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Welcome to the place where you can easily access TONS of FREE Breastfeeding information and GAIN valuable insight on best tips, how-to’s and “ need to know” about all things breastfeeding related.Please enjoy this All About Breastfeeding podcast with Dawn Obrecht

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Dawn Obrecht:

“Even drug addicts that are pregnant, they want to be good moms to. they care about this baby too they just have a really bad disease.”


Dawn Obrecht
Episode 29 & 30       Dawn Obrecht, MD ( Doc Dawn) has been the Medical Director of a chemical dependency unit and is a professor at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. She is an experienced speaker as well as the author of several books. . Doc Dawn lives in Colorado with her husband Eric. She is blessed with 6 grandchildren and 2 wonderful daughters and son-in laws.


Her Story.

Dawn Obrecht, MD has been the Medical Director of a chemical dependency unit and is a professor at the University of Colorado Health Science Center. She is an experienced speaker as well as the author of several books. . where she has instructed in the field of and family practice and family medicine. She is a frequent speaker on addiction and recover to physicians and other int groups. She has published 3 books. 1 on missionary medicine and 2 on addiction and recovery and Doc Dawn lives in Colorado with her husband. She has 2 wonderful daughters and 6 fabulous grandchildren.

Doc Dawn grew up in Baltimore and her parents were older than most parents when they had their children. Her mom 38 and her dad was 48 when she was born. Her mom tried hard and had 3 miscarriages and had some pioneering surgery to remove uterine fibroids. so that she could carry a baby. She also had one of the very first c/sec done with a spinal anesthesia at John Hopkins in the city of Boston. During that procedure, she was wide awake and she had them set up a mirror and watched her baby being born. This is pretty forward thinking and courageous particularly with someone who is not in the medical field. Dawn has 1 brother who is 4 years younger than her. While she had a difficult childhood in many ways, she does believe her parents loved their children. They were supportive and were both high functioning alcoholics as are most alcoholics. Growing up in an alcoholic household thought has certainly colored the rest of her life.

Dawn Obrecht talks about wanting to be away from home as much as possible when she was a young girl. As a child she would often ask to stay with other friends. She always asked to go away to camp. Dawn begged to go to boarding school but her campaign was not successful. She left home when she was 17 years old. She never came back to live in the house she grew up in, but she did come to visit. She always kept in touch with her parents who continued to support both her and her brother. Her father sold dog food for a living and she will often tell people that they put her and her brother through medical school on dog food. Even though the household was not conduci were very supportive of everything she wanted to do. She recognizes all they did for her and gave her more positive than negative.

Dawn Obrecht decided at age 12 that she wanted to be a Doctor. Dawn had asthma as a child and had a pediatrician who was ahead of his time, who helped her and connected with what her doc was doing and made a decision to become a Dr. My parents were supportive from the very beginning. Which was great, because lots of other people were not supportive. Others would say: “you don’t want to be a doc, you want to marry one”. This annoyed me as well as my parents. I left at 17 years old, got my first degree in Chemistry, went to Medical School at age 21, then went to Baltimore for 1 year of general surgery because there were no Emergency Medicine residency spots at the time. She did 1 year of general surgery and then came to Colorado to do her emergency residency at Denver General, which is now called Denver Health. Soon after, her first child was born, towards the end of that residency.

She just knew that she could not do the 12 hour and 24/7 working situation that was common for physicians. Not wanting to leave her newborn, she took the opportunity to open up her own Family Practice. Dawn took her baby to work with her and this worked out well until her daughter was about 5 months old. She then brought her baby to a day care provider which worked out nicely. Dawn pumped when she needed to and the day care was really good at holding her baby off for a short time until she could be reunited and breastfeed her. It did take her a bit to get going with breastfeeding. Initially, she did not know about La Leche League and there were no lactation consultants in the hospital, so she did not have much support. Dawn relied on her male doctor who, when she asked for help, just told her to relax. She remembers using a little hand pump. It looked like a bicycle horn ( picture of this in the link section). Dawn said that it worked well for her, but is considered an antique now.

Her patients and families seemed to be fine with taking her baby to work. Dawn says that she really has to credit her mom for giving her the unspoken message that if you believe in something, you can do it. So, she really credits her mother for giving her the courage to do some things that may have been unusual for a female to do in the 60’s and 70’s. Dawn stated that she can look at what you are doing and tell what you believe in. Children do what we do, not what we say. In this next generation, Dawn sees that her daughters do what she does, not what she says and others that I may have a chance to have an influence that my children to do what we do, not what we say. For your listeners Lori, if you believe in something, you can do it.

Three years later, things changed and life got even busier. Most physicians take call at night. Once Dawn had her second daughter, she realized that with young children she just did not want to take have to go into the hospital at night time. Her patients knew that she was happy to take their phone calls at night, however, if it warranted a drive to the hospital, she would refer them to the emergency room or urgent care center. They seemed to be okay with this. I had other family physicians say: “you can’t do that.” Dawn just said: Well, I am going to do this. I was always available to her patients and they never abused this privilege of having my phone number.

Dawn Obrecht shared a story about working with a patient who she felt could benefit from human milk. Dawn shares with us that at this point she does not have a family practice anymore, She does travel medicine, which means that she goes to small communities for short periods of time and fills in for physicians who are taking time off. In between times, she takes off long periods of time to write books and be with her grandchildren. Dawn has a number of friends/previous patients who call her from time to time with questions. She had a long time friend named Ken who had a very serious bone cancer in his jaw. He has since died. He had the idea that human milk might boost his immune system, so he asked her as a friend if she would prescribe it for him. He could not just go ahead to the milk bank and get it. His oncologist and other physicians would not do it for him. Dawn was happy to do this for him and did this numerous times for him. He would take this prescription to the Denver area milk bank and he feels that it helped him. Number of reasons… eased the side effects of his chemotherapy.. the nausea and the insomnia, general discomfort, it might have boosted his, immune system and allowed him to be healthier for longer and there also is a placebo affect for everything that we do and if he believed that it helped him, it probably did. That is Ken’s story. This is about boosting his immune system and perhaps helped him live more comfortably, rather than the milk being a cure.

Dawn tells us that her mother did breastfeed her, but just for a very short period of time. She did not have support. Her mother also hired a German nurse who her mother described as very gruff and difficult and not fun for her to have around. Her mother was very stressed out having this person around her and just discontinued breastfeeding.

While Dawn did have some early struggles postpartum and was sleep deprived, however, she does not feel that she suffered with postpartum depression. Fairly early on, she lined up a day care home provider and she was extremely supportive and she was the kind of person that when the children were toddlers, the snacks that she would give them were green beans dipped in ketchup. I got support from her when I did not get it elsewhere.
The second thing is that I went back to work at 6 weeks postpartum just a few hours, just a few hours a week. That saved me. I got to feel useful. I got to be with adults and got lots of oohs and aahs for the baby.

Dawn is thrilled to be able to enjoy spending time with her 6 grandchildren. Dawn shares with us some insights as to what she observes with her kids and the relationship she has with her children as they became adults. Dawn tell us that she and her husband had a discussion regarding their shift in their relationship with their children as they became adults. They decided that we would not interfere or offer advise, unless asked. Being respectful as adults with their adult children and may not do things the way things we might not do, is crucial to maintaining a good relationship. Dawn decided that it was important to support her children in how they parented their children. Each had different experiences as far as how many children they have, breastfeeding, returning to work and raising their kids. She supports them as far as sharing her experiences with them, but does not tell them what they should or should not do. She feels that this always them to have mutually respectful relationships. So, she encourages her daughters and how she feels they do a great job as parents and tell her sons in law that they are taking such fabulous care of our grandchildren. If we see them doing something we don’t agree with, we need to keep our mouths shut, unless we see them do things that are dangerous. This has yet to occur. Her daughters have different mothering styles. One has 4 kids, the other has 2. One went back to work and the other didn’t. Both are breastfeeding moms. Kara is currently breastfeeding her 4th child. One daughter works hard to keep the kids in their own room at night. The other one has all the kids in the same room all night. Both your daughters get along really well, and respect each others parenting style.

Dawn and I had a great conversation. As this interview came close to ending, Dawn began talking about her work with

Dawn also mentions another support person who was her neighbor. She had babies at the same time hers was born. she had BC at age 23 she had a mastectomy and she breastfed both babies with just one breast. This happened over 30 years ago. The more you stimulate your breasts, the more milk you make and this is how you can breastfeed one baby, just from one side.

Book Suggestions:

Mission Possible: A Missionary Doctor’s Journey Of Healing

Who’s Your Higher Power? Finding a God of Your Own Understanding

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