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Joanna Wilder, RN, BSN, LM, CPM

“I thought that I knew so much by then because I was in a position of helping other women with breastfeeding and yet every baby I would find there were these walls that I would run up against  where I felt like I knew nothing and each baby had a different style of breastfeeding so all the things I thought this is how it is, then I had to relearn new things. My third child would only nurse on one side and if you disturbed her, it just would not work.”

Her Story.

Joanna Wilder RN, BSN, LM, CPM has been practicing “good birth” for 25 years. As a nurse Joanna started out in an inner city Phoenix hospital in 1990. Three years gave her a good foundation in Labor and Delivery, Nursery and Postpartum. Next, she helped create Bethany Birth Center. For fourteen years, she had the privilege to work as a nurse in the birth center, led a unique childbirth education program, and served as a community liaison orienting women to birth choices in AZ. This birth center closed in 2007. In November 2006, she began to work toward her licensure as a midwife. In May 2010, she was licensed as a midwife in AZ and completed her national certification or CPM in April of 2011. Joanna has been involved in grass roots community development in inner city Phoenix for 25 years. She works with a teen mom program in “the neighborhood”, and also with a breastfeeding grant program bringing support to Hispanic moms. She is passionate about helping women learn to trust their bodies. One of her passions, birthed from her own story, is walking with women as they heal from childhood sexual abuse. Joanna believes that the birth space is “holy ground”. Breastfeeding creates a powerful space for attachment and bonding to occur, and for mothers to reclaim their bodies, and their stories.

Joanna Wilder tells us that she was always told that she was breastfed. When she struggled with early breastfeeding with her oldest, she asked her mother for more detail and found out that she was only breastfed for 2 days. The pediatrician told her mother that her baby was not getting enough food, so she was switched to formula. Joanna was surrounded by nurses and midwives who were supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding and if it were not for them, she is not sure she would have continued through the hard times. She said that she breastfed purely for philosophical reasons she did not expect to enjoy it she just decided that it was the right thing to do. In some ways her stubbornness kept her going. What surprised her actually was how much she enjoyed it.

She did attachment work with boys who were being fostered, at the time she was shocked with how difficult it was to hold eye contact and was struck again because it made her that it made me do what was very uncomfortable for me then, which was to cradle them and gaze into their eyes. and to do that for hours every day. This comes naturally when breastfeeding and Joanne realized that she learned those skills because of breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding had skipped a generation in her family on both sides. Both her mom and mom in law were questioning whether her baby was getting enough. She could not get this help from her family members and she did get what she needed from the nurses and midwives she worked with. Joanna acknowledges that she lived through a postpartum fog and does not really remember exactly when her mindset changed from doing this just because she decided to, to wanting to do this because she enjoyed breastfeeding.

Joanna Wilder found that breastfeeding each baby was a new and different experience because each baby had a different style of breastfeeding. She had to relearn new things with each baby. For instance, her third child would only nurse on one side. She learned that it was okay to breastfeed a baby from only one side per feeding.

Nurses and midwives receive some breastfeeding education during their training, however, Joanna tells us why she was decided to learn more about breastfeeding educated then she was required to. When she was a nurse and coordinating childbirth education classes at the birth center, the moms were asking for breastfeeding classes. The staff believed breastfeeding was instinctive and natural and yet,at the same time, it was a learned thing. She did a study where she called all of the postpartum moms and found that all of them were nursing at 2 days and by 2 weeks half of them had stopped. At that point, Joanne shadowed with lactation consultants in the hospital and began to learn more about breastfeeding. As a midwife, she took a course through a grant and went to ASU with 13 community leaders and took an additional class in lactation counseling. She feels that she knows so much more, and yet acknowledges there is more to learn.

The rest of the interview is so special, so heartfelt as Joanna really explains the heart of her midwifery practice and what it means to her and to her moms and families. She brings a special uniqueness and intuitiveness to each and every mom she works with. I decided not to write it out in paragraph form as I would not do her story justice. Just click on the link  and hear her story in her own words.


Survivor Moms: Women’s Stories of Birthing, Mothering and Healing after Sexual Abuse
When Survivors Give Birth: Understanding and Healing the Effects of Early Sexual Abuse on Childbearing Women

Recovery groups (faith based): “Journey” and “Journey Continues”
Ohmin.org or call me
Local, regional, national, international

Neighborhood Ministries
Teen mom mentoring program: Mom’s Place
Breastfeeding initiative in Hispanic community: El Mejor Empiezo
Contact for donations or work with moms: [email protected]

Contact info:
Joanna Wilder (602)799-1107
[email protected]


Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC

Lori j Isenstadt, IBCLCLori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC is a huge breastfeeding supporter.  She has spent much  of her adult life working in the maternal health field. Once she became turned on to birth and became a childbirth educator, there was no stopping her love of working with families during their childbearing years.  Lori became a Birth doula and a Postpartum doula and soon became a lactation consultant.  She has been helping moms and babies with breastfeeding for over 25 years.  Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges.  She is an international speaker, book author and the host of the  popular itunes podcast, All About Breastfeeding, the place where the girls hang out.  You can reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website:  allaboutbreastfeeding.biz/contact

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