WHO I AM & WHAT I BELIEVE:
I am a Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), as well as a trained Doula, and a mother of two young boys. I am also a Certified Innate Postpartum Care© Provider. I provide breastfeeding support and education to mothers and families in the general region of West Sonoma County and Santa Rosa, CA. I am also available for comprehensive holistic and nutritional consultation and care throughout preconception, pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum and beyond. I have a BA from the University of Vermont, and was trained and certified as an RN at University of California San Francisco. I have attended births in and out of the hospital, and have studied and worked in the field of breastfeeding support for almost ten years—in the West County community, at Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, and Sutter Santa Rosa. I myself have struggled and had to overcome obstacles with breastfeeding after giving birth to my sons in 2011 and 2013. I tend to approach my work from a holistic, family-centered perspective, and I am dedicated to healing birth trauma and nurturing women through the challenges of early motherhood.
More than anything, I am passionate about caring for the mother-baby dyad—a simple yet hugely powerful relationship that is truly more than the sum of it’s parts. I believe that my calling in life is to “nurture the nurturer” in order to benefit both the short and long-term lens of mothering. I am convinced that breastfeeding and holistic postpartum care are powerful means for the prevention of a myriad of problems than can arise in the family structure, and thus contribute significantly to the well-being our greater society.
FROM MY EXPERIENCE,
breastfeeding and holistic postpartum care are unifiers that effectively embody all of my values—economic, holistic, healing, political, emotional, psycho-social, feminist, ecological and biological.
Unfortunately, in our modern times, with disjointed communities and following a systematic and deliberate effort in the middle part of last century to disempower a woman’s ability to breastfeed, there are not consistent models for this basic biological behavior. Most of us do not grow up around aunties and other women who demonstrate breastfeeding for us from a young age. Additionally, the fast pace of our society is largely not conducive to the slower pace of early motherhood and the acquisition of breastfeeding skills. Women and healthcare providers are often looking for a quick fix to the early hurdles of newborn care and breastfeeding. Particularly for first-time mothers, those first days, weeks and months are just the beginning of the learning process and the discovery that, truly, the more we learn, the more we realize we don’t know. My goal is to help you maneuver these dense physical and emotional hurdles by providing direct and individualized care and consultation.
HELPING YOU meet your breastfeeding goals without judgement:
I am grateful to function as a holistic professional, IBCLC, and RN outside of the hospital paradigm. This allows me to “say it like it is” without the constraints of corporate structures or management. At the same time, I am experienced working within those structures, I can see them for their value, and I am happy to coordinate care with whomever you choose to follow you through pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum period.
I have seen health care from many perspectives, both personal and professional, and I have compassion for each individual’s experience and point of view.
I am guided by a holistic philosophy, but also respect and honor the role that allopathic care plays in higher-risk situations, or simply if that is what you need and want for you and your baby.
In my role, I approach each case with a clinical eye, yet my goal is to harness your own truth and power, however that may individually manifest.
As a Registered Nurse, I bring a depth of experience, both educational and clinical, to my work. I am certified, licensed, and re-credentialed every few years. I am experienced in the implementation of care plans and comprehensive health teaching within all aspects of maternal and newborn care. My license and certification assure that I will follow up, make recommendations, and modify your plan based on clinical assessment and evidence. I am legally responsible for the care I give and I will coordinate with your care team over the time we work together. My recommendations are evidence-based and I assess situations scientifically.
Becoming an IBCLC requires college-level academic preparation, and specific education in breastfeeding and human lactation. It also requires substantial hands-on experience helping breastfeeding mothers. Certification is achieved by examination and is maintained by ongoing continuing education and self-directed learning. I am guided by a Code of Conduct and Standards of Practice set forth by a governing board, and I benefit from membership in professional organizations like the International Lactation Consultants Association (ilca.org) and the United States Lactation Consultants Association (uslca.org). I am constantly furthering my learning goals, both within the health care paradigm and outside of mainstream approaches.
WHY HOLISTIC POSTPARTUM CARE?
I don’t think it is possible to provide lactation support without integrating the many factors that may influence a woman’s pregnancy, birthing, newborn and postpartum experiences. Breastfeeding does not exist in a vacuum, and that is why I broaden my practice to include holistic pregnancy and postpartum care.
Social change and uplift cannot progress without greater value for this work. Healing of our culture, I believe, must begin with valuing children and that cannot be successful without properly tending to the care, nurture and empowerment of mothers, particularly in the postpartum period and early years of mothering.
This is the work for me.
Caitlin attended the birth of my second child. My labor was already fairly advanced when she arrived (it went much more quickly than I anticipated!) and I was deep in a contraction and didn't look up to greet her. However, I remember hearing in my husband's voice how grateful he was for the back-up, and he took a break and let Caitlin sit with me through my next contraction. It was a seamless transition in birth partners—she was calm, centering, and supportive. When it came time for my daughter to be born, I remember Caitlin reminding me to "go low", as my voice was rising in timbre. That helped me to refocus my energy and my daughter was born moments later. While the nurses were busy taking care of other things, Caitlin helped my baby find my nipple and begin nursing immediately. We were so lucky to have her calming presence there with us.