One of many, many things I love about this work is when I meet someone new and they ask me what I do (unless they already know what my husband does for work; then they almost never ask me what I do. Which tells me we have a lot of work to do around expectations of women and work and spouses. But that's another ranty post for another day, I guess). I love getting asked what I do because when I take a second to think about it, I feel so full of possibility and I can feel my eyes start to sparkle. I probably look like a wild-eyed, slightly frightening person, but I can't help it. After many years of working in a couple of almost-right careers, I'm in one that sets my soul on fire and makes my heart sing. Helping new and expectant parents find their way in this messy, harsh, judgmental world is what I'm called to do. And it's amazing doing this work alongside Lindsay, someone who feels that call the way I do and who is truly committed to lifting other women up and walking beside them with compassion and love.
And when we get together, usually at Lindsay's house in Kingston, we scheme. Often, my youngest and her youngest are playing together while we dream up ways to transform the world and then scale them back into slightly-more-manageable action plans.
Our latest action plan is to change up our birth doula service a little bit. Now, don't panic; you will still get all the amazing love, care, communication, and support that Lindsay has always offered as the amazing doula that she is. What's changing is that we've decided to include an in-home lactation visit, along with unlimited lactation support via phone and email, in every doula package. If you are planning to breastfeed on the Cape or the South shore, you may already know how valuable that support is, even if everything goes well. Having someone come to your house, weigh your baby, assess the latch to help it be as comfortable as possible, help you figure out that your baby is getting plenty of milk (or working with you to make a plan if they're not), and answering any and all questions you might have, is enormously valuable.
I know that some of you are reading this and jumping for joy because it's really exciting to get that extra support, and I know that some of you are thinking "but.... what about birth-givers who don't want to breastfeed?" And here's what I want to say to that: you will still benefit enormously from having an in-home lactation visit. I can promise every single person that we work with that we will never judge your choice. We will answer your questions with evidence-based information and help you make the best informed decision for you, whatever that might be. And then we'll support you through it. Because, the thing is: your body doesn't know you're not going to breastfeed. After you give birth, there is already colostrum, or the 'first milk' waiting. If you're more than halfway through your pregnancy, it's already there, just waiting for your baby to be born. And once the baby and the placenta come out, your body gets ready to change over to mature milk. Around the third day after your baby is born, your breasts will start making mature milk, whether you breastfeed or not. And either way, it can get uncomfortable. If you don't want to breastfeed, there is a lot of bad advice out there about how to manage that fullness and swelling of the breasts, and I've seen folks have a lot of unnecessary pain and complications from not knowing how to dry up their milk as comfortably as possible. And let's be honest: bottle feeding families also have lots of questions about how to feed their baby safely, lovingly, and appropriately. They deserve good information and support.
And all of that is why we've decided to include this with every birth Lindsay attends as a doula on the South Shore, Cape Cod, or in Boston: because you, as a birth-giver, deserve to have complete and appropriate care. You shouldn't have to pick and choose, you should just get the highest standard of care. It's what we believe in. It's what we do. <3
And we always like to let folks know that we understand that hiring a doula is a substantial investment your birth experience. We want to make it as accessible as possible, so we are happy to offer payment plans. Read more here.
Liz Libby is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and Certified Lactation Counselor, as well as a CAPPA Certified Childbirth Educator. She lives in Brewster with her wild boys and a dog. Find her at firstname.lastname@example.org