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.This week we tak to Rachel O’Brien IBCLC

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Rachel O’Brien

” If my kids would have been born now, they would have been in the dentist within the first week, getting them fixed and things would have been so different.”

Rachel O'Brien

Episode 78    Rachel O’Brien is a private-practice IBCLC in the Boston MetroWest area of Massachusetts with a Master of Arts degree in lactation.

She runs a weekly breastfeeding and chestfeeding support group, and frequently blogs about breastfeeding and issues that affect nursing parents.  Rachel also volunteers her time with USLCA and Project Licensure, a group committed to providing greater access to IBCLC care for Massachusetts families.  Rachel is happily married and the mother to three fabulous children; in her free time she enjoys knitting, eating Cadbury Mini Eggs, and pretty much anything involving drag queens

Her Story.

Background history:

She grew up with a mom and dad and older brother in the MAssachusets area. She wanted to be a hairdresser. Her parents promised her that when she graduated High School, they would send her to Beauty School. She did graduate High School, but her parents never sent her to Beauty School. Instead she went to college with a English degree and technical writing. She always knew she wanted to write and now she gets to be creative with her own blog.

Was she breastfed?

Her Mom and Grandmother nursed all their children. This is fabulous and incredibly interesting as I find this is quite unusual. We both agree that this is quite rare.

Rachel’s breastfeeding experiences:

She has 3 children, a daughter and 2 sons. Charlotte 12 Max 8 Micah is 3

Her decision to become an IBCLC is largely because of her difficulty breastfeeding her first baby. When Charlotte was born the IBCLC on staff told her everything was ok, by the time she left the hospital, she had bloody nipples, she was crying all the time and could not figure out why it was hurting so much. She had lots of books and info and was determined to make breastfeeding work.

After a 36 hour birth with an epidural, and with the birth not going the way she wanted, she was determined to make breastfeeding work. Charlotte spent quite a bit of time in the hospital crying and nursing frequently. Desperately needing a break, she asked a nurse to take her baby to the nursery. The nurse told her that if she did that, she would have to give her formula. Rachel agreed and when her baby came back to her, she spit up a lot of the formula.

It turns out that Charlotte had a very thick lip tie. She talks about being too proud, scared and nervous to get help. She did attend La Leche League and was offered help, however, she just was too nervous to do it in front of the moms in the group. She nursed her for a year and because things were so tough, she decided to wean her at 1 year. Charlotte finally had her upper lip tie revised when she was 8 years old. Rachel talks about her breastfeeding experiences with her other 2 babies, which were both different experiences. In particular, her third baby had the same thick upper lip tie just like her first. This time, she recognized it right away and she had it revised when he was 6 days old. The difference was amazing and she realized at that point how she suffered needlessly with her first baby.

What Rachel would like new mothers to know: Watch the dirty diapers and the pee diapers. It is hard in our society when we are not measuring what is going in to be confident in knowing if our baby is getting enough. If you are counting the diapers, and they are getting more than 3 diapers in a day that are bigger than a quarter, you are doing okay. It doesn’t matter so much what others say the latch looks good. If it is hurting you, something is wrong.

Times when she just felt like she just could not go on:

There were many times I cried through so many nursings. My parents would come over and take care of her. I would go in my room and turn on the sound machine and yet I would still hear her. You are so hard wired to that child it is like a fire alarm. I look back at my early days and I see it really hard to get through.

What words of wisdom would you tell your newly postpartum self: It is okay to ask for help and it is okay to receive help. It doesn’t mean that you are failing at this or that you are doing anything wrong. People are there to help and it is okay to let them help.

Tales from the Breast: Once she was on a long car ride, stopped at a diner in New Jersey and was nursing her 3rd son. The waitress came over and at the same time the baby pulled off milk was spraying over the place. The funny thing is that the waitress never came back. She thought this funny and that it seemed to freak the waitress out.

Rachel tells us about her journey to become an IBCLC:

She first became a CLC – Certified Lactation Counselor, which is learning about normal basic breastfeeding and is a week course. You are required to pass a multiple choice test. This enables you to answer basic breastfeeding questions.

She then took further training to become an IBCLC. I will put a link into the show notes for anyone interested in learning how to become an IBCLC.
Rachel explains the difference between the various breastfeeding certifications.

Up until now she, her practice has only been home based where she visits moms in their homes. However, she has an opportunity to provide lactation services in a hospital and she will see how this pans out.

Rachel talks about what drives her insane about her business:

She feels terrible and hates the fact that parents need to pay out of pocket for lactation care when their insurance company should be paying for it.
There has been little shift with ACA but hopeful that things will improve over the next few years.

Rachel talks about chestfeeding:

Men who were born males can lactate. This does not usually happen on its own. Usually a lot of work if you want to do it. Men have most of the same tissue that females have just comes in a different way once you hit puberty. Of course we are use to women breastfeeding. There are some people who were born with their parents thinking they are a certain way and yet as they grow up, that realize that their gender is different. They are transgender people who are men who may have been born with some female reproductive organs and they can have babies and if they choose to they can nurse their baby. But sometimes the sound of breastfeeding can be painful. Because of this we refer to it as chestfeeding. We usually talk about transgender men who are men nursing their babies. Every family is different.
She tries her hardest to talk about parents instead of moms and dads or moms or dads I don’t just talk about moms when nursing. I talk about dads too. It is something that a lot of practitioners are not aware of. that can cause a lot of issues for those who need help chestfeeding.

Links: ilca.org

Website: And Blog Rachelobrienibclc.com


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