Good to Know, Think it over

How much does that cost?

It’s been awhile since I’ve set a blog into the atmosphere.
I am here to help encourage the discussion about the cost of a lactation counselor. I want to break down the cost of purchasing support from a lactation counselor versus the cost of formula feeding.
As a certified lactation counselor I get asked quite frequently about the prices I charge for support. Most feedback I get is positive but sometimes I hear “well thats a lot for right now” and will not be contacted again. We all know or have heard of the benefits of breastfeeding and I am very supportive on the families choice to choose between breastfeeding and/or formula. However, I also believe that support is crucial with breastfeeding and I want to be sure it’s something thats always available in my community. Families can have the best intentions to breastfeed from the beginning but along the way become discouraged and feel forced to using formula. Sometimes the benefit of a lactation counselor can be misunderstood until the service is explained more.
My main service with lactation is a home visit which cost $50 for 2 hours. This service are usually requested between the first day after being released from the hospital all the way to when the baby is a month old. I prefer clients contact me as soon as they notice an issue or have any concerns. If not to setup a home visit, but to just talk about the situation before it gets worse. I don’t want anyone to feel discouraged with breastfeeding or even worse to be in pain while breastfeeding.
The home visit I conduct is minimally 2 hours long and involves a full discussion of birth, first latch and any concerns that follow. We review what has been attempted and how the family is feeling about the overall breastfeeding journey. I also give a quick overview on how a good latch can be made and any additional advice that might help. During the visit I perform a latch evaluation, where I watch a feeding to see if there are any areas that need improvement. A latch evaluation consists of an average 17 areas I’m professional trained to watch and review to verify the latch is the best quality. This visit and discussions are done with myself, the mother, partner and any other supportive family members who may have questions of there own. I encourage the full family support and participation with feedings.
Following the home visit I am available by phone, text or email to continue supporting my clients through any issues that may arise. Breastfeeding feels like it changes from day to day due to the fact that newborns learn, grow and change so quickly in the first few months. I continue one on one contact with my client until they give me validation they are comfortable and happy in their breastfeeding journey.
Now to formula and what it can provide, according to Baby Center*, the average cost for formula is between $60-$100 a month. I know from personal experience with using formula with my first son that the average monthly cost for our family living in CA was closer to $150 a month. It was a significant addition to our monthly bills. Formula of course doesn’t have the added health benefits that breastfeeding does but it is overly nutritious to keep our children healthy and fed.
With that being explained it shows that the support of a lactation counselor is less then half of the monthly cost for formula. I know for many reasons we all can’t succeed at breastfeeding, as I myself couldn’t with my first, but I do know that with the correct support from a professional, it significantly increases your chances of successfully breastfeeding. I was able to find the support to have a successful breastfeeding journey with my second child and have been blessed enough see that result in many of my clients.
The next time you hear someone say that breastfeeding is difficult or they can’t seem to decide between formula or breastfeeding please give them this information and let them know that assistance is here to help them decide along with the support they deserve in their choice.
originally published January 31, 2017

Good to Know

Where is your line?

I refer to it as “drawing the line.”
We all have a line we draw in the hypothetical sand on what we will/will not do or participate in. Some might think of it subconsiously, but I’m more of a visual thinker, so I think of it as a line drawn in the sand that defines my “will” and “will not.” I think this goes for every area of life, but today’s focus is on breastfeeding.
   The first time I was made aware that we all draw lines on our comfort level to breast milk was when my husband was feeding my first born with a bottle of breastmilk. My son innocently spit up some milk on my husband’s arm and the reaction he produced shocked me. You’d think my son just spit up acid as quickly as my husband put him down and ran – yes ran – to the sink to wash “that stuff off.” I stared in shock as he vigorously scrubbed his hands, wrists and arms as if he was prepping for brain surgery. I mean, didn’t he realize how much hard work it was to produce such a vital thing for our son to thrive and grow healthy with? Why was this substance so detested by him when I was excited and proud of every drop that came out of my body?
     I never confronted him about this event, but he has now been made aware of it while reading this blog post. At the time I was so focused on simply picking up my newborn son and wiping his sweet face and neck of the regurgitated breastmilk that I simply forgot to react to my husband’s rudeness. However, from that feeding on I would cringe from shame every time my son spit up anywhere on my husband. Let’s be clear: my first son had violent reflux, so there was a whole lot of cringing going on for me.
   Weeks later, after the initial incident, I was telling a close friend about it. She also happened to be breastfeeding and started to tell me how her husband had a disturbed reaction to her breastmilk – when he saw her taste it. She had simply tasted some breastmilk to be sure it wasn’t spoiled before feeding it to her daughter and her husband had jumped up and snatched the bottle from her hand. I had to use every strength of my willpower to control my facial features to not show how shocked, disturbed and grossed out I was. At that moment I realized my hypocrisy in this breastmilk discussion. Clearly she was comfortable tasting breastmilk as much as I was rubbing it into my skin.
I decided then that I would do my best to never judge someone else on where they draw their line in the sand. This stigma goes with every level of parenting. We all have different lines drawn in sporadic distances from one another. Judging the way a mother shows love, disciplines, feeds or communicates with her kids is only hypocritical of how you do tho
se same items. There is no “one size fits all” parenting style. If there was, that would make life real easy and boring. Kids are meant to keep us on our toes, to show us the strength and durability we have. Let’s be honest, every moment of the day, we are striving to keep someone alive to the best of our abilities. Who’s to judge that?
Let’s all just draw our lines and respect all the others we cross, or don’t, along the way.
originally published August 16, 2016
Good to Know

Eggs are more than breakfast

     Here is some helpful advice for anyone who is expecting a newborn, has a newborn or plans to ever have children. I discuss this issue during the lactation course I offer as a Certified Lactation Counselor and also as a labor doula, during the prenatal visits. Visuals are helpful and some can be reused as a delicious meal.


Good to Know

Ultimate newborn soothing technique

Tidbit of information that i believe is HIGHLY important for those early days and weeks of newborn life. This technique has tremendously helped me as a Postpartum Doula with enabling mom plenty of sleep all the while I’m easily soothing baby. Definitely a trick to try out and comment to give me feedback on how it works for you.