Freebie Friday: “Lactation Business Coaching with Annie & Leah: Launching your Lactation Business” (Free Podcast)

Annie Frisbie, IBCLC, creator of  Paperless Private Practice and author of IBCLC Private Practice Essential Toolkit and Leah Jolly, BA, IBCLC, RLC  with Bay Area Breastfeeding are offering their Lactation Business Coaching podcast for free. Yup you read that right, it’s FREE! 

Click here to listen to Episode 1. If you prefer to go through iTunes directly, you can find the podcast here. Annie and Leah are a have a great rapport. They are a joy to listen to. I think they need their own reality show! I can’t wait for Episode 2.

Annie and Leah welcome your questions, comments and even ideas for future podcast topics here (or you can leave a comment on their show page). Reviews on iTunes are also welcome. You can find them on Facebook too!

Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Share it with Galactablog – you will be given full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer to Galactablog readers, let us know. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration. You can contact us here or email: 


Freebie Friday: FREE Live Training: “How to Practice your Passion & Build a Thriving Business” by Jacqueline Kincer, IBCLC

Jacqueline Kincer, IBCLC, COMS & Success Coach

It’s Freebie Friday time – only a bit early because I didn’t want you to miss out on this fantastic opportunity! If you’re in private practice or thinking about going into private practice, then this is your lucky day because Jacqueline Kincer, IBCLC, COMS & Success Coach is offering a FREE training on how you can not only grow your private lactation practice but make it thrive (even if you have no business background or experience whatsoever). Yup you read that right, it’s FREE.

So don’t miss out because it’s TODAY: Thursday, September 13, 2018 at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern (USA time-zones, see here to convert to your local time if you reside outside of the USA). Click here to sign-up.

If you’d like to find out more about Jacqueline Kincer, IBCLC, COMS & Success Coach, you can find her at:

Facebook      Instagram     Website

FREEBIE FRIDAY: Get organized with a FREE ‘Private Practice Workbook’ from Annie Frisbie, IBCLC

If you’re anything like me, you’ll try anything to control the clutter and chaos in your life. Organization isn’t just good business sense, evidence shows that being organized offers several physical and mental benefits as well, in addition to lowering your risk of a heart attack. For me, organization equals a happy heart – and better yet – a more organized lactation practice that allows me to give more of my time and energy to my clients.

Annie Frisbie, IBCLC & Author

So if you’re living in a state of clutter, ‘organized chaos’ or even if you think you’ve gotten this whole organization thing down, check out this week’s Freebie Friday courtesy of Annie Frisbie, IBCLC and author of Paperless Private Practice for the IBCLCandIBCLC Private Practice: From Start to Strong  This time she is graciously offering a FREE ‘Private Practice Workbook’ for FREE! Just click here to download it. That’s it. Easy peasy.

If you weren’t aware, Annie has also created an affiliated private Facebook group that you can join, ask questions and see what other Lactation Professionals are up to. You can join here. Thanks a bunch Annie! And to everyone out there, happy Friday!

If you’re interested in seeing what else Annie is up to, find her at:


Do you have an idea for FREEBIE FRIDAY? Don’t be shy! Please share – I promise to give you full credit. If you’re a company, private practice, NGO, etc. and have a FREE opportunity or item to offer to Galactablog readers, please drop me a line. As long as you are WHO Code Compliant, you’ll be given full consideration. You can contact me here or email me at: I look forward to hearing from you. Cheers, xx

Words from the Wise: Do’s & Don’ts of Running a Private Lactation Practice

Guest Post By Brandy Walters, BBA, IBCLC, RLC   Brandy 2

In private practice, you are vulnerable. You are entering someone else’s home that you’ve never been to before. They may know about you, what you look like, about your family and more through your website or business Facebook page; however, you know nothing about them, except that they have a baby.  Just like in your mothering, listen to your instincts.  Google the address you are heading to BEFORE the day of the consult – not on your way there. If you have any sort of “funny feeling” you can say no. This is a relationship you are beginning and you have half of the say.

Blank and DOs and DON'Ts memo papers attached with green and pink pins.

  • Do not go to a home of someone you have not talked with. If you have only spoken with a male, never heard a mother’s voice or had all contact via text with a male, don’t go to the home. I did this once.  Exactly once.  I called the midwife I was working with and told her my mistake. She said to keep my phone in my hand with 911 dialed and my finger on Send OR simply cancel the appointment.  When I arrived at the condo, there was construction on the front so a large piece of plastic was over the door. A male answered the door and to the left of the door were three pairs of men’s shoes. I insisted he go up the stairs first and my heart stopped pounding when I saw a baby swing. I should not have put myself into that position.
  • Do not go to a home you feel weird about, have a funny vibe about or just plain do not want to go to.  You reserve the right to not service a client. Listen to yourself, your instincts and heart.
  • Do not say yes to someone you should say no to. You can say no to clients just like they can say no to you.
  • Do not leave yourself in an uncomfortable position. I had a client who laughed when I was finishing our very long 2.5 hour consult when I told her I would need my fee and needed to finish with her for the day. She said, “You expect payment?!” I responded, “Yes, we discussed it over the phone and my fee is $XXX.” She replied, “You get paid through the hospital, they sent you here.” I reminded her I was not from the hospital or affiliated in anyway with the hospital. She did write me a check and I deposited it immediately.
  • Do not go to the hospital as a private IBCLC. You don’t have privileges there. You don’t belong there. Your role is in home support.

    Do not talk about your family, your kids, your schedule, your breastfeeding experience. None of that matters. This is about the mother. The very needy mother in front of you, not you. If she asks, keep your answers simple. How many kids do you have? 3 boys. How long did you nurse your boys? Over a year each. Quickly bring the subject back to her: What is your breastfeeding goal?

Blank and DOs and DON'Ts memo papers attached with green and pink pins.

  • Do wear a name tag when you get out of the car before you enter a client’s house.
  • Do introduce yourself the minute the client answers the door.  Acknowledge everyone in the room including grandparents and especially a dad. Do use everyone’s name while talking to them, including the baby’s.
  • Do have the client sign a consent form first. Every time you see her. Every client you see.
  • Do give the parents a receipt for payment and any health reimbursement forms they can submit for possible reimbursement for your services. Any time our lactation codes get in front of the insurance companies, it is an opportunity.
  • Do wear business casual WASHABLE clothes. Jeans or shorts are not appropriate. Present yourself as a business person. But be sure everything you wear can be washed due to dog hair, baby spit, baby poop, baby drool and mommy tears. wash hands
  • Do wash your hands before touching the baby!
  • Do have boundaries and KEEP them. If you decide you don’t take texts or phone calls after 8 pm, do not take a call at 8:05 pm. If you don’t work on Sundays, do not do doctor reports or go over your finances.
  • Do go on online support/help forums, Facebook pages of La Leche League, birth worker groups and such. You can get referrals this way, learn about midwives in your area and develop relationships with the people you need for referrals.

But Do NOT get anxious, nervous and distraught if you see YOUR clients reaching out for more help other than yours. Social media is a means for mothers to get support. Some mothers need a lot of support and from different sources. Do NOT question your ability if she wants another opinion or reaches out for more ideas. Just know the ONE negative comment can hurt more than three referrals or satisfied clients.

  • Do take a vacation. Change your voice mail message, and put on your vacation responder on your email. If you are lucky enough to have another IBCLC in the area you can trust, ask her if you can refer people to her for that time and leave her number on your voicemail. Birth workers give and give and give. We need to  take a break and to recharge too.
  • Do continue your education. Either through CERPS or individual study, it is important to stay up-to-date in our field. Connect with other professionals and learn from them. Enroll in online breastfeeding conferences such as iLactation and Gold Lactation.  

Brandy Walters, BBA, IBCLC runs In Home Lactation Specialists, LLC. Look for her on Facebook. Stay tuned for part 4 coming soon.

Are you a lactation specialist (of any kind) in private practice? Consider sharing your experience – tips, lessons learned, do’s and don’ts, challenges, etc. in Galactablog’s “Words from the Wise” series. Contact us here or at

Words from the Wise: Why I do What I do – Private Practice Lactation

maryGuest Post by Mary Unangst, BS, IBCLC

My name is Mary Unangst and I am an IBCLC in private practice in Tampa, Florida. I own Sweet Songs Breastfeeding, LLC. I see women one-on-one in the comfort of their homes providing breastfeeding support and lactation management. Up until recently I was hosting a weekly support group. The women that attend are a joy to be around and many friendships have already been forged. I enjoy teaching breastfeeding classes, but I’ve only taught a handful and most were while I was employed with WIC (prior to becoming an IBCLC) as a peer counselor.

My Motivation

I was inspired to start this career, I think like many other lactation professionals, after a difficult experience nursing my first. My birth didn’t go as planned and then breastfeeding was incredibly challenging and painful. My world was completely upside down. I credit my (eventual) success in part to my supportive husband, but also to the wonderful IBCLCs who saw me several times a week for the first few weeks. I knew from that point on that I wanted to help other women achieve breastfeeding success and reach their personal goals. If breastfeeding meant so much to me as a woman and a mother, then it surely meant that to others. My passion was born!

My Background

My background is actually in linguistics. I served in the Air Force for 10 years before moving onto become a lactation consultant. It’s with that background that I come to this field. I enjoy adhering to the evidence-based research that is necessary to provide good care and I see myself, much like in a military community, as part of a larger female tribe. I get a lot from empowering women on their motherhood journey. I went from peer mentor, to CLC, to ALC and then eventually completed my Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Maternal Child Health, majoring in human lactation through Union Institute and University and passed the exam to become an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) shortly thereafter.

My Private Practice Challenges

  • Marketing – It’s expensive and time-consuming, but a very necessary part to a thriving business. As the months pass, I’ve learned to make marketing and advertising a priority.
  • Google continues to be my biggest source for clients so maintaining an updated and captivating website with good SEO has paid off.
  • Insurance companies and their interpretation of the Affordable Care Act is another struggle. I offer superbills to mothers for reimbursement, but it unfortunately doesn’t always happen. I’m lucky enough to contract with another lactation company (more detail below) so I can see Aetna clients for multiple visits at no out-of-pocket cost to mom.

The biggest challenge for me as of late is finding a work-life balance. I feel a real sense of urgency to help the moms that contact me. They are often in excruciating pain and on the brink of quitting breastfeeding. I have to remember that my first commitment is to my family (I have two small children and an amazing and supportive husband) and only after my family commitments are met can I then shift my focus to work. It’s taking time, but I’m getting there.

My Advice 

  • Know the needs of your target audience I find that women tend to prefer an in-home lactation visit, especially in the early postpartum weeks. So most of the help we provide to women is one-on-one in the comfort of their own homes.
  • Fill a need in your community – In addition to in-home visits, we did hold office space as well. In fact, we were considered the first and only free-standing outpatient breastfeeding clinic! We started out by renting an office space in a prenatal wellness center (offering prenatal yoga, acupuncture, massage and chiropractic care) for a 3 month trial period. I shared the space with my colleague, Trish, so we split the rent – making it quite affordable.  We didn’t hold office hours, but instead saw clients by appointment only.
  • Network! Network! Network! When we moved to Tampa three years ago, I hit the ground running. I attended breastfeeding seminars, conferences and starting networking with others in the field as much as possible even though I had not established my business yet. Fast forward to today and I think the connections I made are really paying off. I recently (and officially) added my friend and colleague, Trish Hanning to my business. She is an experienced and passionate lactation consultant with nearly a decade in the field. It has been incredible to have her as a mentor and a partner. I actually met her when I interned under her at the hospital her in Tampa. And, you know what? After I started my private practice business, she called me to ask if we could work together!
  • Collaborate and establish relationships with other professionals in your field – When Trish and I joined forces, she was already contracting for another lactation consultant (someone I had met through a shadowing program three years ago). After a few months of us working together, our client load was increasing.  The next thing I know this other lactation consultant was calling to ask me if I would be interested in contracting for her as well! Trish recommended me to her and she was impressed with the work I had already done in the community. As a midwife and IBCLC she was able to become a preferred provider for a couple insurance companies and now as an independent contractor for her I can see those insurance clients as well and she signs off as the supervising physician.
  • Don’t be afraid to DIY – When I first set up my business, I designed and purchased business cards for my clients. I also designed larger post cards to disseminate at expos, pediatric offices and birth centers. I have found that most of my business is generated from women simply searching Google for lactation help in our city. I also designed my website myself using Wix. It was tedious work, but not terribly difficult. I enjoy having the control to tweak it as I see necessary (new services, offers, updated pictures, etc.). I have gotten positive feedback from my clients saying the site is cute and easy to use.

My biggest piece of advice for anyone entering the lactation field would be to get involved in your breastfeeding community; whatever that means for your location. Find mentors, be a mentor, make change and make a difference. This is a group effort; we don’t all know everything! I truly enjoy what I do and I’m grateful every day that I am able to do it!

This is a guest post from Mary Unangst, BS, IBCLC.  She runs Sweet Song Breastfeeding, LLC in Tampa Bay, FL. You can find her on Facebook here.

Are you a lactation specialist (of any kind) in private practice? Consider sharing your experience – tips, lessons learned, challenges, etc. in Galactablog’s “Words from the Wise” series. Contact us here or at


Words from the Wise: The nitty gritty of starting your own private lactation practice


Guest Post By Brandy Walters, BBA, IBCLC   Brandy 2

I want to begin by giving a ton of credit to La Leche League (LLL)La Leche League is the gold standard in breastfeeding peer support groups much like a specialist achieving the IBCLC credentials is the gold standard of lactation support. I was a LLL Leader for 10 years, including some time after I became an IBCLC. La Leche League helped me learn how to mother through breastfeeding. I went to a meeting every single month for three months with my first son and left the meetings thinking: “Ok! I can do this for one more month, so I can get to the next meeting. They were my life line.” But what LLL does in addition is help empower mothers – this is the coolest part of the organization to me. La Leche League is the core of my counseling and how I practice.

Read! Read! Read! – To dig deeper into the Art of Private Practice, I always refer back to The Lactation Consultant in Private Practice: The ABCs of Getting9780763710378 Started by Linda J. Smith. Linda knows what she is talking about. The book is a bit outdated as our world is more tech-savy now. In reality, I text mothers more than I talk to them. There has been talk of Face Timing, though I haven’t established the virtual video chat connection yet in my practice. I don’t however, charge for the extra communication. Any texting, phone calls or emails after the initial consult is included in my one-time fee. I don’t charge by the hour.

The Importance of Follow-up – 75% of my job is playing the role of cheerleader.  In order to maintain personal boundaries, I don’t answer texts after a certain time at night, though I do answer calls and texts every single day – even on Sundays. Boundaries are important! If you are not able to take a mother’s call because you are on the soccer field and you couldn’t possibly hear her, then call her back when you are able to give her ample time, energy and attention.

Making a Connection – I mentioned in a previous post about getting in touch with Pediatricians and Ob/Gyns in your area. You may ask how to do this! Well, this means making muffins, delivering flowers and walking in with a hand full of business cards or pamphlets and leaving them for the office staff (just like drug representatives do every day). I recommend repeating this during a random holiday and again during World Breastfeeding Week. Establish a relationship. Bring them lunch. Offer free breastfeeding classes to their staff during lunch. Get in front of your audience and those you want to refer your services.

Connect with birth groups, support groups, childbirth classes, maternity stores, birth and postpartum doulas, local hospitals and hospital-based IBCLCs, online forums and anyone birth related.  These people and groups ARE your referrals. Your business thrives on referrals. Send thank you notes for referrals in the mail – the old fashioned way. Give a shout out to groups on Facebook for referrals. Constantly thank the people who give you work.

How do I know who to connect with? Get out an old fashioned paper map, decide on your service area and which Pediatricians and Ob/Gyns to approach. Check out for other private practice IBCLCs in the area and connect with them. Territory is important and if you are in an area that already has an established IBCLC, approach her first before putting out your business sign. It is important to have a community you can rely on when you are on vacation. It is important to have someone you can refer to. It is important not to fight for a service area with a reputable established IBCLC. You can be an asset to her too!

Choose the Right Name –  I wanted people to know what I do. I wanted a mom to say, this lactation consultant comes to me and helps me with breastfeeding. I wanted a logo that made sense. I didn’t want to pay $200 to someone to make it. I had help and input from my husband. My goal with the S at the end of In Home Lactation SpecialistS, LLC has always been to hire more IBCLCs who go out and do the hands-on work. I think young women relate best to other young women. As I age, I hope to hand the day-to-day hands-on work to the lactation consultants I hire to do what work I do currently.

I will be very picky about IBCLCs I hire. La Leche League is my history and shaped me into the IBCLC I am. I tend to share the same philosophy as Leaders I work with. Two local LLL groups in my area refer to me with technical cases and those that are outside their scope. I appreciate the clients and the business for sure.

But what I value the most from the relationship is the reciprocal respect. I value what LLL  gives every breastfeeding mother. I am not in competition with LLL. This organization does an amazing job supporting mothers. I appreciate what they can give. I don’t want to be going on home consultations when I am 50 years old. This means I have 8 short years to foster a relationship with good solid private practice IBCLCs AND grow them within my business.

The Wrap-Up  – Like mothering, you need to do what works best for you, your family AND your business. This type of work can be flexible, but I do work weekends and nights in the summer so I can be home most of the day when my kids are home. This work is repetitive – do you know how many times in a consult I explain supply and demand? This work is all-encompassing when you have a mother you know would stand on her head if that would fix her problem yet you just can’t seem to put your finger on that one thing that will help her. How I run my business, facilitate my business and grow my business will not be the same as how you will. But that’s okay! This is your business. Figure out what works best for you and go with it.

Brandy Walters, BBA, IBCLC runs In Home Lactation Specialists, LLC. Look for her on Facebook Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon.

Are you a lactation specialist (of any kind) in private practice? Consider sharing your experience – tips, lessons learned, do’s and don’ts, challenges, etc. in Galactablog’s “Words from the Wise” series. Contact us here or at

Words from the Wise: The 5 Essential Tips to Starting Your Own Private Lactation Practice


Guest Post By Brandy Walters, BBA, IBCLC 

Brandy 2

I run what I consider a successful yet part-time private lactation practice called In Home Lactation Specialists, LLC. That being said, I am currently working on hiring IBCLCs that do the same consulting I do to cover more service area. I adore my job and truly know that it is my calling in life. However, I am also called to be a Lutheran Pastor’s wife, soccer mom to three growing boys and woman of interest. As such, my private practice is part-time and thus my income is too.

I currently live in Troy, Michigan which is a middle class suburb 8 miles north of Detroit. I am one of about three IBCLCs who are in private practice in my surrounding area. My service area includes all of Oakland County and surrounding cities. I do not have an office. I visit every mother where she is most comfortable – in her own home. I would see more mothers if I did have a central office but I wouldn’t be doing my job well or in the way that I am marketing myself.  I travel no further than 30 miles one way from my home. I can see 3-4 families in their homes in one day, a very busy crazy day. Before we moved here five years ago, I started my business in Fredericksburg, Virginia which is less populated. The demand was minimal for my job.  I am not an RN, nor did I want to be one, and that was my first barrier to work in a hospital setting. I needed to find my niche. And in Troy, Michigan I did.

The following are things that I learned are necessary components of a successful private lactation practice:

Let me first start by saying:  I am not able to serve as a mentor to anyone sitting for the IBCLC exam, wanting to start their own private practice, needing clinical hours, or be a shadow. The work I do is flexible for my family and the families I work with. I get weekly inquiries about what I do and how I do it and I tell everyone step one is to become IBCLC certified. So, step 1 is:

  1. Become IBCLC certified. Check out the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) – the actual international board that accredits lactation consultant and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) for more information. See here for a detailed explanation by ILCA of what an IBCLC is.
  1. Charge a legitimate fee and stick to it. Research the area you live in and set a price. Talk to other IBCLCs already established in the area. Poll forums on line. You need to know what your mothers will be willing and able to pay. You put in a lot of time to be certified, you should charge for that knowledge and time. You are valuable. Decide if and what you should charge for a visit, an hour, travel time, follow-ups, emails and texts. You will
    Brandy 1

    Katey with Baby Beck – together with Brandy’s help, they continued to breastfeed for 20 months.

    need to decide what works for you and the area you are serving. I charge by visit and my consults are usually no longer than 1.5 hours – babies and moms work hard when I am with them. And in private practice, you need clear boundaries to be a good support to mothers but not let every mom be all consuming to your mind and move into your family or off time.

  1. Read The Lactation Consultant in Private Practice: The ABCs of Getting9780763710378 Started by Linda J. Smith and get to work. The book may be dated but honestly, it is really really good stuff. READ IT. LEARN IT. Mine is folded, highlighted and used to its fullest. I pulled it out the other day to review a couple things.
  1. Make yourself known to the people who matter. I cannot stress enough how very important it is to get your name, business and what you do into the hands of those who refer you: PEDIATRICIANS and OB/GYNs! Everyone likes mail, the kind that shows up on paper in the form of a card or letter in the mailbox. Personalize your letter to everyone you want to know you. Then, walk into those offices like a pharmaceutical representative. Introduce yourself; bring flowers or goodies and plenty of business cards to leave behind.
  1. Business Basics. Of course, you need the business basics: your name, branding, website, social media, to establish an LLC, get an Employer Identification Number (EIN) from the IRS, open a SEPARATE business checking account than your family’s and apply for your NPI. Order your business cards, postcards and marketing stuff. (I use VistaPrint). That is all business related and necessary. But don’t get hung up on it and don’t spend a lot of money on it. Get a scale, but not the best on the market. Women trust stepping on scales and then stepping on the scales with their babies in arms if they are worried about their baby’s weight. You do not need the $600 scale. Figure out how you will keep track of your clients. However, it doesn’t have to be electronic, an app or complicated. Find out what works for you and use it. I use Excel to keep track of how many clients I serve monthly and yearly, how much I charged, how many miles I drove and who referred them.

It is a whirlwind, I know and this is just the tip of the iceberg for the successful private practice. Stay tuned for more tips in part 2!

This is a guest post from Brandy Walters, BBA, IBCLC, she runs In Home Lactation Specialists, LLC. You can find her on Facebook here. Look for part 2 coming soon.

Are you a lactation specialist (of any kind) in private practice? Consider sharing your experience – tips, lessons learned, challenges, etc. in Galactablog’s “Words from the Wise” series. Contact us here or at