day every little noise makes him turn his head. Sometimes while still holding on to the nipple (not pleasant at all). Any noise. Is the tv on? Did the cat come in the room? Is the dog barking? Phone notification go off? Or maybe your baby just wants to stop and gaze into your eyes.

I admit, part of me loves this stage. Your baby’s brain is growing at an amazing rate and he is starting to recognize the whole wide world around him.   There is so much to look at and so much to learn! It may seem like your baby isn’t feeding as much, may even seem as if she’s weaning, but that’s definitely not the case. You may have to start changing your patterns a little to accommodate your new routine. Take your baby in a dark, quiet room for feeds, limit distractions, get a nursing necklace…or just accept that your baby is enjoying everything that is happening around him and trust that he will get what he needs when he does eat.

Listen to more discussion about distracted feeding on this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. Lots of good suggestions to help you through this next part of your breastfeeding journey!



Breastfeeding Stories

I have been a lactation consultant for about 10 years now. More than that if you want to count the years I was working towards my certification. I have talked to so many mothers and heard so many stories about childbirth and breastfeeding and extended nursing…some heartwarming and some heartbreaking. I feel so honored when a mother trusts me with her story, this is information that will always sit close to her heart and live forever in her memory.

My son is 17 and my twins are 15. I remember the nurse who first helped me latch my son. 17 years ago. I remember the words she said, the encouragement she gave and how she did not breastfeed all 4 of her kids but she wished she had. I remember my twins’ cluster feeding in the hospital on night 2, and the nurse who came in to help me because I couldn’t figure out how to calm them both at the same time post cesarean section.   I remember my dr telling me that I didn’t have to try breastfeeding both babies, I could alternate breast and bottle. I remember feeling defeated because I wanted help, and she was offering me an out that I did not want to take. I remember thinking “well, I guess I will figure this out on my own”. And I did. I remember the lactation consultant in the local hospital who handed me a pack of lanolin and sent me on my way when I went in looking for help with a bleeding nipple.   These are memories that will stay with me forever, because these people were in my life during a very vulnerable time.

When new mothers tell me their story, it is usually in great detail, with emotion.   Sometimes these stories haunt me for a long time. Sometimes I find myself so angry, angry at society for misunderstanding how important breastfeeding is. It is this that makes me a lactation consultant. It is my own experience that led me in this direction. I have told mothers that their experience will make them breastfeeding advocates as well, and to tell their story to everyone.

This week’s podcast is Part 2 of a story that came to us via email. Don’t miss hearing what this mom experienced during her breastfeeding journey.



Skin to Skin and Breastfeeding

Skin to skin is a practice that has become so widespread in the last few years. When I first started working with moms and babies, skin to skin after delivery wasn’t a “thing”.   In fact, I remember attending a birth as a doula several years ago and I requested that the baby stay with mom and the response I got from the nurse was “she can have the baby when we are done”.

Going from that, to encouraging skin to skin as soon and often as possible is a big jump. The benefits of skin to skin are just amazing, and I am disappointed that this isn’t something we have been doing all along. I mean…really…it’s so natural. When you think about it, as adults we like to be skin to skin with our partner if we can. It’s such a calming, comfortable place to be. Why wouldn’t your newborn baby want to be skin to skin with mom? It’s the next best thing to being in the womb. Babies that are skin to skin with mom after delivery are calmer babies overall, their body temperature regulates easier, respirations are even, breastfeeding is easier and oxytocin is flowing. If mom cannot be skin to skin with baby right away, this is a good time for partners to step up and tuck that baby into your shirt.   Sometimes called “Kangaroo Care”, skin to skin has been known to save the lives of preemie babies in the NICU. This is one of the most important things you can do for your baby in the first weeks of life (and beyond).


This week on the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast, Dianne and Abby talk about the benefits of skin to skin. Check it out here:

You can also check out this link on 10 benefits of skin to skin (there are more than this, but you have to start somewhere!)




Breastfeeding in the Medical World

I have told my story about how I got into the world of birth and lactation many times. If you don’t know, I’ll summarize for you – it was completely an accident. I didn’t know anything about lactation when I had my kids. I learned a lot when I was a new mother, and then when my marriage broke up my twins were just 2 years old, so I had to get some kind of job. I started as a peer counselor and the rest is history.

I wasn’t used to rubbing elbows with hospital staff. As a breastfeeding peer counselor who was trying to learn, grow and succeed, I did many hospital visits, networked with different groups and learned as much as I could. It worked. I learned a lot, gained a ton of confidence, and went back to school for my bachelors and then a masters. I became very comfortable interacting with doctors and nurses, medical directors, professors…anyone and everyone who happens to find themselves in the lactation and birth community. Some became very good friends; good enough to interact socially and spend time together outside of work.

Every once in a while I still come across a medical professional who doesn’t seem to accept “Lactation Consultant” as a professional title, let alone one that has years of education behind it and even more clinical experience. It doesn’t happen often anymore, but when it does it still catches me off guard. I am one of those personalities that finds good in everyone, so when I feel insulted, it is especially hurtful. Besides, doesn’t everyone have worth? If there is one thing I have learned in my years of becoming who I am, I have found that everyone has worth; everyone has something to bring to the table. If someone acts as if they do not need anyone else for anything, they will soon figure out why that is the wrong attitude to have.

Check out this week’s episode of the Badass Breastfeeding Podcast. Dianne and Abby will talk about Dianne’s recent interaction with a doctor, and Abby will tell stories about her interactions with authority figures. You don’t want to miss this one!