“Well I feel kind of guilty. Because everyone is saying: Isn’t this beautiful and you’re thinking…. I hate this. I hate this. And I can’t do it. Initially I wanted to nurse for a full year and then at this point you are thinking, oh god just let me get to 3 months.”
Talia is a mom to 2 tiny humans (Stella 2 ½ and Henry 3 months), a wife, a Physician Assistant and lover of all things outdoors. She’s been practicing in Women’s Health for over 10 years, but now considers herself a bit of a ‘Renegade PA,’ as she’s stepped outside of conventional medical practice and into the world of holistic and functional medicine. Talia has a Masters of Medical Science and describes herself as someone who is a self taught student of anything that floats her boat.
Talia was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Her mother was a teacher. Her father was in medical school. They then moved to Chicago for his residency. Her Dad worked long hours and did not see him much. She has very good memories of her childhood. They soon headed back to Tuscon and stayed there through her high school years and went to the University of Arizona. She then headed to Phoenix to attend school to become a PA. She loves Phoenix and plans on staying here for a long time.
Breastfeeding – Stella
Stella will be 3 in February and Henry is 6 months old at the time of the release of this podcast. Even though she is a PA who specializes in Women’s Health, she did very little to prepare for breastfeeding. In retrospect, she wishes she had spent more time learning about breastfeeding. Talia knew she wanted to breastfed, knew there could be issues, but figured that it would be fairly easy for her. She also did not prepare much for the birth either. She had a cesarean section with Stella. Every night when she prayed, she also prayed that she would breastfeed successfully and lay there dreaming about what it would be like to nurse her baby. Both she and her husband felt panicky once Stella was born as they realized there was much more to newborn parenting and they were just winging it.
We talked about how little education physicians have about birth and breastfeeding if it is not going to be there specialty. Talia had some friends who had milk production issues and thought that might be an issue but again just thought it would come naturally to her. She now realizes that you just don’t know how it is going to go with you and it would have been nice to have had some tools in her toolbox on what she could do if things were challenging.
Stella was born by c/sec which was not how she felt birth would happen. The c/section itself was planned at a certain point in her pregnancy. The surgery was traumatic for her because it was not what she really wanted. her know vomited, blood pressure was high. Once Stella was born, she was able to see her and breastfeed her, however, it was very uncomfortable. In the first 24 hours, it was excruciatingly painful. Every time I put her on, it was like someone was just stabbing her in her nipples. During her hospital stay, her nipples had already begun to crack and bleed. She was nervous about whether it was working, if she was latched on well. She did ask for an IBCLC, but the nurses kept telling her that all the nurses were trained in lactation. After some insistence they finally did bring in an IBCLC for her to see. Talia was not happy as this lactation consultant seemed to be “surly” and aggressive. Talia had access to a video on breastfeeding during her hospital stay, however, she said it was an old British video from the 90s and felt she could have benefited from an updated video.
Discharge and beyond –
Felt panicked on the way home as breastfeeding was not going well and she was in a lot of pain. She feels her milk did not come in until the 5th day. We talked a bit about the goals that we had as far as how long we were going to breastfeed and the realization that we might not make it the next day, never mind a year. Talia talked about feeling guilty for even thinking about giving up. She considers herself a pretty hardy and stubborn person and it shocked her at how difficult this was and how hard it was to think about quitting. Her husband was a huge supporter and she states that he was always there for her, helping her in the nighttime and doing whatever he could to make it easier for her.
She used an app that encouraged her to watch the clock and feed her baby for a specific period of time ( 15 minutes on each side and then switch, etc.)
Eventually her milk came in and it was abundant and poor Stella would gag at the heavy and fast flow. She realizes that she had oversupply, however, they figured it out and breastfeeding became easier and enjoyable.
Talia breastfed Stella for 17 months when she was diagnosed with severe food allergies. Talia found it very challenging to eat the correct foods and eventually she decided to wean Stella. It was July 4th which is why she has dubbed the weaning day “Independence Day.” She describes being in a deep depression for a week, but knew this was the right decision. Stella was fairly easy to wean from the twice a day breastfeeding. Her breasts needed a bit more attention as she became so engorged and needed some time to adjust, however, weaning went fairly well for both of them.
Henry – Hank the Tank –
Talia knew more this time. She had a planned cesarean section and was able to enjoy skin to skin in the operating room. She was prepared for it to be painful ( as she thought this was normal). She visualized the experience similar to what she had done during her first pregnancy. Feeling like a pro as she had nursed Stella for 17 months, she felt she would just go with the flow – which would be a normal expectation.
Talia describes her rationale for having c/sections. Her sister had a very difficult delivery and she was fearful of having a similar experience. Once she had the first c/sec, her and her husband decided to have a repeat c/section for all the same reasons as the first, plus with additional fears about uterine rupture.
Recovery from the cesarean section went well. She knew what to expect and she states having a positive mindset and was determined to get up and moving and on her way to a good recovery. Henry latched on well and it seemed easier then with Stella. She had a positive attitude and felt confident. By the time she left the hospital, breastfeeding was going well, however, it was hurting her. New baby seemed easy – managing a toddler was difficult.
Second time and not feeling alone or isolated – but other problems
Talia really wants other moms to know how important it is to have your resources available to you ahead of time. Having lived through the first few weeks at home everything seemed doable. He was nursing well and gaining well over and above expectation thanks to her very abundant milk supply. Henry started gagging and seems to be having increasingly difficult time during breastfeeding. Talia would begin each feeding saying: please don’t gag. please don’t gag. He was not sleeping well, she worried about reflux and allergies. She removed many foods from her diet and hoped this would help.
She took Henry to a chiropractor and did get good info, but did not feel satisfied with how the treatments were going. Talia describes in detail what it is like to breastfeed a baby and witness your baby having such a difficult time as he appeared to be choking from the fast flow.
Talia talks honestly about how difficult her first 3 months with Stella was, not for nursing but she was not sleeping well.
Nursing Henry with all his issues brought back some of the post traumatic stress she went through with Stella.
And now the feedings with Henry were quite horrible and miserable. He was choking and gagging and screaming at her breast. He would feed for only 2 minutes and nothing I could do could make him nurse longer. She began to worry how he could possibly get enough nutrition in 5 minutes of nursing. He was so angry that he did not even want to be held. Talia worried endlessly about something being wrong with her baby and she began to feel like she just could not do it.
She felt alone and isolated – hard to have family support, friends were busy working, husband back to work and she was panicking.
Felt guilty and thought people were going to think she was crazy.
She acknowledges that there is also not much that others can do but to be there to listen and support you. This does not help with what is happening with her baby thought.
Pediatric appointments said that she was doing great. don’t need to come back for a moth because he was over his birth weight.
Made an appointment sooner because she was concerned about his feeding habits. he had gained a ton of weight.
But she said: I think I have an oversupply of milk and explained what was happening in her breastfeeding life.
Talia feels that she wasn’t taken seriously and feels her HCP just did not have enough BF management experience to be able to help her.
They don’t know, what they don’t know –
We talked about the hazards of receiving the right help and referrals and resources when you have a well fed baby.
It seems that many HCP feel everything is going well as long as the baby is gaining well. Mothers tend to not be listened to
And we know that well fed babies who have moms with an abundant milk supply, can still have minor to moderate to severe breastfeeding challenges.
All your resources are minimal – time, energy, lack of sleep, increases depression and anxiety. hard for new moms to find resources.
Talia reveals that she seriously considered pumping and bottle feeding feeling like this is what she is going to do.
He’ll be happier, I’ll be happier. She knew this was not the answer though…
Amazon and mothers and babies –
Her research brought her to find a book she had ordered in the early days of Stella. It was called Your sleepless baby.
Talked about baby who would not sleep, usually caused by 4 main things and one of them was oversupply.
She reviewed the symptoms and Talia realized this was like the perfect picture of her and Henry.
Talia then reached out to her friend who had a baby with tongue tie.
Her friend told her that the one thing she regretted was not visiting with an IBCLC sooner.
The consultant that she met with was me, so Talia took my information and called me.
Talia reached out to 2 different IBCLCs and ultimately decided to make an appointment with me for a few reasons. One was just having a personal referral. The other reason was that after she described her symptoms, she appreciated my response.
Her Story. part 3
Talia describes herself as someone who, from a young age, was always interest in medicine. Her father was a physician and she use to peruse through his medical journals when they came in the mail.
Talia went to school to become a Physicians Assistant. Always knew she wanted to work in Womens Health. Joined a private practice in 2007. For the frst several years, she was practicing in the traditional fashion. She describes herself as being a mini doctor. Her favorite part of the job was in really spending time listening to women and helping them work through their problems. In 2011, she started having unexpected panic attacks that did not seem to fit into what was going on her life at that time. She was scrambling to try and figure this out. Along the path of this research, she realized that there was a hormonal component to this. This began her looking into synthetic hormones vs. natural hormones. Started looking into thyroid and adrenal health.
She got married and began trying for a baby and soon realized she was having a hard time getting pregnant. Her periods were irregular and she wasn’t ovulating. Talia soon realized that she was struggling with the very same things she was spending her career helping other women with. She tried various teaditional fertility treatments including 5 failed IUIs. She was struggling because she had access to the best medical care and yet she was unable to conceive. One day when getting the IUI, she became emotional and her thoughts were: This is not the way it is suppose to be.. Why can’t this be just the normal way we get pregnant. She understands that these methods can be exactly what helps others conceive, however, it just was not working for them.
Throughout this 2 year process, Talia started doing an excessive amount of research. She was on a mission trying to learn what impacted fertility. Topics such as: balancing hormones, nutritional deficiencies, dietary changes, stress and how all this impacts fertility. Talia began to implement some of the things she learned and soon she began to ovulate on a regular period, her acne was improving and she began to see other positive health results. The planned on trying IVF, but also decided to take a break from fertility treatments. Rather than focus on conception, they decided to take a couple of months off from trying to conceive. They went to Hawaii and had a wonderful vacation where they enjoyed a lovely combination of lots of activity and lots of relaxation. Their plans were to wait until getting home and then they would focus on getting pregnant.
She tells a very interesting story about how overhearing 2 women on a beach talking about the negative impact that birth control pills had on one of them and how this and a talk with a good friend of hers, changed the direction on their fertility treatments. She was going to start taking the pills during her vacation as a pre requesite to the fertility treatment. This conversation made her decide to NOT take the pills.
Hooray! Talia finds out that she is pregnant!
Before starting on the fertility treatment, it was suggested that since she was just on vacation in Hawaii that she should check first to see if she was pregnant. Lo and behold….. the test showed that yes, she was pregnant with her first baby Stella.
Since she was told that she had less than 1% of conceiving on her own naturally, this was a shock to everyone. Her experience is what led her to take a greater interest in helping other women who were going through infertility.
What changed for her?
Talia feels that all the changes worked in harmony to help her conceive, rather than just 1 specific change that they made. She talks about the 4 Pillars of Fertility in her course and says that it is hard to separate them. In her case, she made specific dietary changes by reducing dairy and wheat and grains and sugar. She talks about using natural hormone therapy as well as stress reduction management techniques. Talia also learned a lot more in this area that she has brought to her course curriculum. When she was trying to conceive her next baby, she added more changes/adjustments based on what she had learned during her research. In 3 cycles, she conceived. What Talia has learned is that the adjustments and changes and supplements are going to be different for each women. Working with each couple on an individual basis is what she specializes in.
Talia talks specifically how she works with women and their partners. She typically likes to work with them for 90 days, in conjunction with their local healthcare provider that can be part of the team. Talia also tells us that this course is for women who want to conceive and also to women who want to make adjustments in their health and lifestyle so they can be at their best. She reminds us that positive changes we make in our own health is a gift to give our children as our lifestyle can very well have an affect on their fertility and long term health effects.
listen Now part 1
listen Now part 2
listen Now part 3
Lori J. Isenstadt, IBCLC
Lori 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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