Returning to Work

March 19, 2011

See New Post HERE



March 5, 2011

My new website is up. I am certain that I will update it and change it over time, but I would welcome feedback on it’s beginning stages. 

I also welcome beautiful photos of bellies, birth and breastfeeding that you would like to share on my website.

I am asking clients and professionals that I have worked with to share testimonials as I begin to expand my independent practice as a Lactation Consultant.

I have included a blog in the layout of my new website and plan to publish future posts on that site.


There are 10 steps required for a hospital to be considered Baby Friendly as outlined by UNICEF and The World Health Organization.

The 10 steps are as follows:

1 – Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 – Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 – Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 – Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 – Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 – Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 – Practice “rooming in”– allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 – Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 – Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 – Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.

To many, these steps might seem logical or even easy. Surprisingly hospitals find it so difficult to assist in successful breastfeeding for mothers and babies that there are only 105 Baby Friendly birth centers in the United States and only 5 in Oregon.

The 5 Baby Friendly hospitals in Oregon are:
Three Rivers Community Hospital in Grants Pass
Providence Medical Center in Medford
PeaceHealth Nurse Midwifery Birth Center in Springfield
Kaiser Sunnyside Medical Center in Clackamas
and very recently joining the ranks of Baby Friendly Hospitals in Oregon is
Providence Medical Center in Newberg.

I recommend contacting your local hospital or birth center and asking them to become Baby Friendly to better support local moms and babies efforts to breastfeed successfully.

To find out more: The Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative


The following information is important and relevant for breastfeeding mothers and mothers who plan to breastfeed in the future. Natural birth affects breastfeeding getting off to a good start. Many sources site that fact including Counseling the Nursing Mother, 4th edition by Judith Lauwers & Anna Swisher. “Parents can arrange for a birthing environment that promotes early, uninterrupted breastfeeding…” “They can choose to deliver their baby at home or at a birthing center to reduce unnecessary interventions.”

As a woman in Oregon you have have the right to choose who will
attend your birth. That freedom is in jeopardy! A bill recently
introduced to Oregon legislature would make virtually all forms of
serving women in pregnancy, birth and postpartum illegal
without a state license.

House Bill 2380 gives a board of non-elected officials the power to decide who can give birth outside of a hospital and who is allowed to help.

If House Bill 2380 passes:

~All midwives would be restricted from serving certain women.

~Unlicensed midwives would be illegal in Oregon.

~Some women would not be allowed to hire a midwife.

~Family and friends could be prosecuted for assisting a birthing

~Doulas could be prosecuted if they assist in a woman’s labor at

~The cost of homebirth would rise.

Tell the state “Hands off my rights! Keep Oregon law the way it is.”

Visit today!
The website provides a copy of the proposed bill, contact information for your local representatives, sample letters to send the representatives to tell them you are happy with our current birth freedom and choices in our wonderful state.


~information provided by Laura Tanner, mother of 3 & homebirth midwife in Salem, Oregon.


December 2, 2010

I often talk to mothers who are advised to begin pumping their breasts and/or supplementing within the first 24 hours.

I also frequently talk with mothers who are trying to get baby back to breast after weeks of pumping and bottle feeding, usually with formula supplementation as well.

After asking these moms why they began pumping in the first place, it is because they are told by hospital staff that they do not have enough milk. There are so many things wrong with this statement. I could discuss the way that the environment in which a woman gives birth and interventions affect a mother’s milk supply, her hormones, and the baby’s ability to suckle. I could go into how much more efficient a baby is than a breast pump and how supporting a mom to feed her baby at the breast would be a much more productive use of time, money, and would also build strong bonds within families. However, I won’t even go into all of these things on this post. In this post, I will try to stick to the basics of colostrum. What is it? What is the purpose of colostrum? How much does baby need in the first few hours? In the first few days?

What is Colostrum?

*Colostrum is basically your first milk & baby’s first food.
*It is thicker & stickier than your milk will be in the next stages of milk production.
*Yellow-ish in color

Why is Colostrum Important? What does it do?

*Colostrum functions as a natural laxative for babe. This is a wonderful way to help baby pass the first stools, meconium.
*Colostrum helps keep baby healthy by providing living cells complete with amazing antibodies that assist an infant’s immature immune system. (they certainly can’t make formula a living substance!!)
*Easy to digest. Perfect food for baby. Any supplementation is enough to change the flora of an infant’s gut for at least 2 weeks.
*aids in excretion of excess bilirubin, helping prevent jaundice
*seals gastrointestinal tract of babe, this helps prevent later issues with food sensitivities

How much Colostrum Does my Baby Need?

Baby’s stomach capacity is approximately the size of the palm of their hand. It is normal for moms to love their baby with so much intensity that they want to do everything just right. It is a powerful mothering instinct to want to make sure baby is fed. It is a great aspect of the strong bond between mothers and babies even before birth. However, it is also important to understand an infant’s stomach capacity and to realize that it is not necessary to fill up an entire baby with milk within the first day. Infants do not have hollow arms and legs and they are born to take only the precise amount of colostrum that your body is ready to feed them as you both learn about breastfeeding together.

The average stomach capacity of a newborn is:

DAY 1 ~ 5-7ml. (wow!! this means your new baby only needs about 1.5 teaspoons per feeding)
DAY 3 ~ 3/4-1oz. (2 tablespoons!! yep, that is all. you & your baby can do this!)
DAY 7 ~ 1.5-2oz (3-4 tablespoons)


The great news is that if you have provided exclusive breastmilk throughout baby’s 1st week, it is so much easier to continue nursing for as long as you wish.

A Great Visual of Colostrum with Hand Expression

Lactation Services

November 15, 2010

I offer breastfeeding help to families in Yamhill & Marion Counties. As an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) I am able to offer assistance to breastfeeding mothers who have questions concerning latch, positioning, supply, breastfeeding when returning to work or school and a variety of other obstacles. I have provided breastfeeding counseling for adoptive mothers, mothers of twins, and many mothers transitioning from pumping-nipple shields-bottle feeding back to skin to skin breastfeeding.

I travel to Salem, McMinnville, Dayton, Dundee and Hopewell Oregon to support breastfeeding families. If you have questions about my services or fees I can be contacted through this blog or my website.


November 12, 2010

A lot of the breastfeeding counseling that I do is for families who have had a hospital birth. It is rare that I work with mothers who choose to have their babies at home. I do not think this is a coincidence. I believe that most breastfeeding problems, like most birth issues are caused by high intervention births. I believe that many of these barriers can be easily remedied with preventative, holistic care.

Many mothers that I talk to prenatally are planning hospital births and they are often planning an epidural. Family & friends frequently encourage epidurals, joking with mothers as they doubt their abilities to handle labor. It is not supportive for people to question a mother’s ability to birth her baby. Although well-meaning family may believe that they are saving a woman from experiencing pain, it can often feel as though they are truly questioning her parenting abilities from the very beginning. After all, what better experience to prepare a woman to parent than birth. She will encounter lows, highs, love and the amazing empowerment that comes from thinking that she can’t go any further, then going there and becoming a mother.

The epidural is a domino effect consisting of a mother losing the empowering experience of a natural birth and often followed by difficulties with breastfeeding. Epidurals do lead to many interventions including cesarean sections. Epidurals affect a mother’s ability to be able to successfully breastfeed her child and shorten the duration of the breastfeeding relationship.

I do form my opinions from anecdotal experiences of hundreds of mothers that I have talked to concerning their birth and breastfeeding experience and I am also biased as I have experienced the wonder of birthing two of my babes at home. However, the effect of epidurals on women, babies, and their breastfeeding relationship is also well-documented.

In 2006, The International Breastfeeding Journal published a study which found that women who had epidurals were less likely to breastfeed in the first few days after birth and those who did were more likely to stop nursing within the first 6 months when compared to mothers who did not receive an epidural. Other studies have also shown a link between epidurals and an infant’s ability to organize suckling properly.

Cesareans typically create barriers to breastfeeding as well. Breastfeeding after a c-section will be another post topic. Cesareans often create challenges to successful breastfeeding due to separation of mom and babe, medication, delayed mature milk (which isn’t necessarily an issue, but will be in the hospital), difficulty with comfortable positioning for breastfeeding during recovery and a variety of other reasons. I am mentioning how a cesarean can affect breastfeeding in this post as epidurals can also lead to cesarean sections which I do not feel a lot of mothers are told in an open honest discussion with their caregiver about true informed choice.

In 1993 researchers began to study the effects of epidurals on first time mothers. However, this trial had to be ceased as the cesarean rate was so great, it was considered unethical to continue. Before discontinuing the study, they found increased rates of cesarean section to be 50% at 2cm, 33% at 3cm, and 26% at 4cm dilation. Risks do appear to lower as a mother reaches 5cm dilation. However, it is important to remember that the risk of cesarean is only lowered in correlation to the epidural, not overall.

I encourage mothers who plan to breastfeed their babies to research their birth options thoroughly. If you are expecting a baby and have any questions about how your birth plan might be related to your breastfeeding goals I would be happy to answer any that I can.


Midwifery and Childbirth in America by Judith Rooks
International Breastfeeding Journal

Risks of Formula

November 7, 2010

Risks of Formula to Baby

diabetes (juvenile & adult)
some childhood cancers
crohn’s disease
necrotizing enterocolitis
cardiac disease
poorer cognitive development
poorer visual development

Risks of Formula to Mother

breast cancer
uterine cancer
ovarian cancer
adult onset diabetes
iron deficiency
loss of empowering effect of successful breastfeeding

~per Dr. Jack Newman’s Visual Guide to Breastfeeding
I HIGHLY recommend this video to both parents & professionals.

Postpartum Mental Health

November 5, 2010

First of all, I entitled this post ‘Postpartum Mental Health’ as I get tired of only hearing about postpartum depression. There is a wide range of perinatal mental health issues that are not only overlooked, but sometimes unknown to a new mom. A mother who is suffering from postpartum anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder might not realize that she may be dealing with a hormone-related temporary issue.

I have been thinking about this subject a lot lately as I have been asked to do a presentation for work and I have also been inspired by a great article in the Sept-Oct 2010 issue of Mothering magazine entitled ‘Breastfeeding Beats the Blues,” by Kathleen A. Kendall Tackett.

After doing a limited amount of research I came across some information that I wanted to share:

“A recent review of 49 studies found that rates of depression are lower in breastfeeding mothers than in their non-breastfeeding counterparts, and that formula feeding is a risk factor for depression.” ~Kathleen A. Kendall-Tackett (bibliography of study found in Mothering magazine)

Breastfeeding can aid in recovery from PPD and protect the bond between mamas & babes as it is an established reason for mom to continue to bond, connect with, look at, and touch her baby. This is vital not only for bonding and mental health, but also social-emotional development.

Three different studies in the latest issue (Sept-Oct 2010) of Mothering magazine have revealed that breastfeeding mothers get more sleep than formula feeding mothers and that quantity of sleep contributes to their positive mental health.
Co-Sleeping can be a way to get plenty of rest while breastfeeding (I recommend the book Sleeping With Your Baby by James McKenna, PhD)

Breastfeeding is a way for a new mom to feel validated as she continues to care for her child and meet their most important needs even when she is feeling down.

Postpartum Support International has a good overview on the different types of perinatal mood disorders.

There are a variety of ways to offer support to a breastfeeding mother who might be suffering from postpartum depression or a similar illness. Often it is a good idea for 1-2 of mom’s support team to be aware of the symptoms of perinatal mood disorders so that they can assist the mother with getting any help that she needs.


October 29, 2010

IBCLC stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I took my exam to become an IBCLC in July. Today I received my results and am so happy to announce that I am an official Lactation Consultant. I am beaming with pride and excitement.

I love knowing that I will represent for my community a certified Lactation Consultant that truly believes in skin to skin nursing. I am not simply passionate about breastmilk, I am passionate about breastfeeding.

To pass this exam I had to have basic knowledge of anatomy, physiology, nutrition, counseling, and detailed knowledge of breastfeeding. I had to complete over 45 hours in breastfeeding education. I had to document over 1000 hours working with breastfeeding women in a supervised setting. After documentation of all of these things, I was eligible to sit for the 6-hour exam.

I am so excited to know that I get the privilege of being an IBCLC that believes in women’s bodies and trusts in the simplicity and truth of being ‘with women’.