What led you to become a lactation counselor?
I became an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) after leaving my labor and delivery position at the hospital. I had always loved helping mamas with their first latch. I also loved my own experiences breastfeeding and wanted others to love, or at least like their breastfeeding journey- even if it was a struggle at times. I wanted to be that support outside of the hospital when breastfeeding got a little more tricky.
Tell us about your own breastfeeding journey?
I have 3 kiddos. All have a little different journey, we went through it all. I am currently nursing my youngest who is 3.5 years old. I’ve nursed all of them into toddlerhood.
With my second pregnancy, I continued nursing my son and they tandem nursed for a couple years. My second daughter and my last daughter tandem nursed as well.
I never knew anyone who did any of this in my life. I said something about “nursing my baby for 6 weeks” prior to having babies. Little did I know, 9 years later I’d still be lactating!! I can’t say any of this has been easy and many days I want my daughter to wean herself. Then other days, I realize this is my last baby and we keep going. She’s pretty persistent and told my husband she’ll be done when she is 4. (haha ya right baby girl!) She’s the cutest!
What advice would you give to a mom beginning her breastfeeding journey?
Consult a lactation consultant prior to delivery if you are a new mom or inexperienced mama who had a hard time breastfeeding in the past. Set yourself up for success. And then have them on speed dial when baby comes! Build that bond early. We are here to help navigate those early days.
What is one of the most common struggles you see moms go through in their breastfeeding journey?
I see many mamas not trusting their bodies- we were made to do this. Not all can or want to breastfeed and I am all about supporting what others want to do with their body and baby. So many want to see the ounces that are going into their baby’s body. They want to pump and know exactly what they have. And it doesn’t always work that way. Know the signs of a content baby, watch diaper output, and reach out for help if you need some help or reassurance.
Are you familiar with breast massage? Have you found it to be a helpful tool?
I do recommend breast massage for many of my clients dealing with engorgement, clogged ducts, and repeated mastitis. I have someone in my back pocket who I refer out to when I need a professional massage therapist who has specific breast massage training. I also love vibration and massage. It can be a powerful tool. It’s definitely on my list of things to get before baby comes.
You can find Alisha on Instagram @mama.bird.lactation.services where she shares a ton of amazing tips and information for breastfeeding moms.