In 1998, I graduated from Norwich University, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, a newly commissioned Ensign in the US Navy and was stationed in Bethesda, MD. I loved working with the babies, in the Neonatal ICU (NICU) so much that I made the choice against continuing a career in the Navy. After serving my obligation for the ROTC scholarship, I stayed on as a civilian employee. Doing that for the rest of my career was the plan... Then, I married back into the Navy. I never would have guessed that he would continue his Naval career towards retirement in July 2023.
The birth of our first daughter (2009) taught me that all families deserve support with breastfeeding. I never expected it to to be easy, but I never expected the emotional toll. Through the support of a dear friend, and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant), we got through it. So began my passion to support breastfeeding, and for that I am eternally grateful. I stayed home with her, and had another daughter (2012). We transferred to San Diego along the way.
When our youngest was nearly 2, I completed the pathway for Registered Nurses through Lactation Education Resources, and earned the credential International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), after passing the exam (IBCLE) in 2014.
I'm also a trained yoga teacher. My yoga practice informs my IBCLC practice as much as my training and education. Body alignment, state of mind, and breathing are impactful infant feeding. In December 2019, I trained on Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders through Postpartum Support International, and started the role of coordinator to connect people to local resources in May 2020. Interacting with help-seekers has changed the way I think about most things.
After over 10 years of working in the NICU, I knew that calling human milk "Liquid Gold" is no exaggeration. The beneficial effects on immunity and digestion saves lives. The priority of getting Human Milk in Baby's belly informs my practice, as an IBCLC, today. It is amazing to watch a baby grow from human milk, however that occurs. The NICU setting, necessarily separates the milk from the lactating parent. It has to be that way, but it complicates things. I work with families to make things as low-tech as possible, whilst working towards their goals.
Through experience (personal as well as professional), and my studies, I came to see breastfeeding as worthy endeavor. Through my practice as an IBCLC, I have learned that it can look very different, from family to family. Working with PSI, I developed the understanding that no sleep philosophy and no feeding choice is worth anyone's mental well-being. People often make that bargain, sacrificing their own well-being. We will spend time understanding how you want to be feeding your baby, as well as your healthy boundaries. Your goals are my goals.