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Ep. 91- 2021 Breastfeeding Year in Review! (Pt. 1)

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This is Maureen Farrell and Heather ONeal and this is The Milk Minute. We’re midwives and lactation professionals bringing you the most up-to-date evidence for all things lactation. So you can feel more confident about feeding your baby, body positivity, relationships, and mental health. Plus, we laugh a little or a lot along the way.

So join us for another episode. Welcome to another episode of the Milk Minute Podcast. Guys, we’ve missed you. I know it’s only been a week, but my gosh, are we getting really attached to you. We are. And you know what, this week we thought we would spend some time looking back. Yes. What a year it’s been.

I saw very funny TikTok where people were counting down to the new year in 2020, and they jumped up and they jumped down and it was 2022. And they all looked like hell. And they were like what happened? 2021 was the lost year. And I mean, I actually had to sit down and write down some of the stuff that we actually did achieve this year, just so I can remind myself that it actually happened.

Yeah, absolutely. Okay. So we’re going to start by talking about what we’ve achieved this year and then what next year is hopefully going to look like for us, or at least give us some semblance of a direction for next year. Yeah. That’s a good idea. Okay. How, yeah. Well, you know what? You go first, Heather, because I just, from the get-go, I have to say like, I am not a goal setter.

Okay. Well maybe you should go first then, because. I feel like if I go first, then I’m going to be like, here are some lame not goals and then you’re going to go and I’m going to be like, I kind of feel bad now. Okay. But if, but if you go first and then I end it with like, not goals, I don’t know. It seems more validating for all of our listeners that are like not new year’s resolution people.

Right. These aren’t even like resolutions for me. I just like, don’t even know where I’m going in life and will end up wandering around aimlessly in a cheetah print bath robe if I don’t have some goals, I got no direction. Like I get it. It’s fine. Okay. Well, I’m not like hating on your goals. It’s just not anyway.

Go for it. You don’t know what they are yet. I might hate them. I might hate all of them. You might be in the goals, so. I’m okay with I’m okay with that. Okay. Well, let me drag you along here. So here we go. So stuff that we actually got done in 2021, let’s start there. So the Milk Minute Podcast, as you all know, this is something that we do regularly and have been doing since June of 2020.

We have to date been listened to in 92 countries and 4,405 cities. So that’s pretty awesome. Yeah, I’m into that. That’s good. I see. I have some ambitions, but I have a hard time with not meeting, like when I don’t meet goals. So like, I feel like with the podcast, I’m like, yes, I want us to grow. Do I have numbers for that? Absolutely not.

I do. Stay tuned. Of course you do. You’re like, I want us to meet these quotas. Oh, they’re not quotas. That feels like, you know, the guy in Office Space who comes by and he like wants the charts and he’s like slippage, or am I thinking of something different? I think you may have just melded two things together, but I’m not sure.

Well, you know what I mean? Cause I’m not familiar enough with like any of what you just said to verify. Go watch Office Space, but it’s been so long. He’s like, yeah, we’re going to need that by Saturday. I can’t remember when I last watched that anyway, it’s not in my 2022 goal list. Okay. So I also was going back when preparing for this episode to look at our year in review from 2020.

And just to kind of see what we were talking about. And I had mentioned that a goal of mine was to truly start Breastfeeding for Busy Moms as a business and watch it grow and get an office and actually help a lot of people. And I kinda, I didn’t mention it like this is my goal. I just kind of mentioned it and it happened, which is great.

So I have an office now and I see lots of patients and the private consults are going amazing. So I’m very excited about that. So that happened in 2021. I did lose 15 pounds depending on the time of day and if I took a poo yet or not, when I weighed myself. So that has been good for my health, which is exciting.

I completed an entire year of trauma therapy, which is great and awful. And, you know, I did it though. I mean, it’s therapy is not one of the things we were like, oh my God, I’m so excited to go. I just love hanging out there. It’s work. And I told myself that I was going to stick with it and I was going to see it through.

It’s really easy to just be like, you know what, not today, and then never go back. Yeah, absolutely. And I even tried to quit once and I was like, Hey, do you think I’m ready to quit? And she was like, Nope. I was like, all right. So we’re still going. Well, progress has been made for sure. So if anybody is struggling with anything really, or just even the, you know, the thought of showing up.

Just give yourself a little bit of a goal and give it a year and then see if it’s helped or not. And if not, then nip it, you know, be like, maybe it didn’t help and I don’t have to go back. But so that I did. And then also on a personal note, I did get my son evaluated and treated for ADHD, which has been a huge game changer.

We’re still figuring that out. There’s been a lot to learn for me, which I didn’t really expect. I mean, you think you know your kid really well, you spend time with them all day, every day, but then when you start kind of going through a more medical path, you realize how far behind you are on actually understanding what’s going on.

And it’s given me a little bit more of a perspective of like my parenting and our relationship and his future goals and how I can help him as a real person get there, which is weird because you spend all this time with them as kids just trying to keep them alive. And then at one point they turned the corner and you realize they have their own goals and it’s actually now your job to help them achieve those. So different.

You know, I had a great conversation today with my sister-in-law about helping our kids and like understanding their processing and one of her children has a lot of sensory stuff going on that she’s been on like a journey to understand. And yet sometimes it’s a real game changer when you’re like, okay.

So it’s not that the frame I had for thinking about this was bad, but like this new framework I have for understanding it is, is more helpful. Right, right. Definitely more helpful. You know, just little things that affect your everyday life that you would not think is, you would think it’s them. It’s like, oh, this is just a thing that he does.

And then you find out it’s a thing that all people with ADHD do. And you’re like, ah, thank you. Okay. Got it. I’m no longer mad. On that note. I think I might have ADHD. Really? Yeah. I’m, not to cut in on your goals, but I’ve been on a little bit more of a journey of like understanding some of my stuff lately.

I’m realizing that a lot of the things that when I was a kid that were labeled as like gifted kidsā€™ stuff, maybe we’re just like hyper-focus and yeah. Also like girls getting diagnosed is really different than boys. Like the whole diagnosis is based on boys. Anyway, it’s interesting. I’ve been like, not, I’m not married to the idea, but I’m definitely like, I’m exploring that.

I would like explore that with you. I mean, I hang out with you quite often and I mean, I would want to learn more about that because what you have going on definitely doesn’t look the same as an eight-year-old boy. No, obviously, but I mean, who doesn’t want to learn more about their BFF? Yeah. Anyway, we’ll see. If it’s not that, like, there’s something.

There’s something there that I, I need to understand better. Maybe let’s find the missing puzzle piece in 2022. Yeah. Maybe that should be my personal goal is like understanding my neural processing better. Ooh. Yeah. Is it that my brain is constantly looking for dopamine? Is that it ADHD or is it something else?

Well, I was gonna, I was going to go into a conversation about cocaine, but we’ll save that for another day. Let’s do that another day, dear. Yeah, I’ve got lots to say about that. Oh my gosh. Okay. So goals for 2022. And this includes you. So listen up Mo. I’m listening. Oh, oh man. Okay. No, you sent me notes guys.

Heather, I’m sorry. Before we get into this. So I’m like in a chaos day and Heather sends me, she’s got like an itemized list of achievements and goals. And she’s like, when you have time, you know, if you have time, add yours. And I looked at it and I was just like, Nope. I just pushed that little notification away and was like, I’m not actually going to do it. Ghosted me and left me with bated breath, waiting to see what she was going to say in this recording today.

So we’ll all find out together, I suppose. You’re hilarious, okay. And thank you for tolerating, me and my bullet points. So goals for my personal business, with Breastfeeding for Busy Moms, I would love to hire an IB CLC to work with me in my clinic so we can see four people a day between the two of us for like 200 days a year, that’s my numbers goals.

And really if we land anywhere around that, we’ll be helping a lot of people in our community. So I mean that would be like a true mark in the community. And that’s my overarching goal is to make my city a little bit better for breastfeeding and just help people out a little bit more. And then also in doing that, the business will be sustainable and that will show other people that being an IB CLC is actually a sustainable career path.

Right. And because I think that’s the reason why a lot of people are deterred from becoming lactation consultants. It’s because they are like, well, I, I love touchy feely stuff as much as the next gal, but I need to put food on the table. So trying to create a model that’s actually replicable and sustainable. That actually might be the most ambitious thing I’ve ever heard you say.

Hmm. Yeah. Well, I feel that way and I wake up every day like I swear my life isn’t bullshit and I’m going to prove it. Dude I hear you. Yeah I’m proud of you for that and I’m very supportive of that. Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate that. I would love for the podcast to get to 10,000 downloads an episode in 30 days, you know, and then eventually hit a million downloads next year.

I think we can do it. I know we can do it. These feel like big numbers, but you know what, like, okay, sure. I just, in my mind, on my vision board, I have a picture of you and me holding one of those dumb Mylar balloons that say 1 million to put on our Instagram. You know, I just think that would be fun. I feel like, you know what, if, if we hit a million downloads instead of a balloon, I want a cake that we eat with our hands like babies.

Done. Denise, our cake maker. You’re out there. Denise are you listening. Are you listening? We’re doing a cake smash. We’re doing a cake smash. Do we have to be naked and surrounded by plastic tablecloth? I’m going to say that would be taking it like a step too far, but I’m in it for the fuzzy onesies.

Okay. Okay. I’m sure Walmart will help us cover it. Well, I mean, we have time. Let’s not. Let’s not jump straight into unicorn onesies. Just saying. Okay, I want to run a 10K. Okay. I’m training for one right now. And it’s going pretty well. And my hip has held up so far, so that’s exciting. And I would like to decide on whether or not to grow my family by one more tiny human. Making the real choice. Making the real choice because I’m 34.

Right. You know, I’m not saying that you can’t have one beyond 34. Not in general, but like maybe you may not want to. I don’t want to wait too long because my daughter’s already three, my husband’s 41. You know, if I’m gonna do it, I’m gonna do it sooner. I hear you, the difference in my pregnancies between being 26 and 32 was like, huge, yeah. And I just feel like this is something that is annoyingly rumbling around in my head.

Like those you know, rocks that you’re supposed to polish as a kid that you just put it in and you just turn it over and over. You know what, as soon as you said that I was thinking of like, when like a toy from my son’s pocket makes it into the dryer and you’re just like, I don’t actually want to go fix that, but I can like hear it in every room of the house.

Yes, that is what’s in my brain all the time about, do we have another one or not? And we can get into that in a later episode because we have a lot of really awesome things to talk about today. But just so you know, that’s on my mind. If you’re going through that too, it’s definitely a weird vibe compared to your first baby where you’re like, we’re going to have a baby.

And I know we’re going to have one and I can’t wait to try and practice and dah, dah, dah, dah, and buy all the things then it’s like, by the time you get to your last baby or your third baby, you’re like, all right, are we doing this or not? Can I tell you what though? My partner and I never got to deliberately try. So the first time we were like, maybe, I don’t know, maybe we should stop like not trying. And then immediately we were pregnant like the moment I had that thought. And then, yeah, the second time we were really, really deliberately trying not to and I think, yeah possibly like the one time we’d had sex in three months, that was yep. Birth control, just failure. Right. Right. And I don’t know, like, you guys know I’m a little bit of a perfectionist at this point.

And so it’s like, I know that I screwed up some stuff with my first one and my second one. So I’m like the third one I would totally crush it! Oh, totally. I have a good friend of mine who may or may not be listening, has a larger number of children. And every time she’s like, but you know, I could do it better next time. Does she? Well about the births.

So that’s what she tells me. She’s like that birth was really good, but what if next time? Yeah. What the hell, I don’t know. Why are we like this? I’m not sure, but I’m going to let you take the mic now so tell me, tell me what, tell me a little bit about what we’ve been working on in 2021 and then if you have any goals, period.

Okay. Well let me just, I guess I’ll reflect on the year. So 2021, I birthed a human and breastfed her for approximately nine months during that year and January 23rd, 2022, is like her equal time out and in of the womb, which I kind of love, that’s like a milestone for me. So most of that happened in 2021.

So that’s awesome. And so, I don’t know, like I gestated, I birthed, I breastfed and now I have this like, baby who’s turning into a human, which just like, that feels like enough. Yeah. It is a hundred percent. It was a lot, I can attest. It was a lot; I wasn’t even pregnant and I was feeling that you were with it.

I also think unfortunately like mixture of lack of sleep and some depression stuff like I literally just can’t remember a lot of the last year and like, you know, the whole, like it’s a pandemic and today was yesterday and all of, you know, anyway. So not like really sure what happened to be honest, but I know that I did that.

Yeah. And you did a good job by the way. I mean depressed or not like that kid came out and I love her so much. And she is like the tiniest yet getting chunky little human. She’s tiny, but she also feels like she’s made of bricks. Yes. And she has the tiniest sweetest little mouth that looks like a rosebud, love it, yeah.

So she’s pretty perfect. I think I did a really good job. I feel like I have a lot of other things I did, but honestly, like I tried to think about them and I’m like, I don’t know. I could tell you what you did. Sure. Go for it. Tell me. What did I do last year, Heather? You went viral on Tik TOK twice. Yeah, I did a couple of those.

That was cool. I’ve actually been like semi enjoying Tik TOK, much to my own, like sugar in here. I try man, but like, I am so distracted by my lists and bullets of different things. I actually get more frustrated with it though cause I’ll make a video and I’m like, yes, this is the one. And then it gets like 40 views total.

And then I do one where I’m like, ah, I just kind of have to feed the algorithm, throw it up there. And like the next day it’s at like 200,000 views and I’m like, I just don’t know. Yeah, well we haven’t figured it out yet, but you know what? You freaking did it, so good job. Thank you. We also did a photo shoot, a professional photo shoot, several, by the way in 2021.

No, but I also did a pregnancy one and a breastfeeding one. I like, I don’t actually like doing those usually. You did it, you did four of them, but I did that four times in 2021. Yeah. And so I don’t know if you guys have ever considered what it’s like to try to wrangle a wildebeest into doing something it doesn’t want to do, but that’s the equivalent of what it is to get Maureen to do a photo shoot with the fancy clothes on. I had to straight up cowboy her ass into a fancy dress.

You actually had to, you had to find the dress, buy the dress, bring it to me, and then like, kind of like stare me down until I changed into it on top of a parking garage. Yes. And as I was squeezing into a pair of Spanx, you looked at me and you said you didn’t buy me any Spanx. And I looked at you and I said, I didn’t figure you would want to wear Spanx.

And you were like, true. I said, I I’m pretty sure Spanx would be against something that you stand for. And she did. She was like, yeah. I mean, it’s true. But anyway, lots of feelings happened those days. We, we did that and all those pictures, not all of them, but a lot of our favorite ones are on our new website.

Yeah. Guys. So Heather and I, we like worked our butts off and we hired somebody and we did this new website and then we kind of forgot to roll it out. Yeah. Cause we got really stressed out around the holidays. So this is our new year rollout. Go to and check it out. There’s some really funny photos, some glamorous photos.

And I don’t know, it’s just like the whole thing actually like, looks like I didn’t do it at 2:00 AM. Cause I didn’t, someone else did it. It’s great. It’s great. We worked really hard on an and you can buy our merch on there now, which is cool. So we still have our special merch just for patrons, but if you are interested in some Milk Minute gear, you can go get it on our website.

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So yeah, I’m gonna, I’m gonna move on into goals. So here’s the thing, like I am not a goal setter. I mean, I kind of am. I have a lot of ambitions in my life, but I really don’t like putting down solid goals on a timeline, because I have like some real mental breakdowns when I don’t get to those, like it’s bad. So I kind of don’t do that anymore. So what do you do? I mean, what’s your process of living? Like genuine curiosity here because I am so opposite.

Well honestly, like here’s the thing, like I go through small periods of time where I have like insane ambition and I just like set a goal and then finish it like in that time. And then I go for like weeks of doing nothing. I mean, not nothing. Like, I obviously have things I have to do, but like as far as goals and ambition and profession and whatever.

Yeah. But like, in those times where I’m like super focused and really on it, like I kind of do the work for the next like two months. And like, I’m like, here’s a goal. I’m going to finish it right now. And I don’t know that any of this is really healthy and this kind of goes back to me being like, maybe I do have ADHD.

But that’s kind of how I’ve managed like my entire life so far. Yeah. Yeah. And I have like overarching goals, but they’re more like five-year plans. It’s like, I have like the like two-week plan and the five-year plan and I’m going to be honest, there’s not a lot in between. Okay. Well, I’m curious to know what your five-year plan is.

Yeah. So I actually want to go, hmm, I don’t like saying these things out loud because I can look back and I’m like they exist. Other people know about them and I didn’t do them. You’re not going back. When have you ever gone back and looked at any of the other episodes? Never. Never. Okay. You’re right. You’re good.

But other people are listening. Okay, fine. It’s fine. I do. So I think I do actually want to level up my CLC to an IB CLC sometime in the next five years. And I do actually want to go get like a, a degree that is going to allow me to broaden my medical care. But I have a couple of different ideas about that, but I haven’t actually settled on one yet because I’m kind of like waiting to see how a few things play out in my life right now that are like really big determinants as to how possible that is.

But I want to get on a pathway for that in the next couple of years and like, find that pathway and just like set the pace and go. And you know what’s scary? Five years is like a blink. That’s weird to me. Like, how do I have an eight-year-old? You know, kids do this to you. You start thinking about your life in weird chunks of time.

I mean, and that’s kinda why I’m okay with like the five-year plan, because I’m just like, oh yeah. Like my life is just moving at a slower pace now. Yeah. Just for right now. And then it’s going to be like lightspeed and then they’re going to be in college. And then that’s when I start having mental breakdowns when I look like 25 years ago on the road.

I’m actually kind of excited about that because like, I really, I’m not thriving as a mother, to be honest. You kind of are. No, I’m a good mother. That’s not what I’m saying. Like personally, my mental health and my goals and my everything. Like that’s all suffering a lot more in motherhood than I thought it would. I feel that. And that’s okay. Like I’m, I’m managing that and I’ve come to a place where I’m like, okay. So the pace of my personal development and ambition can slow down while my children are small. And I can like, like, I think my biggest goal right now is to take the time to be with them and help create a foundation so that they’re actually like good humans.

Yeah. I think that’s probably the only goal right. For being a mother is just make sure they’re decent human beings, or at least you give them the best shot at being decent human beings because they actually, at some point have to take some responsibility over their own lives.

And that’s, that’s weird that you can’t control all of that either. Right? Every decision we make as a parent is not like a life changer for our children. Thank God. They’re still on their own path. Right? However, like I, my biggest goal right now is just to create like a secure home foundation for them, so that they have the best opportunity to be happy and to like be decent humans.

And as much as I have that, like within my power, that’s what I’m kind of focusing on. And, you know, there’s like a lot of stuff with, you know, my six-year-old who, I don’t know, maybe one day he’s going to listen to this and be like, wow, mom, that was a lot. But like, you know, I really think like he is a very like physical kind of naturally like outgoing and aggressive person.

And I, if I don’t put the time in right now to help him use that in a way that is good, like he could in fact be a really like violent person. Oh, those are some serious fears that we all have as mothers about our kids. Like, not just like the violence thing, but like I’m sure every mother, at some point has said, I’m pretty sure this kid has a sociopath, like, or a psychopath.

I mean, honestly, like they all could be, yeah. They just looked me directly in the eye and headbutted me and then smiled like this kid is not right. And I mean, again, like this is probably because I was talking to my sister-in-law today and we’re raising these children who are like much more physical than we were as kids. And we’re like, this is a genetic thing. Cause our, like, you know, we, the brothers that we married, like are just very athletic, physical, intense people.

Well, I think that all of the goals that you just talked about are totally amazing and valid. Thank you. They feel small because our society. I know. And that’s the fucked-up part, right. Is I’m sitting here like I don’t have goals. I just want to make two really great humans. Yeah. Yeah. Those are big. Yeah. That’s a big goal.

It doesn’t feel like it though cause our society’s like, well you’re not a good mother, unless you also are a CEO. So you know, and breastfeed your children, whatever. And you’re sexy and you have a good relationship, but is your Etsy store pulling in 10K per month? You know, like, I mean seriously. Are you making money while you sleep?

Anyway, okay. I think it’s good. I think we’re setting a trend, but you know, I, at this point, want to look at our, like, how did we do in 2021? What are our like kind of larger lactation goals for 2022? Like where are we going? What have we looked at? All of that. Yeah, we are going to now skip over into what happened with breastfeeding in 2021, because a lot happened.

And we’re going to tell you about it, but first I want to give a shout out. Okay. So I need to give a shout out to Mia Smith. I just loved her message that she sent on Instagram. She says, “Hi! I just wanted to say, I love the podcast. I’m a dietician in South Africa studying towards my IB CLC. Breastmilk is literally, life-saving here with a large proportion of the population not able to afford clean water or electricity.

Despite this, our exclusive breastfeeding rates are super low, about 8%. I recently listened to one of your episodes where you were talking about doctors posing as lactation consultants and giving wrong advice due to being uninformed. It’s the same with dietetics. So many doctors overstepping out of their field and then giving incorrect information. It’s so frustrating.”

And I, you know, myself as an IB CLC, totally consumed with my own profession, didn’t even stop and think about the fact that that bleeds into other professions. Oh yeah. I, at some point had looked into like how much actual nutrition education doctors get, and it’s like less than 25 hours or something.

Totally obscene. Yeah, unless they like actually seek out more. Oh yeah. And they’re yeah. So dieticians are bad-ass and we love them. Yeah. Well, this girl is bad-ass too. And they are moving to Botswana, I believe. Yeah, so, and she did say that, and I looked this up, she told me how much a lactation consult costs there.

Because I said, man, why 8%? She said, there’s lots of lactation consultants, but no one’s really utilizing them because they’re still very expensive. And I looked it up with their currency exchange and in US dollars, it’s about $50 to $75 for a visit, which, you know, I would say is cheaper than what it is here.

Right but you also have to look at cost of living there. What is that then relative to an annual income? Right. It was just very interesting to me. So if you’re in other countries and you want to share your experience as a lactation consultant with us, please do. I’m obsessed. Yeah. And we’d love to hear that. We, like this is a global issue and we really love that our listeners are global and we tend to focus on US issues.

And we’re going to do that in this episode a little bit more too, but we love to widen our understanding. Well, the beautiful thing about breastfeeding is it’s a universal language and actually a lot of what COVID did for us with breastfeeding research is bring the world together for breastfeeding again, which is fantastic.

So we will touch on that for sure. Yes. So much, so much. Okay. One more shout out. Okay. Lisa Critchfield who is a patron of ours. She sent me a message and she said, “Oh, I forgot to tell you. I was at a family function and a distant family member was like, did you know, there’s a new lactation business in Morgantown? And then we both realized we love the podcast and now we’re totally connecting more than we ever have before.”

I love that. Yes. Yeah. So Lisa lives near me too. So I need to actually like, just go visit her someday. Please do. I mean, we’ve loved hanging out with her in the live Q and A’s, but I just, I loved, first of all, thank God my marketing push worked for the new business. That made me feel good. I know that’s like the biggest affirmation you can get to just some random person who’s like I heard. Yeah. Thank God. The birdies are whispering and also yay for the podcast bringing people together. Oh yeah. And also if you are Lisa’s relative, who is, who is listening right now, please reach out to us.

Heck yeah, we want to know. Well, I, I know Heather, there’s one more story you wanted to share that I already know. And I just wanted to say listeners, I, the last, the last episode in this one, like we’re doing a lot of personal stories, but Heather and I usually like constantly talk and we have not caught up in like three weeks.

So you just have to be along for the ride. We’ll get back to like our usual 10 minutes of chit chat and questions and blah, blah, blah, but whatever. Buckle up. And there’s some other people who are like, thank God it’s not an hour of scientific information. I know. We’re here for you. Yeah. These episodes are for you.

Okay. So the last story I’m going to tell before we get into this is a redemption story. Okay. So do you guys remember several episodes back where I happened to mention that a kid in middle school used to call me Skittle tits? I remember. I might’ve mentioned him by name. Maybe first and last. First and last name because honestly it wasn’t something that was like, so egregious that I was like, torn up about it.

I, you know, but they just like stick in your mind. Those things people say they, yeah. I don’t know. You never forget them. Yeah. I mean, certainly I didn’t forget it, but I wasn’t saying it from a place of like, I’m broken and like, I hate this person or anything. It’s just like how I can remember, like Brenna Carlin was really mean to me in sixth grade.

And I’m not mad at her about it at all. Brenna, if you’re listening, I don’t, it’s fine, but I’m never going to forget that one time she was super mean to me. Well be careful because when you call people out by first and last name they find you. What happened? Did they find you? They found us. So Sam Koalic, who did give me permission this time to use his first and last name was told by a close friend, who’s a big fan of the podcast.

Shout out, thank you. By the way, she happened to mention to him, oh my God, you were totally blasted in this episode of the Milk Minute Podcast. And so I received the following message via Facebook messenger. I’m going to read it to you. Okay. Sam says, “Hey Heather. So one of my very dear friends is listening to your podcast and forwarded it to me.

Let me start this off by saying, I’m terribly sorry for the way that I treated you back in middle school. At that time I was a hundred percent, a little shit head and dealing with my own set of insecurities and I must’ve taken some of those, I must’ve taken some of those out on you. Well, not must have, I did. Body shaming women is not in my person anymore and I’ve grown so much since then. I’m not sure what else I can do to apologize, but I wanted to reach out and let you know that. I’m sorry for the pain that I caused you back in school, it was fucked up and not a good thing for me to do. I really hope that you were doing well these days.”

Well, okay. So when I saw his name pop up in my messenger, my butthole puckered, and I was like, I’m getting sued. I don’t know. This is like, this is like the me-too movement backfiring on me. Like, it wasn’t such a big deal that it’s like totally in my favor, but it could be, you know, and I was like, oh my God.

And then I opened it and this relief just like rushed over me. And I felt so warm in my heart. It was like, oh my God, it happened. Like we are closing a loop. So of course we had a great redemption, so I of course messaged him back. And I, and I did say, you know, it’s crazy that this ended up full circle. I mean, I’m not torn up about this, but it does speak volumes that you said what you did to me today.

Cause the reality is yes, most of us were a little shitheads in middle school and most of us have turned out to be like totally decent. Yeah. And then he said he followed up, you know, after I messaged him back and he said, I for sure felt compelled to reach out. If you feel compelled to say something you can on the podcast, but that doesn’t really matter to me.

And it’s totally fine that you used my name, just another lesson in life to remind me that some things stick, some things pass, but always room to try and make amends. I really hope you’re doing well these days. And it’s very, very cool that you have a podcast. Keep it up. I know my friend; Rachel is a big fan. And then he pledged $60 to our Patreon.

Thank you, Sam. I feel like now I just want to like tick down the list of bullies and see who joins Patreon. That’s not what we’re doing here, but I do. I do want to take a minute to say though, like, I think this is something that you should do if you’re like, I was like really awful to this person in school and I know how to reach them, like why not? You know, like I was just thinking like, God, I was so mean to Pam England. And like, I’m never gonna forget, like I was like mean to her in seventh grade and I feel really bad about it. Well, just, you can tell her now. Pam, Maureen’s coming for ya. I’ll let you guys know.

Okay. Should we do a question? Oh yeah, yeah. Sorry. We do have like a thing we usually do here. Yeah. It’s questions and awards and subject. Anyway, whatever. Okay. So do you want to do the question? Sure. Okay. So this is from Amanda Bernhard from Vancouver, Washington. She’s a patron and we had a very similar question from another patron Shyla.

So hopefully this helps you. Amanda says, Maureen recently answered a question for me on the Facebook group, but I have a follow-up. I asked for tips to trigger a letdown when pumping as this recently became an issue for me and baby turns one this week. Maureen suggested changing pump parts. And while they weren’t that old, I decided to give it a shot, but I’m still struggling to let down.

So my question is what do I do when pumping has become a huge source of stress and just seems to be causing my boobs to hang onto my milk for dear life. I can still sit there sometimes for 20 minutes or so before finally convincing my body to let down. A couple of times I haven’t been able to make it happen at all.

So then of course, that makes me worry about clogs and mastitis, and she says, thank you for the answer. Okay. I have something to say. Tell us. If your baby is one and you don’t want to pump anymore, don’t pump. Yeah. Not the only answer we have, but an option. That’s an option. Yeah. I mean, a lot of people get stuck in routines because you’ve just been in survival mode for so long.

And then you wake up one day and someone’s like, Hey, you don’t have to do that unless you want to. And they’re like, really? So yeah, if you don’t want to pump anymore, you probably don’t have to. You could nurse mornings and nights and weekends, if you wanted to. If for whatever reason you still do want to, you can try doing the second massage setting on your pump.

So if you have a pump that will do that, most of them do like on the Spectra. Apparently people are calling it the bacon button. Cause it looks like bacon. Did not know that until recently, but it’s like three little wiggle lines that are parallel to each other. Yeah, it looks like a bacon emoji. Yeah.

So you can just keep it on the bacon setting until your milk lets down while listening to maybe a meditation, I would encourage you to go check out our episode was it 68? We’ll link it in the show notes. But the meditation episode with Dr. Julie Brefczynski-Lewis, who actually walks you through about a 10-minute meditation to get your mindfulness in check so your stress can calm down a little. Yeah. And I actually have a hack/ ish like that we can use for this, that I’ve done with a couple of clients. So it’s really worked. So essentially this is an oxytocin regulated process. Right. And what we need to do is convince our body that like, this is a really good time where we’re relaxed, we’re happy.

You know, we want more oxygen. And if you choose one thing that, you know, gives you the warm fuzzy. So maybe it’s a comedian, maybe it’s getting a massage. Maybe it’s like listening to like ASMR triggers, you know, whatever. You know, the thing that makes you feel happy and relaxed and just gets the oxytocin flowing.

And then you use that as a routine every time you nurse or pump, because if you do it when you nurse too, and you’re not having difficulties getting let downs when you nurse, you can kind of train your body, then whenever you do that thing, it’s time for a letdown. So it’s like creating another association in that oxytocin feedback.

I like that. You’re training your brain. It’s a trigger. It’s like Pavlov’s dog. Exactly like that. I’ve had it work really well for a couple of clients and it’s also like a no harm intervention, right? Like if you put on your favorite comedian every time you nurse or pump, it’s not going to hurt you.

It’s just going to make you laugh and it’s worth a shot, you know? Or like Julie talked about in that episode, if you do like a 15 second kind of meditation prompt for yourself or a certain breathing pattern, kind of, no matter what it is, like, you know, your body best. Pick one thing and try it for a week and see how it goes.

Yeah, that’s good. Actually. I’ve never done that, but that’s a great idea. Yeah. You can also take a shower. You could try doing a warm compress or a hot shower prior to massage on your breasts. Orgasm. Anything that’s going to relax you before. Also, like, if you’re one of those people who does, I mean, I don’t know about you, but in general, people listening who are like, I relate to this problem. If you masturbate a lot, literally sometimes turning on your vibrator, like gets the oxytocin flowing. You can like, just turn it on and listen to that sound, which is hilarious, but actually can work.

I mean, let us know. I just, I have had to be really creative with some clients before. This is why I have Maureen with me because she really thinks outside of the box and I dig that. Okay. So let’s get into the episode here. Thank you, Amanda and Shyla for that question. That’s something that definitely affects everybody. Let us know if any of those methods work. Yeah, don’t have to let me know about the vibrating one, unless you want to, oh, you have to let me know. That’s a rule.

So now we’re going to look at statistics. Okay. So we have this thing that you all might not know about called the US Breastfeeding Committee and it’s pretty cool.

You know, it’s not just one of those organizations that’s like, give us your money, we’ll give you a piece of paper and now you’re official. You know, we’re officially in it. And it’s like, what do you even do? There’s like millions of professional organizations that drive me bat shit crazy that I’m not sure are even legitimate things, but this one is, and they did this very cool thing where they took all the statistics for breastfeeding from the CDC and they put them into a state report card for 2021.

And these are done every two years. So, you know, it’s pretty interesting to see, like, you don’t have to wait an entire 10 years for like the healthy people, 2020, 2030. I hate waiting for those. Yeah. And it’s, it’s just something that happens a little bit more frequently, so you can see how federal funding has affected outcomes, you know, before it’s too late. You know, we can’t reevaluate every 10 years and be like, well now no one’s breastfeeding and it’s too late to change it.

So this is pretty cool. And you know, we are in West Virginia, so I’ll just let you know, it’s not great. You know, we’re still below the national average for breastfeeding initiation. For all of our listeners in West Virginia they’re like, yeah, tell me something new. Exactly. And for everybody else in case you have missed it, when we’ve said it the reason we started this podcast is because we live in an area with very high disparities for public health, and we wanted to make an accessible health resource to put a dent in that.

Right. Exactly. So our current breastfeeding initiation rate in West Virginia is 64.8%. The US national rate is 84.1%. So, so we’re like 20% off. Yeah. And the, and we’re of course, you know, well below the healthy people, 2020 target, which was 81%, see that’s rough. Like honestly, I really understand when the like exclusive breastfeeding at X weeks and months and whatever, when that like really sharply declines, because we know the broken healthcare system does, like, we know where the support falls apart there.

Right. The low initiation rate really breaks my heart. Yeah. I mean, people don’t even want to try or they’re discouraged completely by family. That’s like a, I don’t know. I feel like that is more indicative of a need for a big cultural shift. Can I say something that might make people mad? Yeah, please.

You know how this is the whole point of this is to evaluate how interventions have worked or how they have not. So like the whole point of being baby friendly as an institution is to get people to initiate breastfeeding. Like, are we talking about baby friendly hospitals now? Yeah. So I’m curious to see, and of course, baby, I’m not telling anybody anything, baby friendly isn’t thinking.

No, we just have lots of thoughts about baby friendly here. Yeah. I just want to know like, is it actually working or is it just something that people, hospitals and other institutions are doing the bare minimum to get the status of baby friendly and then nothing else? I bet there are lots of listeners who are healthcare providers who were like, Ooh, it’s that one.

It’s that one, spoiler alert. So it’s not that baby friendly is bad. It’s just that when you make it a, a badge to put on your girl scout uniform as a hospital, instead of a program that’s truly meant to make a difference, what you get is a bare bones piece of shit that doesn’t do anything. And this is not to say that lactation consultants in hospitals aren’t working their asses off because they are, but when the entire system is against you, it’s like trying to turn the Titanic with a tiny little paddle.

It’s just, you’re swimming upstream. So shout out to the hospital lactation consultants that are working super hard. When, when you have a program like that where you don’t actually incentivize the goals, like, you know, our hospitals are pretty much like a corporate for-profit system here. Like even the like non-profit ones, I don’t know.

It’s like, that’s the system we’re working in with healthcare here. So unless you incentivize the goals of like, if you meet these breastfeeding goals, you get X, then it just doesn’t work in this system. Exactly. So we are going to put a link in the show notes for you to find your own state’s report card. Yeah. Oh, we have more things to talk about how much our state needs to do better.

Sorry I tried for positive framing there that did not work. It just tumbled out of my mouth. And I was like, nope, that was supposed to be positive and it was just disappointing. It’s fine. Anyway, I did want to plug the US Breastfeeding Committee because in addition to you know, putting that cool thing together, you can donate money to them and not join.

You can just donate because you’re a breastfeeding parent and you want things to be better because they do do a lot of legislation for breastfeeding families, which is fantastic because you always wonder, like, things should be different, but who’s actually doing something about it? They are. So, you know, for example, the United States Breastfeeding Committee wrote a letter of support this past year in 2021 for the PUMP Act, which stands for Providing Urgent Maternal Protections for nursing mothers act. And I bet you didn’t even know this was happening behind the scenes in Congress, but it did pass the house on October 22nd, 2021. And as of December 27th, it was placed on the Senate legislative calendar, with a request for a substitution of some kind by Senator Murray, from Washington state.

So if you’re from Washington state, you know, call up Senator Murray. Yeah. Call up Senator Murray and be like, just sit down. I don’t know what you’re doing. Like I, I don’t think we can even talk about senators right now. Yeah. If any, if in case any of you do not pay attention to politics, Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Senator is like the national disappointment at this moment.

So anyway, in, in every possible way. Thank you. Yeah. Okay. Sorry. So yeah, I don’t know what the substitution was. Maybe it was a good one. I don’t know, maybe call and talk to her about it. Maybe have her put a written order in so we can know what’s going on. But anyway, what this act would do is extend coverage of the existing break time for nursing mothers law to an additional 9 million workers.

So, you know, in 2010, the original law passed protecting nursing and pumping mothers at work, but it left out a lot of people the way that it was written. Yeah. So, you know, by, by changing this, it’s going to automatically provide pumping break time for 9 million people. So yes, please. That could be you, it could be you.

So we are also going to put a link in the show notes for you to click that link and it hooks you up with your state Senator and it has a prefilled in letter for you to send them. It’s it takes 30 seconds. And I really just think we should do, like every time you nurse her pump, Click that link and just send another one. That would be awesome because this is something that you could be doing for your daughter.

That can be your oxytocin trigger. And maybe, maybe so. Yeah. So if you’re, if you’re sitting there nursing your baby, imagine that baby as a hairstylist someday, who does not get to pump because they don’t qualify for the nursing mothers act. So, you know, do it for them. Okay. Well, I want to finish the breastfeeding report card.

There’s a couple more statistics that we look at, which are really interesting. So the first one is exclusive breastfeeding at six months, which is kind of like a big goal for, for most people who begin breastfeeding. And I’m going to say, nationally, we suck at this. West Virginia has 20.9% of parents who begin lactating at birth are still exclusively feeding their babies breast milk at six months. The national average is only slightly better, 25.6%. Like, are you kidding me? And I think we know why. Well, I mean, there’s so many reasons why. First of all, I’m wondering in this number, are we stopping that qualification when we introduce solids?

Because then all of the people who are introducing it at four months automatically don’t count even if they’re not formula feeding. Hmm. Even if that was like their pediatrician being like, this is the optimal time to introduce solids, which we have thoughts about, clearly. Anyway, that’s a question I have about that number.

And then also we just absolutely know things fall apart between birth and six months as far as lactation support. Yeah, the support and also you have to go back to work a lot of times and that’s when things get complicated. So that’s what I mean I don’t think people understand when they are pregnant, how complicated it actually is to direct breastfeed, pump, bottle feed, and occasionally supplement with formula if you have to.

And you know, when we look at charts that break this down into like an every three weeks statistic, or like every six weeks statistic, it becomes really clear that that 12 week point, which is a lot of people’s return to work is absolutely the drop-off. Like into the Mariana trench of breastfeeding.

Just like, yeah. And, you know, we feel like assholes sometimes cause we’re like, you can do it. You can keep nursing when you’re at work. And the other part of me is like, I get it. I get it, I mean, I get it. Like pumps suck, pumping sucks, going to work and pumping is the worst. It is just like, it, it is not, you know, my standpoint is always like, we are animals, no other animal is like, cool my baby, like should just be fed by another individual and I’m going to leave and like remove milk and then send it home with them like that. Right. And it’s fine. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go back to work. I’m just saying like, evolution has not caught up with this. No. And will it? I may probably not.

But I will say that is where Breastfeeding for Busy Moms came from, my business. Because of how complicated it is and how little support there is for people after that 12-week mark that actually know how to troubleshoot that because there’s a difference between breastfeeding triage at the hospital in the first three days and understanding how to work with people and their family dynamics and their work schedules.

And, and like some of your consults lately, Heather, have been crazy and just like highlight how insane some of this is when you see people who are like, well, I’m feeding when I’m home and then I’m pumping at work, but it’s not enough that I’m also feeding formula, but like nobody, since I’m breastfeeding, nobody told me the information about formula feeding that I needed to know.

And then it’s time to introduce solids and they’re just like, what? And also, and also I’m moving to night shift 24 hour shifts in a month. Oh. And also baby’s going to be starting daycare next month. And also my baby never naps and I’m like, oh, okay, hold on. So I just we spent two hours just talking, like getting to the problem.

We’re not even there yet. Right. So we get it guys. We get it. This is not to say that you’re failing. It’s that the system is failing. And that’s what we’re doing here is trying to be a general pain in the ass legislatively and get things put into place to help you do what you want to do. Yeah. That’s the point.

Okay. Well, we have a couple more numbers that are like, not as disappointing as that I think. Okay. So the next one is any breastfeeding at a year. So like, regardless of what else baby is eating, they’re still getting breast milk. West Virginia is 25.3%, which I think is pretty good. Honestly, the US national number is 35.3%.

Like that’s pretty good. You know, like that means that a pretty big number of people are sticking it out through all those issues somehow to still be breastfeeding. Yeah. I mean, and that’s the persistence, you know. That’s the people that are like, oh no, I’m doing this. And one in four is a lot, actually.

That’s, that’s, that’s great. Yeah. I’m really proud of you guys. I’m happy about that. The last number I sort of hate actually. So we’ll just get through it quick. So this one is babies who are being supplemented with formula at two days of age. So that’s like before most people’s milk has come in West Virginia is at 15.4%. The US national average is 19.2%. Oh, what? Golly. Ouch. You’re saying, you’re basically saying 20% of mom, baby dyads are abnormal and require medical intervention. That’s basically like saying one in four babies that you see at the hospital isn’t normal. That’s not, that can’t be. No.

Well, what I see in that number, I’m like, oh, okay. That is the failure of hospitals or 1. That is the failure of possibly prenatal lactation education and 2. Accessible lactation help within the first 48 hours of life. Yup. Yup. Well, anyway, that is your update. Go find your state’s report card in the show notes and check it out. See where you stand and see how you can help.

So guys turns out this is a two-part episode because we have so many exciting new research studies that came out that we really want to tell you about. We kind of ran out of time. Yeah. We’re going to dive deeper into the Coronavirus and breastfeeding as well as so many other new advancements with breastfeeding research in the next episode.

And we hope you guys are having a decent 2022 so far. If you need anything from us, you can email us at and of course, we would love to see you in our Patreon if you want to become a VIP. Well, this episode being two parts means we’re just going to give an extra person an award because we love you all so much.

And we think you all deserve them. Side note, if you think you deserve an award, you can email us or join our Patreon and let us know because we would be like more than happy to give you one.

Heather, did you know I have an Etsy shop? Yes, I creep on there regularly. Well, listeners, if you didn’t know out there, I have an Etsy shop with my personal artwork on there. I have stickers, posters, t-shirts, but my favorite items are my surprise mugs. I have a couple of color changing mugs featuring my little illustrations of vulvas and breasts.

And boy, are they a surprise! Especially when you give it to your boss that you do not like, and they pour hot coffee in it and labias abound. I like to give them to like my mom or dad when they visit. Pour them a cup of tea and watch their face. And really, I think everybody needs these in their home. So if you would like one for yourself or anything else that I make, you can visit that’s but with the six instead of a B. And of course that link will be in the show notes. Thanks.

Okay. So today’s award goes to Susie. She’s one of our patrons and she says, “my most recent win is mentally reframing my slacker boob, not as a shitty titty, but instead the boob that delivers fatty milk concentrate to my little guy. Makes it much easier seeing such different milk volumes between collection bottles after a pump session.”

I am all about that. Yeah. I love that so much. That was a surprise to me when you read that, I love it. It’s like she did her own compassion meditation for her slacker boob and learned how to appreciate it for what it is and love it. And what if we could do that for every part of our body? Guys, I love this. I mean, here’s the thing. Loving yourself is revolutionary.

It is a revolutionary act and doing something even as small as that, where you’re like, I used to hate the right titty and you know what? I found the good on that side. And I’m into it now. Like, fuck yeah. Susie, we’re going to give you the Titty Revolution Award. Yes, I love it. Okay. Well, we will see y’all in part two of this episode.

Thank you so much for listening to another episode of the Milk Minute Podcast. The way we changed this giant system that is not set up for lactating families is to educate ourselves, our friends, and our children. If you want to support the podcast and if you want to get behind the scenes videos, cool merch, stuff like that you can join us on Patreon at It’s been a Milk Minute and it’s been a pleasure. We love y’all. Bye-bye.


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