Happy World Breastfeeding Week! What better way to honour your boobs than to talk to Kate from Milky Business Lactation. Kate is a lactation consultant and trained midwife and she recently launched an online breastfeeding course. PERFECT for womxn who might be in lockdown or are feeling the isolation and lack of access to resources.
Hi Kate! We're so excited to have you in our Profesh Sesh, and in World Breastfeeding Week no less! Tell us about Milky Business:
Thanks for having me! Milky Business is all about providing accessible breastfeeding education, support and advice to families at all stages of their journey. Our goal is to support each mother and baby to reach their own individual goals, whatever that may look like. We want to encourage families with evidence-based support that they can rely on, while delivering it in an easily digestible, relevant way. Most excitingly this has led us to creating and recently launching an online breastfeeding course. This is revolutionary for breastfeeding education as it's mum-friendly, holistic, relevant, comprehensive, and most importantly is written, reviewed and produced by IBCLC's (International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners) who are the most credentialed professionals when it comes to breastfeeding support.
An online breastfeeding course. This IS revolutionary and a resource that will be so appreciated, now more than ever. I'm sure our followers would love to know more about it:
The guide was created to allow women everywhere to receive excellent, evidence based, encouraging and confidence building lactation support during their pregnancy and early postpartum period. It is the first holistic online breastfeeding course created by an IBCLC that covers every topic that is foundational to breastfeeding confidence and success. There are 3 levels available to meet the needs of each individual mama. Every level includes lifetime access to our private support group, while other levels can include a 26 page downloadable e-book, Milky Mantra breastfeeding affirmation cards or a reduced 1:1 virtual consultation. It covers more than just the bare minimum basics that other breastfeeding programs cover. This course is designed to give you the whole picture, not just a few pieces of the puzzle. It includes topics such as antenatal expressing, normal newborn behaviour, burping your baby, feeding past the newborn period and a lesson just for your partner where we talk about expectations, intimacy and how critical their role is.
There is so much focus placed on a woman’s birth, which is incredibly important however often there is little attention paid to the postpartum period, so I want to help draw attention, support and education to this. There is also a lot of misinformation out there when it comes to breastfeeding. I wanted to ensure women had handy, reliable information wherever they went that was relevant at all points of their breastfeeding journey.
SO true. Postpartum is such an intense period. We'd love to know a bit more about you and how you got into lactation consulting?
I am also a midwife and a mama to 2 young girls. I’ve always been passionate about supporting women. It’s always been my drive to see women receive the best care, the care that they deserve in one of their most vulnerable and life changing times of their lives. I first learnt what an IBCLC was when I was a student midwife. From that moment it was something that I worked towards obtaining, and frequently worked with breastfeeding women wherever possible to gain more experience. While it is possible for health professionals to be highly supportive and educated around breastfeeding, IBCLC’s are required to provide evidence based support and information to women and are thus the gold standard care providers when it comes to lactation support. It made sense to me to work towards certifying as an IBCLC and is something I am really proud of.
Sometimes there is a perceived myth that lactation consultants don’t understand the difficulties that women face around breastfeeding or simply want everyone to breastfeed. I choose to do what I do everyday because 96% of Australian women plan to breastfeed but by the time their babies are 5 months old, only 15% of women are exclusively breastfeeding their babies. Support is needed now more than ever. I personally have accessed professional lactation support with my first daughter while I was still studying to become a lactation consultant myself. I was not immune to issues but I quickly learnt how difficult it was to access essential care in a timely way. That feeding journey has never been perfect, however it was made possible by incredible support which I’m now privileged to provide.
Breastfeeding is something that we all think should come naturally, but often that’s not the case, what are the main things you would want women to know if they are about to become mums or are currently breastfeeding?
There can be an overwhelming sense of “Natural” equates to “Easy”. Breastfeeding is a relationship and a learned skill. Just because sex is natural doesn’t mean you’re an expert from your first experience! The first 6 weeks are the hardest. I encourage mama’s to push through until then. Usually by this time in your relationship breastfeeding begins to become easier as you and your bub have begun to master the basics, you are increasingly confident and your baby is gaining strength daily. I also say to never quit on a bad day, or at 2am. We never make good decisions that we reflect on positively later on in those moments.
My single biggest encouragement to every new mama though relates to her rights - She has a right to receive quality breastfeeding education, timely, relevant, encouraging and evidence based support. She has a right to expect her body to function as it was designed to. She has a right to be supported to breastfeed her baby if this is her wish. If she is aware of this then anything less isn’t acceptable. In healthcare, there is so much attention paid to every other area of the human body except for lactation. I am very passionate about breastfeeding support as a human rights issue. We have staggeringly low breastfeeding rates when we know from statistics that women want to breastfeed, yet nothing is changing. If I can encourage a mother and fan her inner flame of self worth that she deserves support towards her goals, then I know she is more likely to advocate for herself and her baby when it matters most.
What are some of the most common questions you get asked?
In the very early days my most frequent question is related to nipple pain and why does it hurt when their baby is breastfeeding. If it’s not resolved with some basic positioning and attachment changes, then it requires support from an IBCLC to investigate it further. Adequate support is vital and life changing. Nipple pain is not normal and usually a sign of poor attachment to the breast, or as I like to say, baby is nipple-feeding not breast-feeding. I have seen countless mothers overwhelmed and on the brink of giving up breastfeeding due to pain before they sought help. However I’ve encouraged every single one of them that pain is not normal as we work towards finding an answer and a solution. It is such a privilege to receive photo’s many months down the track of the same mums and bubs breastfeeding. To think that I was able to play a part in their journey flourishing is what encourages me to help more mamas.
Later on a frequent question would be related to a mothers milk supply. It’s normal that breastfeeds get a little bit shorter, babies get distracted and breasts softer however so many mothers aren’t aware that this is completely normal and some begin to supplement their baby unnecessarily. This can lead to early weaning from the breast and is heartbreaking when women wanted to breastfeed for much longer but simply weren’t informed and encouraged about the normality of these changes.
What advice would you give to a first-time mum to be?
Whatever time you are going to spend preparing for your labour and birth experience, spend at least double that on preparing for your postpartum period. While you are pregnant you have a fresh, uncluttered focus and are usually less tired. It’s a great time to learn, be prepared, ask questions and talk with your partner. Your birth is incredibly important. In my role as a midwife I see how a positive birth (and you define what that is!) can propel you into motherhood, or hold you back. However, birth is one day, and there will be thousands of postpartum days. If you had the option to start motherhood feeling confident when it came to breastfeeding, understanding your baby, managing postpartum life and navigating this season with your partner, wouldn’t you choose that over feeling anxious, overwhelmed and full of questions?
How has COVID affected your work?
Fortunately, I had my second daughter in February this year, so I have been navigating postpartum life in isolation like many other mama’s. This meant that I was on maternity leave, however I chose to dedicate my time to creating The Ultimate Breastfeeding Guide. It was already my 2020 goal to create an online breastfeeding course, however COVID-19 has shown us how important it is to be flexible in our provision of support and education. I am returning to consultations soon, however will only be offering virtual consultations at present for a few reasons, one of which being COVID-19.
What are your go-to product recommendations for breastfeeding women?
I’m a firm believer that the vast majority of women don’t need products in order to breastfeed successfully. However, reusable breastpads are a fantastic investment. They can help you to feel confident going out in public and make the best makeup remover pads once you’ve finished breastfeeding.
Milky Business also has a fab set of Milk Mantras breastfeeding affirmation cards. Available on their website and coming soon to TMM.
How do people get in touch with you to learn more about Milky Business and find your Ultimate Breastfeeding Guide?
They can head to www.MilkyBusiness.com to learn all about the course and purchase access for themselves or a gift voucher for a friend.
Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and advice Kate! We know you have helped and will continue to help so many families.
Breastfeeding is something that can be an understandably sensitive subject for a womxn and we hope you all feel empowered and supported no matter what path you take.
If you're interested in being interviewed, sharing your knowledge and profiling your business please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is the mumma advice network in action!