CLC, and Cofounder of GoldiLacts
I am a Mama Bear to two cubs of my own, an 8 year old daughter and a son born in September of 2016. My own breastfeeding experience, coupled with a love of coaching and mentorship, ignited my passion to become a lactation consultant and provide quality breastfeeding support for new moms. I have a B.A. in Psychology with an emphasis on Child Development and I have worked with families of young children for 15 years. I am a Certified Lactation Counselor and Parent Mentor.
Breastfeeding is instinctually beautiful but it can be hard. It has been both of these things for me. I am humbled by my personal experience as well as the experiences of the Mama Bears I work with. It is my goal to help create a positive and harmonious breastfeeding experience for you and your cub. I appreciate you inviting me to be a part of your breastfeeding journey.
More About Me…
While I can’t wait to tell you every detail of my birth stories, I’ll stay focused here on the breastfeeding element. I want nothing more than for you to know that breastfeeding can be beautiful. Quite frankly, it has been freaking amazing for me. But if my goal here is to be completely honest, it is my responsibility to tell you it can also be HARD and PAINFUL.
At 8 weeks postpartum with my daughter Jada, I had very clear warning signs that something was wrong with my breast and feeding wasn’t “flowing” (no pun intended) like I thought it should. I was getting advice from a well-intentioned lactation counselor that I found online who kept telling me what I was going through was “normal”. Then my body created three holes on the side of my breast the size of a pencil head (yes, you read that right) that started to drain themselves. It was at that moment when my partner and I decided… this is NOT normal. We rushed to the emergency room and I was told I had a severe case of mastitis. I was admitted to the hospital for a weeklong stay that included IV antibiotics, the surgical drainage of an abscess, and the subsequent supplementation of formula in replacement of breastfeeding. That’s right, it was recommended that I discontinue breastfeeding altogether and due to the separation between my daughter and I, she would need formula. While Jada took the formula like a champ, I was overwhelmed with “mommy guilt” and the overall shock of an experience that I never even knew was possible with breastfeeding. That was it. Our breastfeeding journey was over.
The feelings I felt during this process were so intense they could never be summed up in a paragraph. I can tell you this experience will go down in my history as one of the most mind-altering experiences of my life, and I didn’t fully realize how life-changing it was until now, years later, after contracting mastitis again while nursing my baby boy. After a complication-free c-section delivery, he was gently latched and gulping up yummy tailor made colostrum immedietly after birth. I thought, “THIS is what it’s all about!” About three weeks in, that blissful feeling came to a screeching halt when mastitis returned.
When my doctor told me he recommended I go the emergency room, I can’t begin to tell you the feelings that rushed back. I cried all the way down the hallway, down the elevator, to the car where my partner was waiting for the news, and the whole drive to the ER. I couldn’t bear the thought of being away from my son for a week! I couldn’t bear the thought of abruptly ending our breastfeeding journey that I initially thought was going so well! Thankfully, I had the confidence from my past experience to express my concerns to my healthcare team and it turned out antibiotics were all I needed. I didn’t even have to be admitted to the hospital. I am so thankful to my doctor and nurses, my husband, my business partner Candice, and the rest of my family and support system who encouraged me to push through it. My emotions were most certainly rattled, but Julian and I have been able to return to healthy, joyful breastfeeding and mastitis is a part of our past (for now). PHEW!
I want to let Mama Bears I talk to know that there may be a “hump” to get over. There may be many of them. We aren’t all so lucky to have breastfeeding be a natural, pain-free experience the way it is for some. I recall being at a baby shower only a few weeks after my abscess hospitalization when I overheard a family acquaintance brag to the Mommy-To-Be how “EASY” breastfeeding was and how it was “so NATURAL” for her. She simply could not understand “why so many women have problems with it these days”. I sat there calmly feeding my precious baby her bottle of formula and sweetly smiled while in my head imagined doing a leopard leap across the cupcake table to ring that chick’s neck. (Okay, it may have been the hormones, but it’s the truth.) I swallowed my tears because I wished it were so easy for me. I remember thinking “If only she knew I was nursing my breast back to normalcy after it nearly exploded a week earlier instead of nursing my baby girl who I want to feed and bond with so badly”. If only I knew then what I know now, I could have protected my milk supply and reached my breastfeeding goals.
I am in this profession to help Mama Bears through my experience, strength, and education. I KNOW the struggle is real. I am thankful for it because the very struggles I once despised have ignited my passion to be a catalyst in preserving the breastfeeding journey of a Mama Bear and her Cubs. I am so grateful to have been able to share this story with you and I look forward to meeting you as you embark on what I think will be the most beautiful and meaningful experience of your entire life.