Jennifer Davidson, RN, IBCLC

Interview with Jennifer Davidson :: Breastfeeding Visionary

Jennifer Davidson, RN, BSN, IBCLC is a Los Angeles based Pediatric Nurse, Lactation Consultant and breastfeeding expert of nearly 30 years. She is a visionary in the field of breastfeeding, as well as the co-creator and producer of “The Milky Way” movie. She does house calls, and also works in the office of pediatrician Dr. Jay Gordon. Jennifer is passionate about helping mothers, babies and breastfeeding.Jennifer Davidson, RN, IBCLC

I met Jennifer five years ago during my son’s long stay in the NICU; she was instrumental in supporting me in being successful breastfeeding a premature baby. I refer Jennifer to my clients who want to breastfeed and find her expertise and positive outlook to be both comforting and confidence building.

Hi Jennifer, so, tell me… what’s in it for the mom while breastfeeding?

A mother is flooded with natural hormones during and after birth. These are her most marvelous gift. They come from within and provide for her a sense of wellbeing, strength, and calm. They impart an inner knowing, so she can begin to trust herself and her instincts.

Then why do some moms find themselves uncomfortable with a baby at the breast?

Not all women want to breastfeed, and that’s ok. But for those who do, I think society sends a lot of mixed messages regarding breastfeeding, this can create doubt and discouragement which can cause her to distrust her instincts, and often a reduction in milk supply.

What we value in our culture is not very supportive of a breastfeeding mother.  In our western world, using our breasts for feeding our babies is in conflict with breasts being seen primarily as sexual objects.  In movies and television the thought process often boils down to: “We need to make a lot of money so let’s show some breast.” Consumerism, sexuality, and productivity are often placed above family and babies.

The problem is that women are not respected and elevated for the most vital job in the world, mothering. When mothers have to go back to work, they are eager to provide milk for their babies, but they don’t feel supported by the overall attitude toward breastfeeding in our culture, especially in the work place, and it is very undermining. Women literally have to steal away into bathrooms or closets to pump, feeling shame and guilt for this most incredible, life-giving miracle that they alone can provide. Is it any wonder that so many women say they couldn’t provide enough milk for their babies? There is a terrible lack of cultural support. This has to change!

What are some things a mom can do to create an optimal environment for breastfeeding?

Spend as much time as possible at home with your baby, skin to skin, especially in the first 6 weeks. We have been taught that babies belong swaddled in blankets with hats on in their own basinet. We have to change this cultural image of mothering. Our babies belong on our bodies, skin to skin, wrapped in the comfort and warmth of a mother’s arms. Lay your baby on your body and get to know him or her. Become attuned with one another.

It’s a big transformation from being one person who doesn’t have anyone to be responsible for and now here you are 24 hours a day being responsible for someone else. Your body transforms from who it was to what it is now… making milk, breastfeeding, and having every single minute of your day being demanded of. You need to be able to relax so your hormones will flow, which brings a feeling of contentment. It’s not just a big chore, It’s a gift and a joy.

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Bedtime Stories

Today I’m introducing a new “Bedtime Stories” series, which is a lighthearted questionnaire for parents about family sleep routines.

"Bedtime Stories" by MotherUs

There are a myriad of methods to soothe your child to sleep, and each of us tries to find what works best for our family. For some that might mean separate beds, for others, co-sleeping. It could mean calling a professional to help your child sleep better, or reading a book about it. At the end of the day, if everyone is happy and well rested, it all works. This questionnaire will explore the different ways families sleep.

For the first in the series, I will kick it off by interviewing myself! Here is “Bedtime Stories,” with Katrina Nelson, by MotherUs:

MU: What ages are your children?

KN: My son, Sebastian, is 5 and and my daughter, Leonie, is 2 going on 5.

MU: How do you help them slow down towards evening?

Some days a walk after dinner; dim lights, bedtime stories and most days a warm bubble bath.

gnomes by wil huygen

MU: Do you have a set bedtime?

Absolutely. Since daylight savings time we moved to 7pm give or take a ½ hour either way depending how the day has flowed. Last fall/winter it was 6pm sharp and they both slept until 6/6:30am.

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Interview with Koyuki Smith :: Babywearing Expert and Childbirth Educator

Koyuki Smith is a babywearing expert, childbirth educator and doula.  She lives in Harlem with her husband and two home-schooled sons. I discovered her on Pinterest almost 3 years ago via a story she was doing as part of the Sling Diaries for Sakura Bloom. I read her blog and enjoyed her stories so much, I sent her an email and we’ve kept in touch ever since.

You’re pretty dynamic as a birth professional! You teach childbirth education, you’re a doula, cloth diaper educator and elimination communication teacher. Babywearing obviously fits into the spectrum, but what inspired you to pursue advanced training in babywearing?

About seven years ago, before there WAS a significant professional babywearing world, I started working at Metro Minis, which was the first babywearing store in New York City – one of the first few in the country, actually – and the seed of what would later become the Center for Babywearing Studies (CBWS).

In order to make sure that we were providing proper instruction to our customers, Metro Minis brought Ulrike Hower of Die Trageschule in Dresden, Germany to New York to train the entire staff. The store then later sent two of us, Joanna McNeilly, who went on to found CBWS, and me, to Dresden for further training.

A couple years after that, I also trained with the Babywearing Institute to understand different perspectives and approaches within the community.

Many couples take childbirth preparation classes, if they’re lucky their class will cover babywearing, but if it doesn’t, where should they go to learn?

While a childbirth or newborn care class might briefly introduce babywearing, it’s unlikely to give parents enough information to really navigate the topic with ease. My Intro to Babywearing classes often run about an hour and a half, with extra time to try on carriers.

Expecting and new parents can find babywearing classes at stores that specialize in babywearing, and at many places that offer other baby-and-birth-related classes. They can also choose to hire a babywearing consultant to come to their home for private consultations.

Alternately, rather than looking for a class, some parents might prefer to attend babywearing support groups, just as some parents prefer to seek breastfeeding support from La Leche League meetings and not in classes or consultations. You can find local babywearing support groups at Babywearing International.

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Interview with Anjelica Malone :: Lactation Educator Mothering Naturally

Anjelica Malone is a Lactation Educator Counselor and amazing mom to two beautiful daughters. A world traveler, she’s currently based in Guam with her husband and children. She recently launched, an online home to educate mothers around the world about lactation, as well as being a resource for moms seeking a holistically minded community.

Lactation Educator Counselor Anjelica Malone

I know you reside in Guam, how long have you lived there?

My family and I moved to Guam in July 2014. We will be here until next year, when we move again and make a new city our home.

Did you give birth to one or both of your daughters on the island, and if so, how did you navigate the fourth trimester?

I gave birth to my second daughter, Nell, here on Guam at Sagua Managu Birthing Center. My first daughter was born in Puerto Rico. The fourth trimester was very easy physically but more intense emotionally the second time around.

My husband works long hours, as a Damage Controlman, for the United States Coast Guard and leaves for days and weeks at a time every month. He was able to take off the first month postpartum but had to jump back in full force after that. At the time I was also launching my curated shop and trying to grow my lactation practice, so many times I felt overwhelmed. What I learned to do though was have complete days of no work. The whole day would be dedicated to relaxing, not getting in the car, and eating meals that didn’t require much preparation like simple sautéed veggie bowls with a protein over rice. I still implement “no work” days every now and then to help me regain focus and intently care for the girls and myself.

Lactation Educator Counselor Anjelica Malone

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