Ep 213: Breastfeeding Education with Kelly Kendall, IBCLC, of The Balanced Boob

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**This episode is sponsored by The Lactation Network, the largest network of accredited breastfeeding experts in the country. Visit tln.care/AAPB to learn more and schedule your own insurance-covered consultation today!

I always say that breastfeeding is a labor of love. It’s rewarding but it can also be extremely challenging. Just because it’s natural, doesn’t mean it’s going to come naturally. That’s where education comes in. Although first-hand experience is valuable, you need someone with expertise and training, someone like today’s guest.

Kelly Kendall is a Nurse and IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant). She is also the founder of The Balanced Boob, an educational resource and support community for breastfeeding families. I’ve been in maternity care for a long time and she even taught me some new things so I know you’re going to learn a lot from this episode!

In this Episode, You’ll Learn About:

  • What it takes to become an international board certified lactation consultant
  • How COVID forced Kelly to pivot to becoming an online educator
  • What hand expression is and why it is a helpful technique to learn
  • Whether or not pain in breastfeeding is an inevitability
  • How common it is to have trouble with latching and breastfeeding in general
  • How to handle clogs and mastitis
  • How often and how much you should be feeding your newborn
  • What some tips and products are that can prevent and treat nipple pain
  • What are some causes and solutions to under and over supply

Links Mentioned in the Episode

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Dr.Nicole (00:00): In this episode of the podcast, you're going to learn some great information about breastfeeding from Kelly Kendall, the founder of The Balanced Boob. Welcome to the All about Pregnancy and birth podcast. I'm Dr. Nicole Calloway, Rankins, a board certified OBGYN, who's been in practice for nearly 15 years. I've had the privilege of helping over 1000 babies into this world, and I'm here to help you be calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful pregnancy in birth. Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. Check out the full disclaimer at drnicolerankins.com/disclaimer. Now, let's get to it.

(00:55): Hello there. Welcome to another episode of the podcast. This is episode number 213. Whether you are a new listener or a returning listener, I am so glad that you're spending some of your time with me today. In today's episode, we have Kelly Kendall. Kelly is a nurse and an IBCLC, that's an international board certified lactation consultant, and she's the founder of the Balanced Boob, which provides support and education to breastfeeding families. As a nurse and IBCLC, Kelly spent years in a busy birthing center, and so she knows the real challenges that face new parents. She specializes in prenatal breastfeeding education that helps empower parents to know how their body works and what their baby needs so they can make decisions that work best for them. She really believes that knowing and practicing some skills pre-birth will help build parents confidence so they can help their baby feed through any early challenges and build a great milk supply.

(02:06): We have a great conversation where you're going to learn about the ideal time to start learning about breastfeeding. Hint is going to be while you're still pregnant. What are the most important things to do to prepare for breastfeeding? What are common challenges that you may encounter and how to address those challenges like sore nipples? We'll talk about the benefits of hand expression. I learned something new here about this myself, and then we'll go through some misconceptions about breastfeeding and much, much more. You're definitely going to learn a lot from this episode today. Now, before we get into the episode, if you haven't already invested in childbirth education, then please do so. Childbirth education is so important to help you really be prepared for all of the things that may come your way during your birth. Of course, I have a fantastic option in the birth preparation course, the birth preparation course, my signature childbirth education class.

(03:01): It's all online. It will get you calm, confident, and empowered to have a beautiful birth experience. Thousands of folks have gone through the course. I would love to be able to serve you in the course too great information all the way from how to get in the right mindset for your birth to some tips to help you get off to the postpartum, help you get off to a great start postpartum, to everything in between what happens in your body during labor and birth possible scenarios that you may encounter, so you can be ready for those. And the course is really, really geared towards folks who plan to give birth in the hospital. That's what I know. That's what I am exceptional at, and that is what I teach you about as well. So you can check out all of the details of the birth preparation course at drnicolerankins.com/enroll. All right, let's get into the conversation with Kelly Kendall from the Balanced Boob. Thank you so much, Kelly Green to come onto the podcast. Breastfeeding is always a hot topic, so I know this is going to be a popular episode.

Kelly Kendall (04:08): Thank you so much for having me. I'm thrilled to be here and chat about my favorite subject, which is the very hot topic of breastfeeding.

Dr.Nicole (04:15): All right, awesome. I love it. So why don't you start off a bit by telling us a bit about yourself and your work and your family, if you'd like.

Kelly Kendall (04:21): Yeah. So I am a nurse and a lactation consultant, an IBCLC, a IBCLC, which stands for International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. And I am the mom of two, and I'm married to my college sweetheart, and we live in Maryland. My kids are almost 12 and almost nine, so I'm through the busy days of infancy and toddlerhood and breastfeeding. Yes. But my own struggles with breastfeeding are really what got me into this field because I so many moms really kind of went into my breastfeeding experience pretty blind with a lot of blind hope. And that's really what my work is about now, is preparing people for what you really need to have an empowering breastfeeding experience.

Dr.Nicole (05:14): Sure, sure. Awesome. And I always call breastfeeding a labor of love because you do it because you love your children, but sometimes it can be challenging. So we're going to get into some help for folks today. And I'm also am too past that toddler breastfeeding stage. Thank God. My children are 13 and 15, so now we deal with other struggles. Teenage. I know. That's what I told

Kelly Kendall (05:37): You people. I'm like, it doesn't get easier. It just gets different. Just gets

Dr.Nicole (05:41): Different. Just gets different. All right. So you mentioned that you are, and I'm, I'm looking at my notes to get it right. IBCLC. So what does that mean to be an international board certified lactation consultant? Did I get that right?

Kelly Kendall (05:58): Yes. Okay. And yes, you did get it right. And it is a mouthful. So an IBCLC is really the highest level of credentialing in the lactation field. So really anyone can call them a breastfeeding specialist or a lactation counselor. These words aren't as clear,

Dr.Nicole (06:17): Regulated or

Kelly Kendall (06:17): Anything as regulated as IBCLC. So IBCLC, you need college level credits and okay, you need over 500 clinical hours of hands-on breastfeeding assistance.

Dr.Nicole (06:28): Oh, I did not know it was that much.

Kelly Kendall (06:29): It's a lot. Okay. There are different pathways. Some people will enter. I did where I was in a hospital as a mom baby nurse and got my hours that way. Some people will do it via Lache league hours, some people will have a mentor. So there's different ways of doing it. But when someone is in IBCLC that they have a certain baseline level of education and a certain amount of hands-on clinical hours supporting breastfeeding families.

Dr.Nicole (06:55): And it's not that everybody has different levels of expertise or experience or whatever. And it's not that I'm people who don't necessarily do certification, but there's something to going that extra step and getting that certification and getting that education. You know, were getting information from someone who put some thought and some effort. It was very serious about the work.

Kelly Kendall (07:19): Yes, absolutely.

Dr.Nicole (07:20): Yeah. And do you still practice as a nurse?

Kelly Kendall (07:23): So I left working as a nurse. So I was at the nurse, a nurse for about 10, 11 years. The bedside, really busy postpartum hospital as a mom baby nurse. And then I transitioned to being IBCLC at the bedside. And then during COVID I transitioned to opening my private practice. And then that sort of segued into what I do now, which I do do some one-on-one with clients, but I'm mostly just focused on educating on Instagram and in my breastfeeding course boob school. Okay, awesome. Awesome. Yeah, one of those accidental gifts of covid where with all the virtual support that happened, it allowed me to transition to doing this.

Dr.Nicole (08:02): Gotcha. Gotcha, gotcha. Okay. So let's hop into learning about breastfeeding. So when is the ideal time that you recommend clients start thinking about or getting prepared for breastfeeding?

Kelly Kendall (08:17): So I saw somebody posted this a couple days ago, and I'm like, that is a great way to talk about it a little bit at a time over the whole course of your pregnancy. We don't want to wait till we're 36 weeks and then try to shove hours of education into our brain. Sure, sure. We really want to be learning about it the entire time and hitting on the important points and then being able to brush up on them maybe closer to birth. But really that's where we don't overwhelm ourselves and we can actually retain some of the information. Cause parents usually, I mean this as an OBGYN, parents usually decide if they're interested in breastfeeding very early on. True, true. Usually in the first trimester they've decided if they're interested. So I really think not soon after that is really where people should start the process cause of getting educated.

Dr.Nicole (09:13): Awesome. Awesome. Okay. Yeah, I never really thought about that. And it's not something that we even really necessarily bring up in the prenatal conversation until the third trimester when we're talking about getting a breast pump and that kind of thing. So that's great that, you know, say start early. It doesn't have to be overwhelming, right? No, it doesn't have to be. You're reading every single day about breastfeeding or anything like that.

Kelly Kendall (09:34): Not at all. But if you think about when your breasts really are starting to get ready for breastfeeding, you're producing colostrum as early as 16 to 22 weeks gestation,

Dr.Nicole (09:43): Which freaks people out sometimes. But it happens. Your

Kelly Kendall (09:46): Body is preparing pretty early. And so what it's all about is starting to dip your toe in finding sources that you can trust and their approach resonates with you. And then I believe just sort of pacing that education out over the course of your pregnancy so you're not having to get to 38 weeks and realize that you don't know anything. Sure. And then you're trying to shove it in overwhelmed. Sure. You really want to pace it out over the whole course.

Dr.Nicole (10:17): Sure. Absolutely. Okay. So then what are the two or three most important things that you think folks need to do in order to prepare and be best set up for breastfeeding?

Kelly Kendall (10:28): So two things that I like people to always keep in mind is we don't want to learn to build the plane as we're trying to fly the plane. It's very difficult for you to retain new information after you've given birth. I can't tell you how many times I would be in a postpartum room. I'm sure this has probably happened to you, and you're there to educate a mom, and the poor thing cannot keep her eyes open because she's been up for 24 hours with the hard work of labor. And so you're not really primed to learn a ton during that time. Sure, sure. So it's really about setting yourself up also, that you're not reliant on all the education you need to happen in the hospital because it is a, I know this, it is a busy place. It is fast turnarounds. Yep. You're going in and rounding on these patients. I'm going in, the pediatricians are, we're doing lots of things to mom and baby. And so it's really not in your best interest to rely solely on the idea that they're going to teach you everything you need to know in the hospital.

Dr.Nicole (11:33): Sure, sure.

Kelly Kendall (11:34): Same with birth. You're going to have a better experience. Absolutely. If you go into this with really some foundational knowledge. So really those two things is I want moms to understand how their bodies work, so how milk production works. So they're not necessarily relying someone to come around and teach them the basics. They really understand what they need to do to help bring their milk in and support their baby.

Dr.Nicole (12:01): Gotcha. Gotcha, gotcha. So along similar lines, what are the most common challenges that you see when people get started with breastfeeding? Two or three things that you see come up time and time again, and what are things to help with those challenges?

Kelly Kendall (12:18): So I, or first thing I would say is just a lot of parents kind of have this idea that their baby is going to be born, going to be put on their chest and they're going to scoot their bodies over and latch on. And that does happen sometimes, and it's wonderful when it does. But there are some babies that are just not stellar breast feeders for a variety of reasons. Maybe a long difficult labor. It could have been any sort of resuscitation measures. And what a lot of parents don't know is what to do if baby isn't latching in those first hours. And it's incredibly stressful. So I teach a lot on hand expression and practicing hand expression in the last days of pregnancy, days and weeks of pregnancy. So the way this works, so if you have a low risk mom, a mom who's cleared for a vaginal delivery, sure, she's allowed to have sex, she's allowed to raise her oxytocin levels.

(13:19): She can practice hand expression, which is literally using your hand to practice expressing drops of colostrum. Now, some moms will get drops of colostrum and even decide to bring those with them to the hospital to supplement baby some moms that doesn't appeal to them. But even practicing it, because what studies have shown is that if moms hand express within the first hour after birth, they end up with 160% more milk at six weeks. It's like a crazy bang for your buck. It's crazy. Yes. Because of that big hormone shift that happens when the placenta is delivered. And so the early expression of drops of colostrum immediately after birth in the next hours and days while you're learning to latch your baby, is one of the most protective things you can do to help build a great milk supply. I do not know that. Okay. I know. And so many, it isn't quite like it's becoming more popular, but it's not necessarily mainstream yet. Sure, sure, sure. And a lot of moms think will see things on Instagram and maybe be like, I am not bringing colostrum with me to the hospital. Thank

Dr.Nicole (14:34): You. Yeah. That's like, right,

Kelly Kendall (14:34): Right. Which is totally fine. But again, like we talked about earlier, you don't want to wait for me to come to teach you something when you're exhausted and overwhelmed, and you may not even have a lactation consultant there at nights or the evenings or the weekends. Sure. So I want to empower you to know just what to do if your baby isn't latching immediately. So I would say that's one thing, kind of this expectation that baby's going to go on and start breastfeeding like a champion. And then I think the other thing is sore nipple, because breastfeeding, although it's really instinctual for babies and there's lots of natural reflexes that are hardwired into their brain, parents have to learn how to do this. And really, we learn as humans best by watching other people breastfeed

Dr.Nicole (15:25): And which which doesn't happen in our society.

Kelly Kendall (15:27): And many moms have never seen that. Back when we were living in communities where we were multi-generational homes and lots of women together, it would've been easier for moms to see this 100% see what it's actually like to breastfeed a newborn, because a lot of people have seen in someone breastfeeding a one year old or something, or a six month old, but not many people have seen what it's like to breastfeed a newborn baby. And a lot of moms also think that that pain that comes with early breastfeeding is expected or just part of the cross that we must bear as women and mothers. And it's really not. Right. It's common, but pain is your body's way of telling you something isn't right. So if your nipples are painful, cracked, bleeding, traumatized, usually the most common reason for that early on is a shallow latch. So understanding what you can do to get, help your baby to open really wide and get latched deeply to the breast so you're not having to deal with any of that Sure. Is a really helpful thing to go into your birth knowing. Okay.

Dr.Nicole (16:35): Okay. And what are your thoughts on to try to manage those sore nipples? Do you recommend, I know landline cream is pretty common or ointment, is there anything in particular that you recommend? Yeah.

Kelly Kendall (16:47): So the studies on landline really aren't that good. It's actually not very effective, although it's been around for a long time. What I recommend are a product called Ettes, and they're silver nursing cups. And in medicine, silver is antifungal and antimicrobial. They'll even use it in some wound dressings. And what we know about how wounds heal is moist wound healing works really well. And Silver Reds just cover your nipple and you actually express some drops of your own breast milk. And we know breast milk is incredibly healing. It's full of antibodies, it's this magic substance. So if we just kind of create this environment for healing where your own breast milk can do the work, that is what I generally find to be most effective. And then you're not having to add any ointment or prescription cream. I really find it to be super effective. And with the moms that I work with in boob school, I just kind of across the board, recommend people get these, bring them with you to the hospital, and it can really help prevent and treat that early onset nipple pain.

Dr.Nicole (17:53): I have never heard of that. See, you learn something new every day. Can you still breast, can you still breastfeed with them

Kelly Kendall (17:59): On? Yeah, you just wear them in between nursing sessions.

Dr.Nicole (18:01): Interesting. Now I got to go Google

Kelly Kendall (18:03): It. And your bra in place of a nursing pad. Sure. Yeah. They're pretty awesome product. I really, I've seen them work really, really well. And again, then you're not having to put anything on your nipples that's going in the baby's mouth or whatever. It's not sticky. It's literally just your own breast milk. Gotcha,

Dr.Nicole (18:18): Gotcha. But the lanolin is not harmful, is it that you're aware of? It's

Kelly Kendall (18:22): Not harmful. It is derived from wool. So some moms can be irritated to that, especially if you have a roll sensitivity. Sure. But really the studies have just shown that it's not any more effective than something like your own breast milk or coconut oil or something like that.

Dr.Nicole (18:39): Got it. Got it. Okay. Okay. So let's talk about any other misconceptions, things you say about breastfeeding that you're like, I really wish we could put those misconceptions and lies to rest. Are there two or three or anything that you're just like, this is not true about breastfeeding?

Kelly Kendall (18:57): Well, we already said it's not easy. We already said you can't depend on them teaching you in the hospital. I would say one thing that I hear a lot is that, you know have to, if you're dealing with clogs or pain in your breast that you're really supposed to dig in to get the clog out. And what we know now about how clogs and mastitis works and breast tissue in general is really that it's light touch that helps move that fluid up and into the lymph system. So we should never be touching our breasts harder than how we would put lotion on our baby's face. So really again, that light touch up towards the armpit to these lymph nodes and the axilla is really what helps reduce engorgement and can help with clogs of mastitis as

Dr.Nicole (19:45): Well. Nice. I had never heard that before. And then what about misconceptions about, yeah, you have to feed the baby on a specific schedule or this, that and the other. What about

Kelly Kendall (19:58): That? Yeah, we really want, especially in the early days, to be feeding baby on demand. So whenever baby wants to eat and newborns are designed to feed a lot, they do something called cluster feeding, usually in the evenings. And that's those times where you just park your butt on the couch in front of some show you're going to binge watch and it feels like you're breastfeeding for hours. Right. And babies really are. That's how they're designed to have some feedings closer together and then have a longer stretch. And another common thing that we hear is feeding baby for 15 minutes on one side, 15 minutes on the other. That's also not true. We want to let baby finish one breast. Okay. So let them fully finish that breast, right.

Dr.Nicole (20:44): Burp.

Kelly Kendall (20:45): And we're going to offer the other, so first breast is dinner, then we burp and we offer dessert, which they may or may not take. Sure. Some babies just only ever want one side, and for some babies it can change over the course of the day if they want one or both sides. But we definitely don't want to be looking at our clocks. We want to be looking at baby's behavior at the

Dr.Nicole (21:04): Breast. Got it. Got it. Okay. So lots of people are going to breastfeed at the breast and some people are also going to pump. So what are your thoughts about when to introduce pumping and then some suggestions to make sure pumping goes well?

Kelly Kendall (21:21): Yeah, so definitely I'm someone who believes pumping is breastfeeding pump exclusive. Pumping is a way anytime your baby's getting your milk, usually if things are going well, if you're not needing to supplement or anything like that, you're not wanting or needing to do bottles early on, you can wait until a month. And just really, I'm always telling the moms I work with team less work in the early postpartum days. So if we can take one thing off your plate, wait a little bit longer till, you know, have your footing, and then introduce the pump, one thing I will suggest is I talk to my moms about measuring their nipples for their phlange in pregnancy at the end of pregnancy now, and it may change slightly just with fluids and some F fluid shifts and some engorgement. But really the reason is we don't know how soon you're going to need to pump.

(22:22): Some moms can wait till those four weeks. Some moms, if your baby is jaundiced in the hospital, you may need to start day two. And so if we know that I measure 37 weeks and I realize that my nipple diameter is 15 millimeters, I'm going to know that that 24 millimeter going to hand me in the hospital is not going to work for me. And many hospitals only have one size or maybe two sizes of phalanges to offer you. So you can actually get phlange inserts that you can just order on Amazon, they're less than $20, throw 'em in your hospital bag, so then you know, have a correct size to bring with you to the hospital if you were needing to pump early on postpartum. Right.

Dr.Nicole (23:08): I have never heard of anybody measuring their, no, it's more like a trial and error. Just stick it on there and see what happens. For lack of a better way to put it.

Kelly Kendall (23:17): So we, it really can impact how comfortable the pumping session is for the mom and how effectively they're removing milk. And moms can actually really damage their nipples if they're using a phlange that's very poorly fit. And this is something that has, I will tell you, this is something that's really changed in the last couple years. It used to be when I was at the hospital to be like, all right, here's 24. It looks

Dr.Nicole (23:41): Okay. Right, right.

Kelly Kendall (23:42): And now we're realizing like, oh, actually the size that we're giving moms really does impact their pumping experience and how their nipples are feeling. Got it. And so got it's important to have the right size. Okay,

Dr.Nicole (23:56): That makes a lot of sense. Are there any particular pumps that you recommend? I mean, pumps are a whole new level now from back when, I mean, back when I was pumping, yes, it was the made and that was the gold standard, but now there's tons more. There's the hands free ones that you can do while you're doing other things. So

Kelly Kendall (24:16): The hands free ones, like the willow or the LV, are more what we call secondary pumps. So they are great in a pinch. You can use them some of the time, but for most moms, those aren't going to be strong enough to be what you would use as your full-time pump, especially if you are primarily pumping. So a really good, solid at-home pump that's very popular is the spectra. That's kind of a good workhorse that a lot of moms can get through their insurance company. Pumpable is another pump that I love. That's something that's really small and you can be mobile with it, but it's still a strong and effective pump. And those are probably my two faves. But the pumping rabbit hole is large, and there are accounts on Instagram devoted

Dr.Nicole (25:05): To that, just to

Kelly Kendall (25:06): Exclusive pumping. And there are millions of pump reviews on there that you can dig through.

Dr.Nicole (25:11): As a matter of fact, I'm have a guest who will be coming on, and all she does is help with pumping. Awesome. So stay tuned. Stay tuned for that. Stay tuned for that. So if people are having trouble with breastfeeding, particularly, actually, let's talk about both sides, because actually people think that oversupply is not a problem, but it actually can be a problem for people on a very uncomfortable one. So what do you do when you have oversupply? And then what about supplements, teas, cookies, things like that for undersupply?

Kelly Kendall (25:43): So with oversupply, that's definitely something that you want to be working one-to-one with a lactation consultant, because you really want someone that can be watching you closely because it is a dance that we have to do for, we wanted allow milk to stay in your breast a little bit longer because that's what tells your body to down-regulate your milk supply. So it's milk sitting in your breast that tells your body, we have more than we need. You have a protein that builds up called the feedback inhibitor of lactation, but we want to watch you really closely, because if we do that too much, we can raise your risk of mastitis or clogs. So you want to be working closely with a lactation consultant and possibly doing something called block feeding, where we have you only feed from one breast for a certain period of time.

(26:34): And then sometimes if I have a mom who has a huge oversupply, say she's expressing 70 ounces a day, and we know her baby's only taking 25, sometimes those moms need some herbs, or even something like pseu ephedrine, oh. To help down-regulate their milk supply enough. So it is really something that if you know, have an oversupply, I would tell you that's something where you want to be working hand in hand with someone who really can walk alongside of you. It's not something that you want to just be trying this weekend on your own, because it can make things worse if work is not managed well. Got

Dr.Nicole (27:11): It. Got it. Okay. And then under supply.

Kelly Kendall (27:15): So under supply, two things. The key with low supply is getting to the root cause. So there are two kinds of low supply, something called primary low supply, and those are the cases with moms who may have insufficient glandular tissue or maybe PCOS or hypothyroid. They may have a medical condition that impacts their ability to make milk. And there's secondary low supply where maybe baby is tongue tied or mom didn't get good breastfeeding information early on, there was a lack of stimulation, something along those lines. And you can have a combination of both. But with low supply, we really want to target how you're treating you to what's going on. Gotcha. Because if you are a mom with insufficient glandular tissue, you can eat every damn cookie in the world then, and you can be feeding your baby. Yeah. Okay. And so I am all about not having people on the hamster wheel of constant pumping and triple feeding and all of that.

(28:18): So working with an educated, compassionate IBCLC and your physician to maybe get blood work and dig a little bit deeper to see what really could be going on underneath of things is super important. Okay. Cookies and herbs, we know they did a study last year about cookies. Oh, okay. I love cookies. And what they found out is they don't really help. So if you think about galactic obs, galactic obs, which are herbs that have been shown to help with lactation, the least concentration of them are going to be in things like herbs, smoothies, and teas. Okay. You can take capsules or tinctures, and those are going to have a much higher concentration of whatever that herb is. But again, even that, the studies are a little bit, but with some of my moms who are maybe right on the edge, sure. We know that they are maybe going back to work and they just kind of want to bolster things a bit. It can certainly help. And for some people just doing something and kind of placebo effect, you think it's going to help that lowers your stress level a little bit. Right. And that might actually help bolster things. But the studies for herbs in and of themselves, and certainly for cookies and stuff, really isn't very strong. Okay.

Dr.Nicole (29:38): So probably won't no evidence that it helps, but it probably won't hurt, I guess.

Kelly Kendall (29:44): Yes. And the thing that's tricky about herbs is it's very trial and error. We don't quite know what is going to work for you Sure. Until you try it. Got it. And those things are, they're expensive. So before I recommend any of those with people, we're like, we're going for the low hanging fruit. We're going to make sure that baby is efficient, that you have a well-fitting pump, that you're emptying your breasts effectively. Because if you're not doing those foundational things, you can eat all the cookies, drink all the teas. Sure. Takes all the capsules, and it's not going to make up for that.

Dr.Nicole (30:15): Okay. Okay. That makes sense. That makes sense. All right. So say someone is having trouble or even they want to establish a connection with the lactation consultant even before, during pregnancy. That's actually one of the things I say is try and line up help before you need it actually. And if you don't need it, great, but if you do, you have it there. So if someone is looking for a lactation consultant, what are things that they should look for? What are two or three questions to ask?

Kelly Kendall (30:45): I think asking someone's experience level when you meet them, what their experience is and kind of their general philosophy. One thing that's helpful now in the world of Instagram is you can, there are many lactation consultants that have social media accounts, and you can sort of feel someone's vibe out. Sure. And kind of decide if they might be a good fit for you. And looking for support groups In my breastfeeding course, we also have a live support option. So you also get a Facebook group similar to yours, so people can come back and ask questions. Sure. Because what really gets us is those new moms or those 2:00 AM Google Spiral dumpster dives, and if people have a place that they can trust to go and ask questions, it really helps. But you can also look at what your insurance company will cover in terms of lactation support.

(31:45): And I would advise you reach out to those lactation consultants who your insurance cover, double check that that's up to date information. And sometimes you can book something ahead of time for a couple weeks after you deliver, just like you know, have well visits with your pediatrician. Sure. It's always a good idea to check-in, ask your questions. And breastfeeding is one of these things that really changes a lot over the course of your breastfeeding experience. What would be a problem with a four week old is totally normal with a four month old. So having a place that you can go to ask those questions over the whole breastfeeding journey is really helpful and lowers parents stress a lot.

Dr.Nicole (32:26): Gotcha. And I imagine you might have people who have different philosophies. Maybe some people are like, we're going to breastfeed at all cost, and maybe that's not what you want. Maybe it is. Maybe you want someone who's a little more flexible, or if you are just tired and things aren't going okay that they can help you feel good about whatever choices you make to feed your child. So you want to make sure you have that good fit. And I assume if it's not a good fit, then find someone else.

Kelly Kendall (32:58): Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I think that's the beauty of being able to find a provider who really aligns with your feeding goals. And I tend to be somebody who's very, I am more than anything else for anyone I interact with, whether it's in a consult or in boob school or on Instagram, it's incredibly important to me that they know that I see them and that breastfeeding is complicated and there are two humans involved. And it is not just about how bad you want something. That's not how that is. This works because I have had dealt with moms over the course of my career who have wanted this so badly and it didn't work out for them. And I want them to be able to access so much and self-love. Sure. Because that's really, at the end of the day, what your baby needs is a parent that is able to treat themselves with kindness and connect with their baby. And this is breastfeeding again, is not an all or nothing thing. I am not a believer in that. Right. There are so many different ways to do this, and there should be because we're humans and we need different things, and our babies may need different things too. Absolute

Dr.Nicole (34:15): Too. Absolutely. Love it, love it, love it, love it. So as we wrap up, what would you say is the most frustrating part of your work?

Kelly Kendall (34:23): Oh, geez. I think the most frustrating part of my work is just how much misinformation is out there. Sure. Sometimes it feels like I'm whack-a-mole. Right. The things that come up on Instagram and I see circulating on mommy blogs and these people that are on Instagram as experts and their breastfeeding knowledge really is I breastfed a child, which not that they don't have anything to value, a value to contribute, but it's not the same thing. And I think you probably can feel the same way.

Dr.Nicole (35:02): 100%. 100%.

Kelly Kendall (35:04): So that's definitely the most frustrating.

Dr.Nicole (35:06): Yes. Yeah. It's not that you can't learn from other people who have done this and you should, but that should not be your only source of information. Experience matters. And in this arena, I think in particular, definitely for what I do for birth, being a part of so many births brings a wealth of knowledge and experience that just is not replaceable. And it's the same thing when you've sat with so many women, and I've seen this, seen that, I've seen this tweet, that experience just brings so much so it's not discounting what other people are saying, but don't rely on that as your only source of information. That's my 2 cents inside. Absolutely. To that. Yeah. Yeah. So on the flip side, what is the most rewarding part of your work?

Kelly Kendall (35:57): Oh my God. I'm just somebody who is amazed by moms and babies every day. And I think to watch a mom trust herself, learn to trust herself is one of the most beautiful things to witness in the world. And when I work with a mom who maybe breastfeeding isn't going exactly how they thought, but they're still able to treat themselves with such fierce, that just blows my mind, and I'm really proud of it.

Dr.Nicole (36:31): Yeah. Yeah. I love that. Love that. So then, what is your favorite piece of advice that you like to give to expectant moms or expectant families?

Kelly Kendall (36:38): I think build your community of support. Now this is the time to access what is around you in your community, whether that's on Instagram or in your physical community. Find your pelvic floor therapist, find your lactation consultant. Find your mom, mental health therapist that's out there in your community. So really, this is the time to gather those resources so they're right there at your fingertips when you need them.

Dr.Nicole (37:10): All righty. And speaking of resources, where can people find you? Your website, your Instagram, your class, all of the details. Give it to us.

Kelly Kendall (37:18): So you can find me on Instagram at the balanced boob, and my website is the same, the balanced boob.com. And then you can join us in boob school, which is my breastfeeding class for expecting parents and parents that are already in the thick of it. Really. We work to support you in all the things that can come up with breastfeeding. Okay.

Dr.Nicole (37:36): Awesome. Well, thank you so much. And of course we'll link all that in the show notes. Well, Kelly, thank you so much for agreeing to come onto the podcast. Super helpful information. Thank

Kelly Kendall (37:44): You. Awesome. I was so wonderful to chat with you.

Dr.Nicole (37:54): All right. Wasn't that a great conversation? I know I learned some new things about breastfeeding and I hope that you learned some new information too. All right. Well, when I have a guest on the podcast, I do something called Dr. Nicole's notes where I talk about my top takeaways from the conversation. So here are my Dr. Nicole's notes from my conversation with Kelly. Number one, experience and training matters. It really makes a difference. The background that people have when they come to sharing information, whether it's online or on websites or podcasts or wherever it is, the medium. And I'm saying this because I'm starting to see more and more people who are online and sharing information, and they don't necessarily have a lot of experience or a lot of training, and that is being reflected in the type of information that they're sharing, that it's really inaccurate.

(39:00): Some of it is just flat out wrong. So I don't take any issue with anyone who, yeah, I guess I say all that to say we all have to start somewhere. There was a time I didn't sprout out of the wound with 20 years of experience. Of course, there was a time when I didn't have any experience, but you want to be sure that you're getting information from people who are taking what they're talking about seriously, really making sure they're coming from a place of being thoughtful in their approach about how they're learning information and the information that they're sharing. And that doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be formally trained. The best example I can think of, my husband is not formally trained in building things, but he built cabinets in his garage. He puts really detailed things kind of together. He's built the closet shelves in our closet, so he's not trained in that, but you best believe he studied, he prepared, he looked at videos, he read things he practiced.

(40:07): So you just want to be sure that you're getting information, even if people don't have any sort of formal training, that they are giving you things from a place of really knowing what they're talking about and that they've put the effort into it and they're just not popping up online thinking they want to hop on some kind of train to share information. Sorry, I know I'm talking about this a little bit long, but this is just sort of a pet peeve of mine and a worry and a concern of mine actually, that people aren't being discerning about understanding where they're getting information from. And just because someone is saying something, just because it's online, just because it has thousands of likes or whatever, doesn't mean that it's true. All right. Use your brain, vet the information, make sure you're getting information from a reliable source.

(40:59): Okay. All right. I'll get off of that soapbox. Okay. Number two, definitely find your support ahead of time. So love the quote. We don't want to learn to build the plane as we're trying to fly the plane. That's what Kelly said during the episode. And that's kind of like what learning about breastfeeding is when you're in the midst of it, you don't want to be learning about something while you're in the middle of it. You want to try and prepare yourself as best you can ahead of time. So you definitely want to take the classes, take the education, find your support, line up your lactation co counselor ahead of time. And this can honestly be for all kinds of support. Maybe you want to get a postpartum doula who can help you that they may double as a board certified lactation consultant and help provide that postpartum doula support as well.

(41:53): You can get kind of two for one. That's one of the things that I tell people to ask for on their registries is contributions towards a doula, whether that's a do a doula during labor, or maybe a postpartum doula as well. Definitely just line up your support ahead of time so you're not in the thick of things and then trying to figure things out. It's so much better to have the resources and things lined up before you need it. And that brings me to the third point, is that education doesn't have to be overwhelming. Sometimes it feels like you got to learn all this stuff. You got to learn what to do with the baby, you got to learn about childbirth education, you got to learn about breastfeeding, but it really doesn't have to be overwhelming. And if you approach it in a way that is systemic or not systemic, systematic, that is systematic and sort of manageable, if you can find resources that help take the guesswork out of you having to figure different things out.

(42:51): So if you can find people who've already kind of gotten the information together for you, or you find resources like this podcast, like the birth preparation course or people who are or on online in various formats and they've kind of organized things for you, it doesn't have to be overwhelming. It's like a little bit a day, a little bit a day. You start towards the middle of your pregnancy and just kind of prepare yourself slowly. It doesn't have to, I don't want you to feel like it has to be overwhelming or you have to know every single thing. You're not going to know every single thing, but you can definitely know a general idea of how to approach your labor, how to approach your birth, how to be prepared for breastfeeding. Honestly, the baby part that feels like the scariest part, like taking care of a human being.

(43:35): But honestly, those things you do kind of figure out like baiting the diapering, those things you figure out fairly easy. But I do think help with breastfeeding, definitely help with, you have to take childbirth education that that's a non-negotiable for sure, especially in the US healthcare system. It doesn't have to be overwhelming. You can definitely check out my course, the birth preparation course for your childbirth education. That's dr nicole rankins.com/enroll. The benefit with that, because it's online and you get it all at once, you can do it at your own time, your own pace, and kind of go through it in a way that makes sense for you. And of course, you have that support with it as well where you can get follow up questions answered inside of the private Facebook community, the Inner Circle community that comes with the course as well. Woo.

(44:24): Okay. All right. So there you have it. Do me a solid share this podcast with a friend. I am on a mission to reach and serve as many of the 4 million people that have a baby in this country every year as possible. So I would so appreciate your help with that. So hit that share button, share this podcast with a friend, with a client, with a coworker, whoever you can. I would so appreciate it. And also subscribe to the podcast wherever you are listening to me right now. Leave an honest review inside of Apple Podcast or come follow me on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins. I provide information there. It's a great place to connect outside of the podcast where I also provide great information, and you can shoot me a DM there. Let me know what you think about the show. I'm always open to show suggestions, all of that good, great stuff, again on Instagram at Dr. Nicole Rankins. So that is it for this episode. Do come on back next week and remember that you deserve a beautiful pregnancy and birth.