Guest Post: “Mothers’ Welfare & the Breastfeeding Discussion” by Lesli Mitchell

Guest Post by Lesli Mitchell, MSW

While we need to encourage mothers to breastfeed more and for longer periods of time in the United States, we also need to acknowledge their personal thresholds and circumstances so that we [as Lactation Professionals] can better support them.

We mothers are a diverse group with different coping styles, personalities and sleep requirements. It is both ideal for moms to breastfeed for as long as possible and to function as well as possible .

As I reflect on my years as a breastfeeding mother, I think about the ways I functioned and the pressures I felt to continue night nursing despite feeling exhausted. I also put a lot of pressure on myself to be the “perfect mom.”

As a prior therapist, I felt pressure to make sure that my daughter had her emotional needs met 99.95% of the time. This article sheds light on the pressures new mothers face and discusses how these pressures overpower our own mothering instincts. It also emphasizes 8 ways to be a good mother instead of a perfect one, which really hit home for me.

Because breastfeeding was SO good for my baby, I felt that I HAD to do it as long as possible no matter how I felt. I also felt pressure from other moms, pediatricians and breastfeeding professionals. Some moms sneered at me for even considering night weaning, while other thought I was crazy for nursing so long. I never knew what sort of reaction I would get from a pediatrician, so I’d often brace myself for their response about tooth decay or sleep issues. Breastfeeding professionals were often so thrilled about my extended nursing that questions about my personal functioning were largely ignored.

Thinking back, I would have liked to hear more inquiry about my coping. I would have liked to know that breastfeeding professionals had an arsenal of resources, options and suggestions on how to help me make changes in my breastfeeding routine if I needed or wanted to. I wanted more ideas and support as to how to transition from night nursing as my daughter got older.

Knowing that breastfeeding professionals will be there to provide nonjudgmental options on how to make changes in the mother-baby feeding relationship, moms might even breastfeed longer. I met many women that didn’t want to nurse for too long out of fear that it would become a habit for the child, too exhausting and too hard to stop. There were times that I felt ashamed for trying to eek out personal space or more sleep at night for fear that I would be perceived as a lazy or weak mom.

It is important for us all to remember that we moms are human and our day to day functioning with our babies also matters. Alertness, connectivity, attachment, attentiveness, and driving safety are also critical components of mothering.

For many years I worked as licensed clinical social worker with children and families. I worked with people trying to cope with very painful, challenging experiences. Most people are aware when they are not functioning well and typically seek help. Breastfeeding mothers seek out professionals to help them manage better. As a social worker, I was trained to look at people’s lives like a large puzzle, composed of many parts. Some of the those parts include things like their marriage, mental health, social support systems, physical health, past history, childhood, belief systems, coping skills etc.

Considering their “life-puzzle” helped me gently guide my client’s on their personal journey of empowerment and transition. While breastfeeding professionals are not therapists, a mothers life puzzle or life circumstances have a huge impact on her breastfeeding journey and should be considered.

Leslie & her daughter Ava – 1 month old

I quit my job as a mental health therapist when I was seven months pregnant and gave birth to my daughter at the age of 37. My husband and I decided that I would stay home and mother our one and only child. I breastfed my daughter until she was almost 3 years old and night nursed her until she was 23 months. I moved into her room so that my husband could get enough sleep for work and ended up staying there until she was 4.5 years old. My whole life had changed. My husband and I were dedicated to giving her our all.

Leslie & Ava – 3 months old

The nights were especially rough. The first year was doable, but as I moved into the second year of on-demand night nursing it started to have more of an impact on me. My daughter would wake up every 2 hours to nurse and then wake up at 5am ready to start her day. It was additionally hard at “nap time.” I nursed her to sleep for nap time but If I left the room she would wake up. I was not comfortable with the “cry it out” method and so I stayed in the room. I remember not wanting to lay down again and breastfeed for nap time. I didn’t want to go to sleep in that same bed again in the day time, I wanted to sit up and read or just rest in my own space. I was already going to bed early at 7:30 at night. I was yearning for personal space. I resented the idea of sleeping during her nap time. I opted to drive my daughter around every day until she fell asleep. I had the front seat to myself, the radio, elbow room, reading materials. So, once she fell asleep in the car, I would park and have my space. It felt healthy for me.

In retrospect, I needed someone to help me plan out what I was going to do. When you are sleep deprived it is hard to come up with coherent plans and execute them.

It would have been healthier for me to take that nap with her in the day, but I just couldn’t do it. When I look back at my decision, it was more out of desperation. I felt like I was safe to drive and function, but as I learn more about sleep deprivation, I was likely not as alert as I should have been.

There are dangers of sleep deprivation for moms and babies. Sleep deprivation can have an impact on memory functioning, accidents, family dynamics, existing health (physical or mental) and mood. Most of the time, I got through, but I had a few rough patches that likely were a result of sleep deprivation. I once fell down the stairs and bumped my head on the front door while holding my baby. She was fine because I quickly tucked her close to me to keep her safe. I got in two car accidents with my daughter in the car. We were both fine, but it was nevertheless stressful. And once, I fell over a pot not looking where I was going while holding her in an outdoor shopping mall. Can I say that each of those incidents were absolutely a result of sleep deprivation? I can’t totally prove it, but it is very likely. It is hard to know how sleep deprived you are sometimes. I sort of thought that it was just the “mom culture” to be exhausted all the time.

One day I called a breastfeeding agency for some ideas about coping with sleep deprivation and night nursing. The woman’s response on the phone was very simple—keep night nursing, take a nap during the day and let the baby self-wean.

When I told her that I was tired and that I needed some personal space in the day, she was adamant about me continuing for the baby’s sake. I was proud of the fact that I had night nursed for so long and I felt hurt that I wasn’t acknowledged for the work I had put in. She basically ignored my needs and said that I wasn’t doing enough for my baby. My exhaustion and need for personal space didn’t matter. There was no compassion or understanding that the human part of me was suffering. It was all the end product—the thriving baby that seemed to matter. I wanted her to congratulate me, ask me how I was feeling and how I wanted to proceed. She had no other options, no compassion, no resources for me to consider. I hung up feeling like a wuss.

Thank goodness I knew better, but it still hurt. I knew I had to transition from night nursing and so I figured out a way to do it in my own way that felt right for me. But I feel sad for women that might hear that all or nothing message loaded with judgment and take it to heart.

I proceeded to write and illustrate my own book, Sally Weans From Night Nursing, to help my daughter night wean.




I felt like I was being told that my best wasn’t enough. Not all moms will be able to night nurse indefinitely, and that is okay. Being a mom is not only about breastfeeding. Yes breastmilk is awesome, but so is cuddling, playing, singing, healthy emotional interactions and a mothers attentiveness.

Leslie’s daughter Ava – 7 years old – and the inspiration behind the book, “When Sally Weans from Night Nursing.”

In the end, we all have to keep breastfeeding in perspective. Sometimes moms need to make changes so that they can function. We all have different thresholds, personalities and coping skills. Some of us need more sleep, more alone time, more time with other adults, or more adventure. We have to support women in how they function best and try to balance that with helping them nurture and care for their baby.

A one size fits all agenda is not realistic for our diverse populations of mothers. Liquid Gold is awesome, but it is not the only thing that makes mothering wonderful.

Are you interested in buying this book? If so, just click here for the English edition and here for the Spanish edition. Check out Leslie reading her book in the video below.


FREEBIE FRIDAY: Free Patient Handouts, Posters & Educator Flip Charts (and More!) from Ready, Set, Baby!

It’s FREEBIE FRIDAY again! Well, actually it’s Saturday, but I figured better late than never, so here it goes. The Carolina Global Breastfeeding Institute’s Ready, Set, Baby! program has lots of great resources for lactation professionals in English and Spanish (with Arabic coming soon). Best of all, it’s all FREE – you just print it out.

Click here for English resources

Click here for Spanish resources – and make sure to check back, Arabic is coming soon.

Do you have an idea or freebie that you would like featured on Galactablog’s FREEBIE FRIDAY series? If so, don’t be shy! Please do share. You can contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lactation Program Review: UCSD Lactation Educator Counselor (CLEC) Training Program


Lactation Program Review: 

UCSD Lactation Educator Counselor Training Program 

with Lactation Educator Counselor Certificate  

By Anonymous

Review Submitted December 1, 2017
Published on December 13, 2017

How long did it take you to complete the program? 2 months

When did you take the course? 2014

Certification or Certificate Offered – At end of course, students are “Certificated Lactation Educator Counselors,” or CLECs.

Delivery of Program – Completely online. You can find dates and the delivery medium here of available classes here and read more about the program here.

Books & Materials Required – The textbook, Counseling the Nursing Mother: A Lactation Consultant’s Guide by Anna Swisher and Judith Lauwers (2015). It’s available to rent, to buy (in both hard cover and Kindle) on Amazon.

Cost of Program (Including books, materials, application fees, etc.) – $695 (as of December 2017) + $72 for book via $767 total.

# of L-CERPs, Nursing Contact Hours, CEUs, CPEs, etc. offered – 45 L-CERPs, 4 CE units in Reproductive Medicine BRN/RD: 45 CE hrs. BRN

Do this program’s hours meet partial or full requirements for the IBCLC exam’s lactation specific training requirement?

Yes – partially (45 hours).

If yes, how many hours of lactation specific training are counted for the IBCLC exam?

45 hours are counted towards the 90 hour lactation education IBCLC exam requirement.

Trainer: Ginni Baker

What did you like about the program? I liked having videos to watch rather than simply PowerPoint slides with voiceover. It’s hard to do that for 45 hours’ worth of education! The price is also more reasonable than other courses.

What did you dislike about the program? Virtually everything else.

What would you change about the program? I’d update the videos, ensure that everything is based on evidence or clearly stated as anecdotal, and ensure that it is inclusive and appropriate for a wide audience.

How rigorous/time consuming did you find the program? The program was more intense than what I have seen from in-person 45-hour courses. There were lectures plus assignments, including a fairly involved assignment where you create your own breastfeeding class.

Would you recommend this program to others?  I can only speak for the online portion, but no, I would not recommend it to others based on my experience. I felt like communication was poor; there was one instance where I asked specifically about a contradiction between the lecture and assignment and was not given a clarifying answer. The lectures videos were outdated when I watched them. There were some points where language used was offensive, and anecdotal evidence offered as fact without clarification that was anecdotal.

Knowing what you know now, would you take this program again? No. I would try to find an in-person class if at all possible.

Do you feel the course and/or certification helped you obtain your goals? No. I took the course mainly as a prerequisite to apply for the Hybrid Lactation Program (UCSD’s pathway 2 program), and found out after going through the course and applying that any 45-hour course would have counted for a prerequisite, and I was a CLC at the time.

Yes. It helped me to get a job with WIC. In my case, it helped me obtain more credentials as a postpartum doula. The certification is beneficial to doulas as well.

Does your program/credential require you to recertify? If so, how long does the credential last and what is required to recertify?

The “Certified Lactation Educator Counselor” certificate is good for 5 years, after which, one needs to take the Refresher Lactation Educator course.

Would you like to write a review of a Lactation Training Program that you’ve taken? If so, don’t be shy! You can access the review form directly from Galactablog. Or directly online via Google Forms here.

See here for more program details along with comparison of similar Lactation Training Programs.

FREEBIE FRIDAY: 1 FREE L-CERP – “Understanding The Infant Microbiome” Webinar

Keep Calm and Love Free StuffYup, it’s that time again. Freebie Friday! And Who doesn’t love free stuff? Are you an IBCLC who is trying to earn enough CERPS for re-certification? Or are you an aspiring IBCLC – to-be who is trying to obtain the 90 hours of lactation education needed to qualify for the IBLCE exam? If so, then this 1 FREE L-CERP is for you. Not only do you get to cross an hour off of your list (with your wallet thanking you), but you get to learn something about the Infant Microbiome as well. Win-Win.


You may be wondering what you have to do to earn your 1 free L-CERP?  Simply click here to enroll for the 60 minute webinar titled,  “Understanding The Infant Microbiome.” Don’t forget to mark your calendars because this offer is only available from December 12-19, 2017. 

Webinar host is Toni Harman, the filmmaker behind the award-winning documentary Microbirth.

Author & Filmmaker Toni Harman. Photo courtesy of

Toni Harman is also the co-author along with Alex Wakeford of the books:The Microbiome Effect: How Your Baby’s Birth Influences Their Future Health (2016) and Your Baby’s Microbiome: The Critical Role of Vaginal Birth and Breastfeeding for Lifelong Health (2017).

 Don’t forget to download your Certificate of Completion for Continuing Education (CE) credits after completion. This 60 minute webinar offers: 1 L-CERP Approved by IBLCE – CERPs Registry Number #317077K and 1 CPD Hour Approved by Australian College of Midwives (ACM).

Do you have an idea or freebie that you would like featured on Galactablog’s FREEBIE FRIDAY series? If so, don’t be shy! Please do share. You can contact me here. I look forward to hearing from you.

Lactation Program Review: Lactation Education Resources (LER) Lactation Consultant Training Program & Breastfeeding Specialist Certificate Credential

To all of my Galactablog subscribers, followers and all of those who submitted lactation program reviews – I want to sincerely apologize for the exceptionally long delay on publishing program reviews. I have a backlog of reviews that were submitted but never published. So I’m playing catch-up now. Galactablog is now up and running again, so stay tuned for lots of reviews. Ready, set, go!

Lactation Program Review: 

Lactation Education Resources’ (LER)

Lactation Consultant Training Program

with Breastfeeding Specialist Certificate 

Reviewer: ECB

Reviewed on December 21, 2015
Published on November 30, 2017

Year enrolled in Program: 2013

How long did it take you to complete the program? 2 months

Certification or Certificate Offered – Breastfeeding Specialist certificate

Delivery of Program – Completely online

Books & Materials Required – The textbook Breastfeeding and Human Lactation, 5th Ed is recommended by LER. Course materials (power point lectures, bibliographies and lectures) are all online.

Cost of Program (Including books, materials, application fees, etc.) – $895 (as of 12/21/2015). ***Edited to add: Current cost (as of review publication date) of the “Lactation Consultant Training Program Enriched” course is $975.

# of L-CERPs, Nursing Contact Hours, CEUs, CPEs, etc. offered – 90 L-CERPs, 90 Nursing Contact Hours and 90 CPE Level II. ***Edited to add: Now the same course, “Lactation Consultant Training Program Enriched” offers – 86 L-CERPs, 4 E-CERPs, 90 Nursing Contact Hours and 90 CPEUs.

Do this program’s hours meet partial or full requirements for the IBCLC exam’s lactation specific training requirement?

Yes, it meets the full 90 hour IBCLC lactation education requirement.

What did you like about the program?

  • I could set my own schedule while taking the classes. I was able to go back through any of the classes within a year period to refresh before the exam. All of the classes were online, so this worked well between raising children, working and school.
  • Prior to sitting the IBLCE exam, I retook the 90 hours in a 10 day period of time. I did not purchase any additional exam packets, etc. I felt that all the material on the IBLCE exam was covered in the 90 hour course. The company allowed me to extend the 12 months for an additional 2 months so I could review prior to exam.
  • I’m happy to say that I passed with a decent score and currently have the lovely initials IBCLC behind my name.

What did you dislike about the program?

  • A few of the topics were dry, but I don’t think that had anything to do with the educators. Merely the actual topics – they were on the exam, so a necessary evil, in my opinion.

What would you change about the program? N/A

How rigorous/time consuming did you find the program?

As stated before, I was able to finish the first time before my internship in about 2 months. The 2nd round for a refresher before the test was done much quicker.

Would you recommend this program to others?

Absolutely and have done so already. I felt it was a good value for the money and had me completely prepared for the exam.

Knowing what you know now, would you take this program again? 

Yes. It was very appropriate and a very well-respected program among IBCLCs I now know professionally.

Do you feel the course and/or certification helped you obtain your goals?

Yes. I was able to sit the exam and pass on the first try.

Does your program/credential require you to recertify? If so, how long does the credential last and what is required to recertify? I have to recertify every 5 years for the IBCLC credential. I can either retake the IBCLE exam or I can take 75 CERPs to recertify.

Would you like to write a review of a Lactation Training Program that you’ve taken? If so, don’t be shy! You can access the review form directly from Galactablog. Or directly online via Google Forms here.

See here for more information on LER’s lactation training programs, along with comparison of similar lactation training programs.

**Disclaimer – The views and opinions expressed in this review are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Galactablog. It’s important to note that these views are not the only source of information about this particular lactation training program.

Tuesdays Tips & Tricks: Knitted Breastfed Baby Poop Diaper (a.k.a. ‘Happy Knappy’) as a Teaching Tool

Photo courtesy of Philippa Pearson-Glaze, IBCLC (2017) from the website:

Do you knit? If not, perhaps you have a friend, neighbor, relative or co-worker that knits? It is definitely worth asking around (and being willing to bribe) if you do not – or perhaps using this as a perfect excuse to learn yourself – because this adorable knitted diaper demonstrating what normal breastfed baby poop looks like for the first 5 days (and in weeks 1-6 postpartum) is a great, effective teaching tool – not only for prenatal breastfeeding classes but also for home and hospital consultations you may be doing soon after birth.

I’m sure many of you have received frantic phone calls from scared, worried parents telling you their baby’s poop is black, green and/or yellow. A visual teaching aid like the ‘Happy Knappy’ not only teaches parents what to expect (and what’s normal) with regards to the color, consistency and size of an exclusively breastfed baby’s poop, but it also is an indicator if babe is getting enough milk or not, babe’s general health and how breastfeeding is going.  See Philippa Pearson-Glaze’s article, “Breastfed Baby Poop” for more detail on what exclusively breastfed baby poop should look like and how to use the ‘Happy Knappy’ as a teaching tool.

Wondering how to knit the ‘Happy Knappy’? La Leche League International has a FREE pattern here.

(courtesy of Alison Blenkinsop, 2014)

Don’t knit yourself? And you don’t know anyone who knits? Have no fear – next Tuesday’s ‘Tips & Tricks’ will feature DIY options that do NOT require any knitting whatsoever. Stay tuned.

Do you have musical talent? Want to make your clients giggle and give them a fun way to remember what normal breastfed baby poop looks like? Try singing the song, “The Five Days of Feeding” while you are demonstrating your ‘Happy Knappy.’

“The Five Days of Feeding” Song

Sung to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”

On the first day of feeding, your babe will give to you a wee and a sticky black poo.

On the second day of feeding, 
your babe will give to you
two little wees and a less sticky, thinner dark poo.

On the third day of feeding, 
your babe will give to you
three little wees, two little burpsand a big greeny-browny soft poo.

On the fourth day of feeding, 
your babe will give to you four little wees, three little farts, two little burps and a nice runny toffee-brown poo.

On the fifth day of feeding, 
your babe will give to you five bi-ig wees;
four little farts, three big burps, two overflows, and a large golden mustard-seed poo!

(Song from Alison Blenkinsop’s 2008 book Fit to Bust: A Comic Treasure Chest, chapter 5.)

Do you have a tip or trick that you think should be featured on Galactablog? If so, don’t be shy. Please share with me! You can contact me here.

FREEBIE FRIDAY: FREE Lecture & L-CERP by Nancy Mohrbacher from Gold Lactation

GOLD Learning Online Conferences is thrilled to honour IBCLCs, those aspiring-to-be and breastfeeding supporters from around the world with this free presentation from Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA.

In “A Mother’s-Eye View of Breastfeeding Help” Nancy offers us a unique opportunity to examine breastfeeding helping situations from the mother’s point of view. This lecture draws upon relevant research to help us understand how we can be both effective and empowering in our interactions.

This presentation is available online in the GOLD Learning Library. Four weeks of access time is included with this lecture, as well as the downloadable speaker handout. Upon completion, you will be awarded 1 L-CERP – all of which are FREE! Don’t miss this excellent opportunity to advance your practice and increase your skill!

Do you have something to share for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Contact me  with your ideas. I can’t wait to hear from you.

***Disclaimer: I do not get paid for any resource, product, etc. featured on Galactablog’s ‘Freebie Friday’ series. I’m just sharing free resources I think may be beneficial to lactation professionals and those aspiring-to-be. 

FREEBIE FRIDAY: FREE Bi-Weekly Newsletters from Breastfeeding Medicine

Join Galactablog for its brand-new series: FREEBIE FRIDAY! Every Friday, a new resource will be featured. And best yet, it will always be FREE. Who doesn’t love a freebie? Stay tuned.

Do you want to stay current with breastfeeding research, information, news and articles from around the world? If so, sign-up for “Briefings in Breastfeeding Medicine” – a FREE bi-weekly e-newsletters published from the editors of Breastfeeding Medicine – an evidence-based, peer-reviewed journal which provides “unparalleled peer-reviewed research, protocols, and clinical applications to ensure optimal care for mother and infant. The Journal answers the growing demand for evidence-based research and explores the immediate and long-term outcomes of breastfeeding, including its epidemiologic, physiologic, and psychological benefits. It is the exclusive source of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine protocols.”

Sign-up for the free e-newsletter here
View past archives here

Do you have something to share for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Contact me  with your ideas. I can’t wait to hear from you.

***Disclaimer: I do not get paid for any resource, product, etc. featured on Galactablog’s ‘Freebie Friday’ series. I’m just sharing free resources I think may be beneficial, helpful and/or interesting to lactation professionals and those aspiring-to-be. 

Galactablog Is Back!

purple im backDid you miss me? Have no fear. After several various (and quite serious) health trials and tribulations, I’m back.  Galactablog now has my full attention. Stay tuned for several new blog posts, including topics such as but certainly not limited to (and in no particular order):

  • What’s in a Lactation Bag?
  • Fun Lactation Education Teaching Tools & Methods
  • Scales & Weights for Lactation Professionals (and how to use them)
  • More DIY ‘how tos’ & videos
  • Helpful apps for breastfeeding families
  • Helpful apps for Lactation Professionals
  • List of recommended lactation textbooks for your office
  • Important lactation journals & organizations in the field
  • Free CEUS/CERPS & lactation training opportunities
  • FREE IBCLC exam study guides, resources and tips
  • How to get fathers/partners/supporters more involved in the breastfeeding experience and tips to share with your clients
  • Tips for domestic and foreign travel to share with your breastfeeding clients
  • Children’s books that promote breastfeeding
  • Where to access free lactation-related handouts for parents, health professionals and lactation professionals
  • Lactation Training Program Reviews – if you’d like to submit one, you can do so here
  • The development of a review form for various online and in-person IBCLC study/prep courses
  • More ‘Words from the Wise’ on life in Private Practice
  • And of course, lots of free resources, discounts for Galactablog readers and guest posts as always

Whew! And that’s just a start. Stay tuned.

If you see a topic listed above that you’re absolutely dying to write about, or you have a topic that you’d like to see addressed or you’re interested in writing a guest post, please comment below or contact me here with your ideas and we’ll go from there. I look forward to hearing from you.



2017 GOLD Online Lactation Conference – Special Discount for Galactablog Readers

Join me at GOLD Lactation 2017! As one of this year’s Speakers – tune in for my
presentation, “Contextualizing Breastfeeding in Lebanon” – I’ve been provided a special promotional code to share which for a limited time, will allow Galactablog readers to register for the event at their Early Bird pricing.

The conference runs all the way until June 2 and not only will you have access to my talk, but to that of 26 other amazing speakers. Speakers present live on scheduled days and then participants have unlimited access to the recordings throughout the conference period. It’s quite a comprehensive program with new research, clinical skills, cultural perspectives and industry discussions, plus you can interact with a vibrant professional community through live chat, forums and discussion groups.

Don’t forget about educational credits. A total of 25.5 continuing education hours will be available through the main conference and 6 hours through each of Gold’s add-on packages. Educational credits offered: 25.5 CERPs (23.5L, 2E), 25.5 CMEs, 25.5 Nursing Contact Hours / CNE’s, 2.5 MEAC Midwifery CEUs & 25.5 Dietetic CEUs.

To claim your discount, visit and register by April 30.