Learning to Breastfeed | Best Lactation Consultants in Plano and DFW
Yep, I said it. Sometimes a controversial word. Something that most woman are pretty passionate about, one way or the other. I think we can all agree on two things when it comes to this "B" word;
1) It really is the best option for baby.
2) It can be pretty scary and daunting, especially for a new mom.
Today in our Family First blog series, I want to introduce you to someone that I wish I would have known 10-12 years ago. (Our first in this series can be found HERE.) My breastfeeding story starts out easily enough. With my first, I was in between jobs and was home with her 24 hours a day. When she was hungry, I fed. For the first five months, everything was pretty easy and I felt foolish for being so afraid in the beginning. However, I started back to work a little shy of her turning 6 months. I tried pumping and nursing when I was home, but it quickly became apparent that I was not producing enough to satisfy her. I didn't know what to do, and my family and friends didn't know what to tell me because they hadn't gone through it. I felt ashamed as I gave in and started giving her formula. Fast forward to my second child, my son. I was working full-time, and had a 22 month old. We thought we would be smart and save money, so we took her out of daycare for the 8 weeks I had planned on being home with my son. This time breastfeeding was far from easy. It hurt. I was trying to keep up with a newborn and an almost two year old. I was trying to help take care of work, even though I wasn't there. We went to our first or second doctor's appointment, and they told me my son wasn't gaining enough weight. He was born at 5lbs, 15oz, and at the time of the appointment weighed less than he did at birth. I was so scared. He was already so tiny, and here he was not growing. I think that moment was biggest "mom failure" moment up to that point in my motherhood. The doctor suggested supplementing with formula. So I did. And the more I did it, the less he breastfed, the less I produced. By the time I went back to work I had completely dried up and he was on full formula, and thriving. I'm not against formula. My mantra is "Fed is Best." However, I wish I would have had other options. I wish the doctor would have connected me with a lactation consultant. Someone like Kelli.
I first met Kelli through a local Facebook group and was privileged to capture her and her youngest daughter during a breast feeding portrait session. Afterwards, we sat down and talked and I knew I had to get the word out on her and her services. It was clear her passion and her heart for this cause, just talking with her for 5 minutes, it felt like we were life-long friends. Not to mention I learned so much about breastfeeding. I wanted to make sure that all moms or future moms that I know had the chance to know about Kelli and what she provides. Kellie serves the Plano, Dallas, DFW, Austin, and surrounding areas. So without further ado, let me tell you about one of the best lactation consultants in Plano and DFW:
Let’s start with your story. We would love to hear how you, your family, and how you got started.
In 1998, we welcomed our first son into the world. Our nursing journey began well, but due to an undiagnosed thyroid condition at ten weeks postpartum, I was no longer producing milk. My little guy was literally starving. That’s when I began my journey of resolving nursing issues for myself and other mommies. I have spent the past two decades researching and helping moms nurse and care for their babies. For many years I served in more of a postpartum doula role, with some lactation support and education for moms. Six years ago we were preparing to welcome our second son into the world. At that time, I was also beginning to shift my scope of practice to focus on lactation and supporting moms from the prenatal stages of pregnancy all the way through the postpartum period. Then 2016 was a very exciting year, as I took and passed the International Board for Lactation Consultants Exam, and was blessed to welcome our baby girl into our lives. She is now 23 months and continues nursing on demand. We are excitedly expecting our fourth child to arrive in December.
Tell us about what it is that you do and what sets you apart from others in your same field.
I am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I help mothers with various issues that arise during their breastfeeding journey. Occasionally, I am also called on to help them safely wean, especially in the case of medically necessary weaning. Being Internationally certified gives me the ability to work around the globe without needing additional licensure.
Believing strongly that a supported mother has a supported baby, I help moms during their prenatal period and throughout postpartum recovery. I am an advocate for mothers making informed decisions and realizing their rights. I put a great deal of emphasis on making sure the mother receives proper care and education as well as rest during the months leading up to her birth and for several weeks following.
One of the things that sets me apart is that during my training as a lactation consultant I was blessed to have two mentors. One was employed by an excellent area hospital, while the other ran a private practice and visited most of her clients in their homes. Being invited to assist in these two vastly different mother-consultant relationships, opened my eyes to many variables I was not previously aware of. The nature of the consultations varied greatly; the difference in the time spent with the mothers-15 minutes vs 2 hours; hands on latching instruction vs sitting back and verbally guiding the mom; following hospital protocol vs what works in a home, given the resources available to you. I find value in both approaches, and I am thankful moms are able to receive nursing support from the moments following birth all the way through days following their little one’s last nursing session.
Also, I have personally had the experience of both hospital and home births. There is such a huge difference in the birth experience in these two environments. Both situations have given me understanding and empathy for what other mothers are experiencing and feeling about their recent births.
What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
Two things stand out in my mind when asked this question the first is helping a mom who had preeclampsia, and spent a month in the hospital leading up to her baby’s premature birth. This was her third birth and while she found value in breastfeeding, said it was not for her. I respected her wishes and gave her support and education without emphasis or talk of breastfeeding. A week before the birth she called me to the hospital and asked if it was too late to make a plan to breastfeed her baby, I said absolutely not. Given the baby’s impending early arrival and knowing the baby would be spending the next several weeks and possibly months in the NICU, I got to work sitting down with the mother and NICU nurses making a plan, to support both mother and baby. Working together before the baby arrived allowed everyone to make informed decisions and have realistic expectations. Through an aggressive schedule of breastmilk feeds both, at breast and via tube, and lots of skin-to-skin time, we were able to get the baby (who was projected to spend 6-8 weeks in NICU) out in 3 weeks and 6 days.
Helping moms relactate is another area that really makes me proud. Occasionally, moms stop breastfeeding, and then desire to relactate for various reasons. Helping them accomplish this goal makes me so very happy. I had a mom of twins who had stopped nursing when the babies were about 3 weeks old. At 5 months postpartum, she called and asked if it’d be possible to relactate. In two weeks, she had successfully began nursing her babies again.
Who would benefit most from your services, and what is the best way to get in touch with you?
Any expectant mother or mother who is struggling with breastfeeding issues would benefit from contacting me.The best way to reach me and better understand what I offer is to visit my website Milkandcooking.com. My mobile number and email address are of course on the site as well.