Today’s Podcast

Episode 189   Karey Northington is the owner of Northington Fitness and Nutrition.

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Karey Northington

“I had Nolan on a weekend on a Friday night.  I don’t know if everyone leaves at on 6:00 on Friday.  There is not a lactation consult to be found.  The first 48 hours, I’m telling you I was ready to throw in the towel because this is the most challenging thing I have ever done.”

Her Story.

Karey holds a Bachelor’s degree in both Nursing and Psychology and is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist though the ISSA. She is passionate about helping others achieve their goals without restriction. Karey is also an IFBB professional athlete who competes in the bikini division and a published fitness model. Most importantly, she is a wife and mother of a sweet 6 year old boy, Nolan.

karey2Background: Karey is an only child, as it was just her mom and dad and she. When she was 12 years old and in the 6th grade her mom passed away. She grew up with just her father, and while that might seem difficult, she does say that she had a good childhood. Her mom was diagnosed with lung cancer about 9 months before she passed away when she was 11 years old. Karey tells us that she was able to celebrate one more birthday with her mom before she passed away.

We talked about the impact this has on a young girl. Karey said while she did not have a mom to ask all the usual questions to, her Dad did step up to the plate. He was the one going to the store buying tampons for her. He jokes with her about how he should be appreciated on Mother’s Day. I agree!

Karey could talk to her Dad about almost anything, however, when she was pregnant, he could not really could not give her the scoop of what to expect. Her mom did have a sister. Karey could ask her Aunt Carol questions except her Aunt did not have any children of her own. So some of these questions that come up during pregnancy about to expect her Aunt could not really help her with. She did get through it all, however, recognizes that podcasts such as this will be a great resource.

Future Career: When Karey was younger her main goal was to become a pediatrician. She did think about the demanding hours that it would mean so she ultimately decided against this. She wanted to be at home and raise a family. She never expected to be running her own business and be helping people with health and fitness and nutrition. Instead of becoming a physician, she decided to go into nursing which combined the best of both worlds. This means less hours per week then if you were a doctor in a hospital. She has put together her psychology education and combined this with other interests to make this current career that she did not necessarily expect to be doing. However, it really follows along with everything that she was interested in doing since she was younger.

Karey credits her mom with influencing her to become a nurse. Her mom was a nurse in the cardiac care unit. She spent a lot of time with her mom and she always thought she wanted to work with kids. When it came to clinicals herself and she was in the room with young kids, she quickly realized something. The health care provider is not the child’s most favorite person. So, she decided to work with the adult population and always be on their good side.

Did your mom breastfeed you: She never had this conversation with her mom. She was born 4 weeks early and her mom went into labor early she came down with a virus and went into early labor. So, she knows that she was not breastfed. She was born 5# and at the t time there was a big push to supplement so babies would gain weight.

Karey’s breastfeeding experience: She read so many books about pregnancy and if she could do it over, she would be spending her time reading about new motherhood and babies. She did not spend any of her time reading about breastfeeding. She realized that when her baby was born, there was no time to read any books, certainly not time to read about breastfeeding.

I was so focused on exactly how big the baby was in utero and I should have been looking at information on things like: How to install the carseat? How to breastfeed? She joked about looking at her baby and thinking: When is your mother coming home? She felt so ill prepared because she focused on the pregnancy.

Her pregnancy was great, however, breastfeeding was an uphill battle for her. She had her baby on Friday evening and there was no staff member there to help her with breastfeeding. She felt so ready to throw in the towel as it was so hard and she totally did not expect it to be. We talked about how this is a common feeling for many new mothers.

Why do many of us think that breastfeeding is going to be so easy?

Is it commercials or the stereo type that the baby is going to latch right on? Is it the pretty pictures on pinterest that lead us to believe that breastfeeding is going to be so easy? Is it the sentiments that show babies breastfeeding with the words: “nailed it.” underneath that makes us think this is going to be so easy. Karey says that for her, it definitely did not look or feel like this special moment that some moms plaster all over the internet.

Since she was the first one of her peers to have a baby, there was nobody in her circle of friends to talk about all this to. My sons dad was playing for the Cubs, and had to return to work right away. She felt all alone. Her family was in Pennsylvania and the lactation consultant did not come into her room until Monday. The first thing she told Karey was she was not going to be able to breastfeed with implants. Karey tells us that she was able to breastfeed just fine with them, so does not want any listeners be discouraged by that. She went on to breastfeed just fine. We talked about how sometimes it is the way someone approaches you and talks to you, that can make all the difference in the world.

The early days of breastfeeding: Nolan was breastfeeding, however, Karey was worried that he might not be getting enough. She was pumping to increase her supply, but little did she know that she was creating a situation that was causing her to become engorged. She had so much stored that the lactation consultant who came to her home looked in her refrigerator and remarked to her that her body thought she had multiples and that she needed to stop pumping. She said that her son was so small and she was so worried that he might not gain, it was hard for her to let go of those fears. The lactation consultant suggested that she weigh Nolan as this would help her gain confidence that he was gaining well. This worked well for Karey and put her mind at ease.

Every mother fears that her baby might not be getting enough particular if they lost a significant amount of weight in the first few days. It would be normal for her to want proof to make sure that she was making enough milk by pumping and normal for her to want proof of weight gain by using the scale. While this would not be something a lactation consultant would suggest for all moms, however, it was a good suggestion for Karey. Her excess milk did not go to waste as Karey was able to donate some of her breastmilk, so this worked out nicely. She donated to the milk bank and feels really good about this.

Pumping: Karey explains to us that this is a supply and demand situation and the baby is going to dictate the supply and if the mom is pumping in between feedings the supply is going to go up and your body begins to make way too much more milk that your baby needs. When your breasts become overly full, it does create breastfeeding issues, such as engorged breasts, mastitis, which is a breast infection, increased risk of clogged ducts, makes it difficult for babies to latch onto engorged breasts. So, she began to gradually wean from pumping so much, until she did not need to pump anymore.

How breastfeeding evolved for Karey: Breastfeeding always seemed to be a challenge for her. Nolan was having silent reflux, problems with colic. It was not an easy path. A big factor was that she wishes she could go back in time and go with the flow more. She was hung up on having a routine and she wishes she would have sat back and just enjoy breastfeeding. She was so stressed out about everything and wishes she would have taken the time to appreciate things as they went and life with a newborn before he was crawling and into everything. She thinks about how much easier it can be with a second one, once you have learned this. For her, she stayed at home, by herself, no family member around, no dad support and it was all so taxing. She felt like she needed to do everything just perfect, because, after all this was her job. She felt like she needed to be perfect, especially since this was her full time job.

She feels that the expectation she put on herself when she was a stay at home mom was just was too much. Such pressure about keeping a house perfect and dinner should be perfect every night.
She now recognizes what needs to happen is for a mother to spend time bonding with her baby. Try to find ways and be okay with asking for help. You don’t need to do everything yourself And when she thinks back to it, noone was there giving her a trophy for doing a great job. There is noone there handing out evaluations and giving us a raise. We laughed about the common things we go through as new mothers.

Karey says that she was a perfectionist. She looks back on her childhood and realizes that she was expected to do everything perfect. From great grades and participate in everything and how this carried on into her adult life. Now that she looks back on it, she realizes that so much joy has come into her life once she let go of being perfect.

It is so cliche to say that time does go by so fast, but it really is so true. We should really take those early postpartum days and just let it be. Take it one day at a time and not get so overwhelmed looking ahead. Her son did not sleep through the night for 7 months. Looking back on it, it was difficult however, the time period is so short.

Lori agrees with Karey in that we don’t spend much time thinking about what our world is going to look like when we have a baby. Now that we do have a baby, we look forward to the next baby and we think we have a better idea of what we will do next time. The problem is we forget that the next time, we will have a different baby.

We have a nice discussion about ways that new mothers can help take care of themselves during the postpartum period as this factors into why some moms don’t take time to just be with their baby. They are distracted with all the work around the house that needs to be done. We talked about asking for help, saving money ahead of time, possibly hiring help, possibly a house cleaner or a postpartum doula.

Karey brought up a good point in that when you are planning on being a stay at home mom, you don’t see the need for hired help, because you are that person, you are the help. You just don’t realize how hard things can be when you have not had decent sleep. Karey talks about how she goes to a new mothers house, with a meal and just lets them take a shower and a nap while she watches over the baby. She remembers how good it felt to be able to just take a shower and lay her head down. This is the best gift you can give a new mother.

What words of wisdom do you have for a new mother: You don’t need to be the hero. Asking for help makes you much more wise than just gritting your teeth and going through this alone. You can actually thrive if you put the right systems in place.

We both agree that it is a sign of strength to ask for help!

Karey talked about how as women we are frequently afraid as much as we are happy. We often think about what did we get ourselves into and yet we don’t want to say this to anyone. There are so many emotions that go along with this stage of our life and yet we both have found that the more open we are about our feelings, the better off we are. Find mom friends who are accepting of everything that we are doing and avoid friends who are judging each other as well as themselves. We need more friends like this.

Karey talks about her business to our listeners: Every person needs a different regimen. With breastfeeding moms she sees that they are trying to slash their calories so they will lose weight quickly. This affects their supply which affects their babies health and happiness. They make poor food choices. She enjoys working with newly postpartum moms as well as all moms because she understands their needs. She also enjoys working with moms before they become pregnant. Most of her clientèle are women between the ages of 25 and 45. If a mom comes before she becomes pregnant she works closely with them on what foods to eat to prepare them for going into pregnancy healthy and happy and with a good and reasonable exercise program.

Karey tells us some tips and tricks that she has developed for herself and other postpartum moms to ensure that they are eating well and hydrating well. Karey has no problem being Real with us, and lets us know that although she is a nutritionist and fitness instructor, that she is not perfect. She tells us that there were some mornings when she just had chocolate. She is a big believer in “no foods are off limits”, but in moderation.

It will be helpful if you can make some dishes for the freezer. She suggests NOT purchasing too many of the sugary snacks in the house. Just don’t bring them into the house. If the food is not right next to you and you are not going out of the house, you will choose the healthier fruits and veggies that you do have around the house.

Protein shakes are a good alternative for when you do not have time for a decent meal. The plant based protein shakes can help with your supply because they do have carbohydrates in them. While Karey was not familiar with the Vega shakes that I brought up, Karey did say that they were a good option.

Karey does all her work with all online coaching with Skype or Facetime.

Her contact info is:

Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC

Lori j Isenstadt, IBCLCLori Jill Isenstadt, IBCLC  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.   Lori founded her private practice, All About Breastfeeding where she meets with moms one on one to help solve their breastfeeding challenges.  Her membership site, All About Mothering helps moms navigate their journey from pregnancy through their postpartum days. 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] You can also reach Lori by email at: [email protected] or contact her via her website:

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