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Ep. 203 – Is Breast Best? Interview with Victoria Facelli, IBCLC, Author of Feed the Baby

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*We apologize for any typos, misspellings or incorrect grammar. Our transcript is auto-generated by software that’s trying its best, just like all of us.*

Maureen: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Milk Minute. 

Heather: Welcome, welcome, everybody. We have a very special guest today. I know we always say that, but we really mean it this time.

Maureen: We really mean it. Also, we really mean it every time, because these are the most badass people on the whole planet that we’re just bringing to your ears every week.

Heather: Yeah. Did you even know that there were this many people that cared about breastfeeding so much? 

Maureen: Honestly, before we started this, I didn’t.

Heather: I didn’t either. It keeps blowing my mind every time we have another interview where I’m like, holy shit, like, not only does that person exist, but they’re making changes.
Like, what?

Maureen: I know. Well. I’m excited for this. So there’s some backstory to this guest. So one of my very best friends, local to me, Bryce, who is a fellow mother and you know, her, her partner has been a friend of mine for a long time too. And she, Randomly, I don’t know how, has two other BFFs who are IBCLCs, and just recently, you know, a couple months ago, she like plops this book on the table and she’s like, here, I got this for you.

My friend wrote a book and I think you’re going to like it. And I was like, all right, great, whatever. Thanks, Bryce. Love it. And she’s like, you know, you have a new office. We’re just going to donate this to the library. It was so great. And so I didn’t really think much about it, but I was like, sure, I’ll look through it.

No big deal. And then I started reading this book and I was like, holy shit, this is the book we want to write. This is like, this is the one Heather and I wanted to write, but somebody wrote it. 

Heather: Thank God. Cause I don’t think we can write a book right now. I’m so busy. We do, but like someday. When I’m living at the beach in Naples with my cup of coffee and my linen pants, then I will write this book.

Well, a different book. 

Maureen: When we’re done with human babies, we can make paper babies. Yes. Because that’s what writing books are like, man, it takes years. So anyway, so we got the author of the book called Feed the Baby on the podcast today Victoria Facelli, and she is an IBCLC who is just, Honestly, an all-around badass.

Okay. And one of the things that makes her book kind of revolutionary is that she actually like talks about formula feeding and lots of like basically every feeding method under the sun and presents them all equally. And it’s pretty incredible. She lives and works in Durham, North Carolina. And she, you know, decided based on not only her own experiences, but just her experiences with her patients to write an inclusive guide to nursing and bottle feeding and everything in between.

This book it walks you through how to feed your baby. Step by step, super clear writing, amazing illustrations, and there are videos that go with the book. The book has dozens of videos for all the things that you would read and think, wow, I can’t really visualize how to do that. Guess what?

Heather: Shari took care of that for you.

I’m so glad she did this so we don’t have to. I mean, seriously, I can’t say it enough. And, and having a resource where you read it and cover to cover, you’re like, yep, yep. And so, usually when I give a resource, I’m like, here’s this great resource, caveat, there’s this one section that I don’t really love, or it’s not that inclusive, so if you can ignore that, you know, the rest of the info is pretty good.

No, she just nailed it. So, good job, Victoria. 

Maureen: Yeah, so I’m super thrilled to talk to her because also she’s like an incredibly engaging speaker and super fun to talk to and just honestly, like, has some revolutionary ideas and how to bring us, you know, forward together as parents who breastfeed and formula feed and bottle feed and all of that.

Heather: Yep. All right, well, let’s take a second and thank some patrons who have been so patiently waiting to hear their name on air. And then we’ll jump into the episode with Victoria. Okay, 

Maureen: so a big thank you to Lauren Phyllis, Hannah, Elizabeth Grimes, Jane Corbin, Megan Rogers, Caitlin Lay, Elise Harley, Mary Yoder, Andrea Abbott, Linda Wan, Emily, Megan Morgle, and Beth Breeding.

Thank you all. Thank you so much for joining our Patreon. We truly could not do this project without you. Y’all made it possible for Heather to have maternity leave, for us to take a little break, and to come right back and bring you the content you want to hear. Yeah, 

Heather: we really appreciate it. And this project definitely would not be sustainable without you.
So, shout out to you all. 

Maureen: All right. Well, let’s take a little break. And then when we get back, we’re going to hop right into the interview with Victoria and I just, I’m so excited.

Heather: Me too.
Imagine a world where you seek lactation care and it’s easy and someone greets you at the door and they’re nice to you. And they give you a hot cup of tea and let you sit on the couch and talk about all the issues, not just the breastfeeding issues. What a cozy 

Maureen: fantasy. Is there anywhere that’s 

Heather: real? Oh, it’s real, girl.

It’s real. And I’ve been building it for quite a long time. My business is called Breastfeeding for Busy Moms, and me and every member of my team are trained in our three major tenets, which is accessibility, kindness, and empathy. 

Maureen: If you want to book a consult with Heather or anyone else on her team, you should head over to 

Heather: We do accept some limited insurance and we’d be happy to walk you through it if you want to give us a call. And that number’s on Google. 

Maureen: So go sit on the cozy couch with Heather at Breastfeeding for Busy Moms. Love you guys.

Welcome, Victoria. Thank you so much for coming on the show. Would you mind introducing yourself to our listeners just briefly and giving us a little bit of context for how you found yourself the author of this amazing book? 

Victoria Facelli: I’m so glad to be here. I’m Victoria Facelli. I’m a postpartum doula formerly, and now IBCLC.

And I, how did I find myself here? That’s a good question. My background is actually in communications and performance. That’s what I love to do. And I, like nannying was always a good compliment to that. And then I sort of wanted to become, like, I was just always curious about this space after birth and sort of this transition into parenting.

And so I became a postpartum doula. And that was really, really wonderful work. And because I’m someone who likes problem solving and likes sort of curious puzzles, I found myself really interested in the lactation part of that. And because I have this background in communication, I was finding ways to explain things that were difficult for other people to explain.

And so I had sort of like codified some of the things, of the ways that I like to talk about things. And went through an IBCLC program at the University of North Carolina. And within that was doing my clinical work in out of hospital birth centers, outpatient inpatient NICUs, kind of all across that spectrum, small community hospitals.

And really got this wonderful taste of a full spectrum of that work. And then I ran my own practice for a little bit and then had my baby with a bit of a full on life catastrophe there. I had a traumatic birth, which was, I will say, very well attended by midwives who were doing a great job responding to the realities of birth.

And The reality of birth is that sometimes it is the ocean and it will take you. And I hit particularly choppy waters. And so after a pretty rough NICU stay and some very significant perinatal mood disorders and such home with my kiddo, then this little pandemic of ours rolled up. So it had been A hard three years leading into that and I had sort of left practice mostly to be home with my daughter and really focus on her care.

And then when things shut down, my therapist who had been helping me with my birth PTSD was like, it’s time for you to do something that’s not about your kid. And so I was lucky enough to connect with a literary agent and start to write down some of these ideas and scripts and sort of ways that I had found to communicate about feeding babies and started writing those down and because she had needed this book when she was having her first and was expecting her second and she was excited to represent me and so here we are three years later.

It turns out books have a very long gestation time. They’re like elephants. It’s a whole thing.

Heather: Oh my goodness. Well, do you think that you would have written this book if you didn’t have such a hard time with your personal experience? 

Victoria Facelli: You know, if I did, it would have been a really different book. The book is very much part memoir for me.

It really comes from my heart. But also, I Unlocked one of, one of the gifts of the incredible trauma and difficulty that I went through Is my lactation superpower Because we do have We’re, we’re sort of as lactation consultants We’re sort of carrying around this baggage, right In the same way that people might assume like, oh well midwives must hate c sections It’s like, no, no We love that tool.

We love the appropriate use of all tools, actually. Right? We just want to use them appropriately. And so we actually really love thoughtful risk benefit. And lactation carries a certain baggage as well of sort of assuming that we only care about people who are breastfeeding and breastfeeding one specific way.

And so I think that our current Perinatal culture has backed us into a tricky corner where we were struggling with some, like, medical systems that were doing harm. And we were like, well, what if we take this into our own hands, right? Like, what if we start bringing doulas? What if we start, like, finding our own midwives?

What if we start La Leche League groups, right? So this is happening in kind of the 50s, 60s, 70s, where we start trying to, like, reclaim reproduction into these circles. And That, when we come into like 80s, 90s, early aughts, starts to really shift the burden. of making sound medical decisions onto the individuals.

Which is not where it belongs. Like, the people whose job it is to bring unnecessary cesarean rates down is the OBs in the hospitals. Not the individuals having them because you don’t know if you’re someone who needs them.

Heather: Right. And it also puts a lot of pressure on people to feel like they have to get a master’s degree in birth and postpartum in a very short amount of time during pregnancy while working their full time job that they trained for, which is so unfair.

Maureen: Exactly. 

Victoria Facelli: And it sets us up to feel like a success. A success if we needed fewer tools and a failure if we needed more tools. Oh my. Right? And like, I think we see that and we don’t believe in it, but we see it, right? And so where the book became the book that it is because of my experience is because I failed.

I was a very good lactation consultant. And because of my daughter’s disability, she was not going to nurse no way, no how. That was not going to happen. And I did make my perinatal mood disorder worse. With exclusive pumping, that was my experience, that’s not everyone’s experience, that was my experience.

I did eventually start using formula to alleviate some of that pressure on myself. And so when I walk into a space and I say, I am a board certified lactation consultant. And I failed at breastfeeding, and I used formula. It just levels the playing field in this way that I feel the parents I’m working with kind of let go.

They’re like, okay, I don’t have to be an A student to you. I don’t have to prove that I’m doing everything I can to make breastfeeding or nursing work. I, like, I can just be. A person who’s struggling. That’s awesome. And that was the gift. And that’s what for me makes the book, the book that it is, is that it starts from my failure, that it starts from like, I am coming in with no expectations on you.

I am coming in with only tools. One of the things that I say is like a flathead screwdriver. is morally neutral to a phillips head screwdriver. 

There is no superiority here. They are different tools. They have different jobs. 

Heather: That is so awesome. And actually, just while you were saying that, I am resonating with that because my baby is little.

She’s like two months old. And in the beginning, I had to use a bunch of tools. You know, a bunch of tools for her. She had tongue tie, lip tie, like the whole thing. And I felt like a failure for using all these tools. And just you saying that right now, Just, I mean, obviously, I know that as a lactation consultant, but as a patient and as a mother, I needed to hear that.

I did. So thank you. And I feel better. 

Victoria Facelli: Yeah, and I also, you know, I was, I currently just work one day a week in a clinic where we, people are referred for tongue ties. And I work with a massage therapist who actually illustrated the book and a dentist and myself. And so we like all. See our patients together and then give a recommendation of if a revision is indicated.

And I was talking to a patient who was like I had really wanted to make it like at least four months of exclusively breastfeeding and I was just sort of noticing the way that some of like the exclusivity thing for our listeners really comes from our inability to research nuance. Like, it just actually, like, in terms of just research, like, we’re doing studies, it’s easier to be like, okay, this is all in, this is, like, all out.

Or, like, this is all column A, this is all column B, so I can compare them. Because otherwise, like, if I have to quantify, like, like, are you trying to retroactively go back to that first month and remember what proportion of formula to breast milk your child had? Like, good luck. Ha ha ha ha! Like that is, that is hazy days, like we are not going to get good data.

So that is actually a research tool, but it has become, because that’s what the research says, it has become a stand in for like a goal or like a health measure, right? That’s how we have to build the recommendations, because the recommendations are based on the research. But we’re actually starting to get research that says that we see very similar benefits.

in the benefits we can quantify from combo feeding. I would also argue that those benefits on an individual level are small enough that they should be weighed against other benefits and risks in your life. But, all of that aside, usually the folks that are going to meet their goals in, if they like have goals around breastfeeding, nursing, human milk feeding.

If they are going to meet them, they are often the people who need the most tools in the beginning. And so it’s like, oh, I’ve already failed because my goal was about exclusivity until this time. And it’s almost like being like, well, I was going to pass the test every day. for this many days instead of being like, I was gonna study, right?

And so like, during that time, you were in the part of the problem solving part. And I always say like, good parents don’t follow dogma, good parents change their mind. And so you had to day to day, feeding to feeding, change your mind and use the tools to get to your goals down the road. And so because of that research construct, you’re like, Oh, well I’m already a failure, because I used the bad tool.

And it’s like, no, no, no honey, you were never gonna build that cabinet without the tools. 

Heather: And also there’s a whole other person involved, the baby. Well, yes. You know, so it’s like you can study all you want, but if it’s a group project, anyone that’s been in a group project with a loser knows it can be hard.

Victoria Facelli: Man, and human babies. I don’t mean to call them losers, but they’re really very immature. 

Maureen: They don’t bring a lot to the table. 

Heather: Yeah, they are not focused. They are sometimes not in it to win it. 

Victoria Facelli: You know, you look at zebras, like, Those mammals are up and eatin grass and runnin around? Yeah, mm hmm. Our mammals take like a year and a half to get there.

Maureen: I, I raise sheep on my farm, and their babies, they don’t eat grass right away, but they pretend to. They literally pretend to. And I’m like, they’re already practicing the day they’re born. They don’t have teeth, but they’re like, what if I pretended to eat grass like my mom? My kids don’t do that. 

Victoria Facelli: No, like they are, human babies are born with, they need so much help to eat.

Maureen: Yeah, it’s remarkable how helpless we all start out, honestly. That we’re, that any of us are here. 

Victoria Facelli: Totally. And that’s because we’re supposed to be in groups. Right? Like primates live in groups. Yeah. And we’re supposed to teach each other to do things. We’re supposed to feed each other’s babies. And honestly, like one of the things that’s cool about primates and humans in particular is we build tools.

We’re really good at building tools and we always have built tools. to help with infant feeding, we’re just getting way better at it, which is really good for keeping babies healthy and alive. And I feel really grateful to have those tools and then also remembering that a lot of the time the recommendations that we get are global.

And we have to remember when we’re in different contexts, like, I don’t know, Maureen, you appear to be in some kind of a sheep shack. Are you on well water, by chance? I, I am, yes. Right, so your context, being on well water, is really different from my context being on city water. Like, actually, my friends in Brooklyn, have a really hard time finding hypoallergenic formula, which I have very easy access to at my North Carolina target.

Right, so like even down within contexts that you would expect to be very similar, we really have our unique context. So also sort of taking these big recommendations. And bringing it down into our context and saying to ourselves like, Okay, but what actually is safe and healthy in my house, in my family?

Heather: Yeah, that’s a really good point. And also, we should be, in groups, growing up seeing these tools. As we grow up, not like for the first time seeing these tools, trying to figure out how to use them, while also simultaneously trying to figure out how to do everything else with parenting on no sleep. And I think that’s like the torturous part that makes people feel like failures too because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say like, I have a doctorate degree and I cannot figure out How to get this baby to syringe feed.

And I’m like, yeah, I get it. I totally get it. So I appreciate your approach very much. Like taking, it’s not personal, you know, like it is what it is. I love that. And it’s going to give people so much confidence to read that and know that it’s really not them. It’s a system problem, and it’s also not hopeless, and also, it’s fine to change your mind and your goals.

I love that. I love it. 

Victoria Facelli: And use tools on your way to your goals, is the other piece of that. And so, like, while I can wax poetic about the politics of all of this all day, the actual book is really grounded in just the tools. And that’s what I set out to do is be like, no, here actually helpful tools.

Because say you are snowed in, you’re having your baby during a historic snowstorm in Texas. You can’t get to an IBCLC, but you have this book in front of you. That’s gonna at least give you some tool that you can like digitally download the audiobook or the digital version and like that’s gonna take you somewhere.

And so to your point of watching other people do something, I did intend for this book ideally to be picked up by people prenatally so that They have a chance to watch some of the videos, and so the way the book is written is that it has QR codes to video of most of the techniques. And so, in addition to illustration with a really wide range of bodies, which was very important to me, I wanted video of actual newborns actually eating, because it is different than, like, a doll and a puppet on YouTube, but, like, it’s hard to put nipples.

So this is a way that’s like a little more private so that we can really show the real thing. And I think for folks who are currently pregnant, it’s really helpful to watch those videos ahead of time and sort of be like, okay, I kind of have no idea what this is going to be like. But it looks like you kind of hold them like that, and then you like smash it, but like you’ve seen it.

And seeing something a few times is going to help you develop the motor skills to do it. 

Maureen: Well, I want to know how long it took you to get all of those videos, because it’s like every other page has three video QR codes on it. It’s incredible. 

Victoria Facelli: It was definitely, the QR codes came to me a little later in the process.

So the book was sort of finished and there’s a cookbook that has QR codes to technique and I was like, that’s brilliant. I’m doing that. And my publisher was like, you are nuts. This is on Hinge. And I was like, I know, but I’m going to do it anyway. She’s like, it’s not an app. And I was like, I know, but it is now.

So, because it is, it’s just really visual. And I want, you know, my, my daughter’s disabled. I’m autistic. Different learning styles is really important to me. Some folks are really visual. Some folks are going to, like, read it and it’s going to click. Some people, the audio book’s going to be really helpful to sort of, like, hear the advice.

And me reading the audio book was really important to me. So, the videos Really, the challenge of the videos was me trying to be an organized person and use a spreadsheet, which was truly terrifying to me. That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever done. And going through and figuring out where I wanted the videos and making my spreadsheet of like everything we needed to hit.

And then, as we’ve said, human newborns, not known for being cooperative. Luckily, one of my volunteers was just like, I was like, who is this baby? Like, we were just like, latch him, unlatch him, syringe feed him, bottle feed him, take him over here and he was like, yeah, I could eat. Like, he was just ready. I was like, okay, sir.

Like, thank you so much for your help. So, I had an amazing videography team that sort of like kept me on track and we did, I think we had two shoot days? Three shoot days. 

Heather: Wow. Wow, that’s really impressive. 

Victoria Facelli: And then, and then it’s like Making sure each QR links to the thing and the web piece behind it, like all of that.

It was like a nightmare, honestly, but it turned out so well. Was not, was, was let’s just say does not meet the skills traditionally associated with birth workers. I’ll say that. We’re not known for our spreadsheets. 

Heather: Girl, preach. I, I actually tried to make a quiz once that had like 20 different outcomes with a video and I lost years of my life.

Maureen: That was painful to watch. Heather. 

Heather: It was awful. Maureen did the graphics for me and I was like, I, I hate this. I hate every minute of it. So I’m very, very impressed with your organizational skills. And speaking of like the visuals, can you share a little bit about your illustrator and what that collaboration looked like to try to really nail it and your vision for this book?

Because I think that’s a huge part of, of your deliverable, you know, like what people are getting. 

Victoria Facelli: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. I could not have done this book at all without Aiden Love. So, in terms of like, what that collaboration was like, is just absolute blessing from sky to earth right there. So, Aiden is one of my very closest friends from college, actually.

And like, we met because It’s partially because one of my roommates, who’s now an IVCLC in New York, was volunteering as a birth doula at the hospital at our college, and Aiden had wanted to become a birth doula. So they were attending births together because that, I, I, y’all would get a, an absolute kick out of the like birth work college experience I had.

The spe the sheer number of speculums, I’ll just say that. So, that’s when I met Aiden, and so we have been friends for a very long time. So Aiden became a massage therapist and went out to the west coast. for midwifery school. So they’re actually a trained midwife as well as a massage therapist. And so while they were out there, they trained with Carol Gray for infant massage therapy and sacral therapy, which is sort of a modality of manual therapy for babies that helps with their alignment.

Since babies grow in a teeny tiny space, they often need help sort of stretching and getting realigned after pregnancy and birth. And so Our midwifery laws in North Carolina are pretty dire, I will say, and so Aiden cannot practice as a midwife here and instead is a massage therapist slash tattoo artist slash illustrator, which is like such, the ADHD on that one is so good.

Like that person cannot stay out of school for anything. 

Heather: I feel like I’ve met that person before. It’s always like the same spirit and it’s always good. 

Victoria Facelli: Oh, yeah. And it’s beautiful. I love it. So, part of what’s enormously helpful, like, we had started the Tongue Tied Clinic together. We’ve worked together for a very long time.

So, when I’m like, do you think that one with the toaster head and the dink doink? And she’s like, oh, totally, yeah. I think that, I think that was probably And I’m like, ugh, completely. So, I think, I think the thing we’re alluding to here is like an asynclitic baby, is like, that’s what we would have been communicating, but like, we can, we’ve been together for so long.

And so like many of, like a lot of the explanations around sort of the physical asymmetries and a lot of that stuff is actually coming from Aiden and working so closely with her that I have learned so much. so much. And so, and then Aiden was incredibly patient with my disorganization because the illustrations came before the video.

Oh gosh. And so that was a whole thing of me like marking everywhere I wanted illustration, asking for folks to donate images. Having friends come over to Aiden’s house and take images. So my breasts are in that book, their baby’s in that book, their partner’s in that book, our best friends are in that book, their dogs are in the background of all those.

Like, it is that was a whole other labor of love. And then really, Explicitly going out and, and asking for permission to use photos of disabled parents, of fat parents, black parents, and really making sure that trans parents, that we really had those images, and then there’s also stories throughout that give a really wide diversity to parenthood, which was important to me, sort of ground the narrative of parenting and the diversity of parenting.

But, That for me, you know, that’s political for me as a queer autistic Latina person with a non-binary spouse and a disabled kid. Like, I’m gonna care about that. But it’s also functional, because if you only ever see the, like, lady with the bob and the bee cup, Like, most of us, like, immediately postpartum are rocking, like, a J.


Heather: I have not seen that lady in my lactation clinic more than Twice in five years. Like I, I don’t know why that became the standard in the 90s of like the pastel and like the recliner and the, the size zero pants B cup lady just lovingly looking at her child. I’m like, that’s not it. What I see. 

Victoria Facelli: Yeah.And so, like, logistically, like, the angles are just different. Mm hmm. And so, like, it is actually physically different. And one of the fun things about the video QRs is that when I get more models that I feel like I need, I can actually record new video and back end. So, I do want to have, like, a larger body diversity in that, both a very large chest and very small chest.

Because the angles are really different. And so I wanted to make sure that that was represented both because parents need to see themselves. I want my disabled child to see disabled parents in the world. And because, like, logistically, When I was interviewing parents for the book, like there’s a parent of twins who’s a wheelchair user and it had never Like no one had talked to her about feeding her babies in her wheelchair Which is her most supportive seating and like actually like most perinatal people like to have a custom Motorized adjustable chair would be pretty great 

Heather: Honestly, it sounds pretty good 

Victoria Facelli: Right, and they’re very very expensive and you have to fight insurance for a long time to get them but like once you have it you should Like, absolutely use that tool, but because, well, and this is a whole other rant I can get on about the IBCLE, not having disability accommodations in our exams.

Heather: Yeah, I had trouble getting an accommodation to breastfeed my baby during my exam. To the point where it was such a pain in the ass that I actually was like, forget it. I left my baby at home, pumped, and I was like, I guess I’ll just be really full by the end of this. 

Victoria Facelli: That, I am mortified. 

Heather: Yeah, I was like, what, what kind of What kind of organization am I, am I, they were like, Oh no, we, we can give you an accommodation, but you have to apply through this different phone number and you have to drive to one of the facilities that can accommodate you, which is not anywhere close to you.

And I was like, well, that doesn’t make any sense. Then I have to take my baby in the car and drive her hours to a facility that can allow me to breastfeed. What? 

Victoria Facelli: Yeah, there, we may, there’s, there is room for some reform and some conversations to be had within our, our professional accreditation and that is for us professionals to discuss.

That’s a nightmare. Well, on that 

Maureen: note, I’m going to take us and do a quick break to thank one of our sponsors. When we get back, I want to talk about some of the more specific concepts in your book. 

Victoria Facelli: Great.

Heather: Let’s take a quick break to thank our sponsor, Aeroflow. 

Maureen: Aeroflow is your one stop shop to get the most popular breast pumps and accessories through 

Heather: your insurance. Yeah, so don’t let your insurance go to waste. Why don’t you let Aeroflow do all the dirty work for you? You never 

Maureen: have to call your insurance when you use Aeroflow, and they remind you when you’re eligible for free replacement parts.

Yep, so 

Heather: when you’re tired in your postpartum period and you’re wondering why your pump isn’t working as well, you might get a text that says, did you know you need replacement parts? And you say, I did not know that. You push a button and boom, they show up at your door. Thanks Aeroflow. Thank you so much.

Go ahead and check out the link to Aeroflow in our show notes and order your pump through them.

Maureen: Heather, have I told you about my new favorite place to get nursing bras? Oh, tell me. It’s called the Dairy Fairy. The Dairy Fairy offers bras and tanks that try to solve the challenges that come with nursing and pumping. Their ingenious intimates are beautiful, supportive, and can be worn all day 

Heather: long. Oh, you’re allowed to look good and feel good about yourself while wearing a nursing bra?


Maureen: and they offer sizes up to a 52g. 

Heather: Amazing. I’m so glad a company has finally realized that a d cup is not a large. 

Maureen: Absolutely, and I, it’s so affirming to feel included in sizing and not feel like I’m asking for too much that clothing fits my body. Well, what else do we get? Well, if you guys follow the link in our show notes.

you can use the code MILKMINUTE at checkout for free shipping on all domestic orders. 

Heather: Thank you so much, Dairy Fairy. 

Maureen: Absolutely. Once again, that’s the link in our show notes and use the code MILKMINUTE for free shipping on all domestic orders.

All right, everybody, welcome back. So I, I want to jump right into some of the big concepts that make this book different from Every other breastfeeding book on the market, frankly, and we already touched a little bit on this in the beginning, but let’s bring it back to kind of hone in on the phrase of neutral infant feeding that you talk about on social media and in the book, what, like, what do you mean by that?

And why, why do you think we should all be kind of neutral? Using that 

Victoria Facelli: more. So, I, so that is specifically a, a phrase or an outlook that I would like our providers to have. That’s not for parents, that’s for providers, right? Like of course as parents, like we have goals, we have ideas about what feels valuable and important to us.

But if our providers aren’t open to all of the ways that can look, then they’re bringing their bias into that work in a way that is unhelpful. So that’s sort of part one of that, is I am looking for our field to grow in this way and to be more open to modern infant feeding. Which involves more tools.

And a lot of those tools change very frequently, right? Like the new pumps and the new formulas and all of that like moves pretty quickly these days. And so it does become part of our job to keep up with that. And to be informed about those tools instead of biased around those tools. And one of the ways that that happens in our field that I am critical of, And I get a lot of pushback from this, and a lot of trolls, is that it is viewed by many lactation consultants that we, because we may not advertise formula, that we may not engage with formula.

And for me, that’s a lazy out. I think it is our job to understand those ingredients, to be able to help our families make informed decisions about feeding babies. And that is because. We are supposed to be the foremost experts in normal infant feeding and in order to do that We have to be informed about the full spectrum because otherwise there’s no one to do it There is no provider that is fully informed about both all of the biomechanics as well as like nutritional storage functional elements of human milk, oral anatomy, function, biomechanical function of babies, and infant formula.

So instead we have a system where pediatricians or in some countries midwives are in charge of sort of the baby’s weight and they have very few tools. When that is not meeting healthy standards. And so they are often operating based on information they are getting or samples they are getting directly from large formula companies.

That is not good medical practice. I do not want to go into a doctor’s office and have them be like, I don’t really know what this med does, but I have some free ones. So do you want to try this? That’s not great medical practice. So I’m, but pediatricians have such a huge scope of practice, they really don’t have time to keep up on that.

Heather: And it, it feels like small potatoes, too, where they’re just looking at the weight and they’re like, Okay, you know, let’s look at the bright side. Your kid’s weight is really good. And the parent’s like, but I’m broken inside. And I feel 

Victoria Facelli: like And what I’m actually seeing a lot of is like pediatricians who have gotten the message that just Saying like, here’s some formula is harmful, but they don’t have another tool and they can’t necessarily trust that we’re going to take the weight piece seriously or be able to give sound recommendations on supplementation.

And so for me, I’m seeing more babies who are underweight or failure to thrive. Because there’s no one to pick up that ball. Like, it feels a little bit like lactation was sort of like waving our arms the last 20 years, being like, pass me the ball, pass me the ball, pass me the ball. And they handed it to us and we were like, I don’t actually know what to do with the ball.

Because we’ve been trusting Peds to totally be in charge of, like, weight and supplementation and formula. So, I feel excited about the ways that the shortage, which, Continues and, and has been devastating for many families, but a positive outcome has been an increase in formula choices, which for me, more tools is better.

Do I have enormous political concerns with a lot of formula companies dealings in the world, especially the big ones with government lobbyists? Absolutely. That has no bearing on my relationship to the tool they make. I have big concerns about the pharmaceutical companies that make my ADHD meds, my antidepressants, my rescue meds.

And I will take them whenever I need them because that is an appropriate tool to use. Our world is complicated and both things can be true. And so for me, this, I’m taking a lot of heat because I will talk to anybody who wants to talk to me. Y’all come on my podcast. I’m like, great, I’ll be there. And I will also do that with formula companies.

Because for me, being able to have a real conversation, to be able to have the ear of a CEO in that industry, to be able to tour a factory, to be able to say, really, what’s going on here? What is it like to navigate our FDA system? Where do we need improvement in WIC? Where, what is it to navigate these contracts?

Actually, I don’t love the way you talk about that in your advertising. I think it’s doing harm. I think that is more powerful than saying, no, I don’t see that. That doesn’t exist. There’s only one way to feed babies because the reality is I have a disabled kid. I live in a world where health is really complicated.

I would love to live in a world where it was just really cut and dry and people could just, like, choose one of two options and one of them was better. That is not real life. So when I sit around and talk to my friends whose kids are tube fed, and they’re, like, weighing the pros and cons of different medications for reflux and different blended diets and what the right, like, formula is for their kids, I’m like, damn, that’s complicated.

And it’s interesting. 

Heather: Because it is medicine. That’s the other thing that, you know, it is small potatoes if you’re just looking at the weight, but then we have this whole other thing in the back of our head that we know intuitively that food is medicine, and we just choose not to think about that when it’s not convenient for us or we don’t have time to think about it.

You know, because we have a busy clinic to run or whatever, or that’s our only option or we don’t know what other resources are out there. So I’m so glad that you are bringing all of these tools to the table and basically say, let’s discuss. 

Victoria Facelli: Yeah. And like, you’re allowed to bring your values to that. Oh.
Good one. So I am allowed to say the generic is less expensive and nutritionally comparable to the branded formula. I am within my bounds in the privacy of my own house. to feed my kid organic avocados or conventional avocados. It is not for me to say because the research indicates that there is not a health difference in eating organics.

There is a significant environmental difference. So, I may not to say to you, the organics are healthier. Because, that’s not what the science says. You may have values around organics that are very important to you. And it’s my job to say to you, what feels valuable about feeding babies in your family? Is it your grocery budget?

Is it the convenience of where you shop? Because time with your family not running from grocery store to grocery store is important to you? Is it Not giving money to Nestle and thus buying because of their like global water politics and thus buying the generic brand Right, like you get to decide those values.

Those are not my values to share I have my own values in my own home as a practitioner. I am neutral about that 

Maureen: Well, 

Heather: you don’t have any haters on this podcast. I just want to let you know I’m like, I think I’m in love with you. I I really I’m having a hard time not interrupting and talking to you like we’re just out for coffee because I really want you to just keep going so our listeners can get everything that you’re giving right now, but I also want to have like a second meeting where I’m like, Okay, here’s what I also think, you know, Oh, man.

Victoria Facelli: think there’s a lot of us that are ready for this change. And I’m, I think the backlash is actually indicative of that, that people feel really uncomfortable with that. I think that also we’re in a culture, you know, You were saying about, like, the moms with the PhDs. Like, we’re in a cultural moment. A lot of us feel like if we work hard enough, we’ll be successful.

And it’s a really big adjustment to the fact that that’s not how nature works. And it’s not how reproduction works. I know that walloped me like you would not believe. I got, I had so many doulas. I read so many books. I got really walloped because it turns out the only thing that mattered was having really safe providers that I could trust.

Maureen: and it feels incredibly revolutionary. I mean, it is to have a resource like this, a public book that says things like infant feeding is neutral and your sleep is more important than breastfeeding and You know, everybody can make milk and here we’re going to show you all of them. Especially when the number one, you know, bestselling breastfeeding books are still things like the womanly art of breastfeeding and Ina May Gaskins breastfeeding and, you know, the, the best-selling prenatal books are still things like what to expect when you’re expecting, I mean, it’s, you, you have this incredible competition that really owns the market and shouldn’t, it doesn’t serve us.

Victoria Facelli: It’s really, really outdated. My favorite line in Dr. Sears breastfeeding book is about how most people find breastfeeding so pleasurable that they can go off the SSRIs they needed pre pregnancy. Ha ha ha! Like, first of all, like, show 

Maureen: me the study, my 

Victoria Facelli: friend. And like, and also, I totally know people that like the oxytocin response of nursing, like really saved their mental health and was actually incredibly beneficial.

Like I guess I wouldn’t even say like your sleep is more important than breastfeeding. I would say sleep is really important. You get to decide. the economy of those things in your household based on what you need without shame because I trust you to make your decisions and my whole job is to just like neutrally serve up a 

Heather: platter of tools.
I love that. And speaking of sleep, one of the bigger concepts in your book is about protected sleep. Can you tell us a little bit about that and why that’s so important? Yeah, 

Victoria Facelli: so I, I recently like actually found the papers on this. I had one of those months where I was like, did I make this up? I feel like I didn’t make this up.

We have those all the time. Yeah, so the concept of protected sleep actually is when, based in the treatment of other mental health disabilities, including bipolar disorder which is actually like fairly, a common experience to have sort of swings in mood. Perinatally, whether it would fit into an official category or not.

But we, so just like as a human baseline, sleeplessness is used for torture, right? Like that’s just baseline. Hormonally our sleep does change postpartum. We are sort of designed to move into this space where we’re sort of like dozy and we kind of like, our hormones tell us to go like night night while we’re nursing, and then we kind of like stir.

We’re supposed to just kind of stay in bed and just like cycle through that. And that is not how our lives are set up right now. Like, that is not on offer. So, knowing that that is not on offer, we know that most postpartum people are not getting enough sleep. And that that is going to impact their mental health.

Add on to that other stressors that are happening in your life, either feeding challenges or whatever other stressors that you may have going on, and the kind of like expectations of production that we have. So those Realities cause mood disorders. Breastfeeding does not cause mood disorders. Shame and pressure and stress and sleeplessness do.

So when we tell someone to triple feed, which is when you like nurse pump bottle feed, and they are then not able to get any sleep, that will cause the mood disorder, not the fact that that person wants to breastfeed. So it’s our job as clinicians to be like, hey, that’s also a variable. And the way that we support that variable is based on this mental health research that says four to six hours of uninterrupted sleep will make a significant difference here.

And then you’re still supposed to make up the other four to, two to four, so to get to eight hours. with naps. Like you’re supposed to try to get to eight every day. I know. I see you like nodding Heather, like as though. 

Maureen: Yeah, I mean, 

Victoria Facelli: it’s. When you were in the throes of feeding challenges. 

Heather: Yeah. I mean, I just, I’m laughing at myself and I’m also just concerned for everyone else in the world because, I mean, they might have nailed that.

For two out of the seven days a week where they’re like yes I did it four to six hours and then two hours of naps and then their kid just throws them a curveball and They’re up every two hours, and then they cluster feed the whole day, and you’re like okay I broke it something’s wrong is it cuz I and then it’s always like the self-blame and then trying to, trying to figure out which tool you’re, it’s like you’re digging through your toolbox.

You’re like, which tool can I use to get back to the thing that we were doing that Victoria said? 

Victoria Facelli: So. And so that one is not, so I will often, so, and this is part of the trick of it. I do not prescribe that. To the nursing parent. I prescribe that to the support people. Because as you’re saying, 

Maureen: say it 

Heather: again for the people in the back.

Victoria Facelli: She, usually she, they cannot control that. So what I’m always looking for, I’m like, okay, you are a sole parent. Is there a friend? Who can come over from five to nine right from work and hold your baby while you sleep. Can you pump after the morning feeding for a bottle? Can we use a little formula to protect that sleep?

You pump before you go to sleep, you wake up, you feed that baby again, but you get that protected sleep. And the other piece of that is protecting it, right? So that means it’s not just like I am striving for this sleep. It means someone else is holding that baby. While you have the door shut, earplugs in, phone in the other room, white noise on.

And so like, sometimes that’s not possible. And sometimes we get creative with it, like having someone come over. Are you splitting the night up with partners so you’re each skipping one feeding? Is there a neighbor, a mother in law, or somebody who can come over at a random time of day because protected sleep does not need to happen at night?

And so I also use it diagnostically, so I do also tell people to, if I see someone and I’m like, it looks like your mood’s in trouble, I am prescribing to your family that they help you do this thing. If you go to sleep and you wake up after protected sleep feeling better, then we should do more of that to help you with your, with your mood.

If you cannot sleep, or you wake up and you still don’t feel like yourself, that is our cue as a community around you, that it’s time to reach back out. And I’ll have people call their 24 hour line for their midwife. It is time to like reach out and be connected to resources and medication. Because sometimes that midwife can prescribe you some sleep meds that are safe for nursing, that will allow you to sleep that chunk.

Because your inability to sleep is actually a sign that your anxiety is, is in a place that needs support. 

Heather: That’s really, I think there’s so many people listening right now that are like, okay, that’s me and I need to call right now. 

Victoria Facelli: It was me. Yeah. Medication to sleep from the day my child was born until she was at least nine months old.

Yeah. I’ve never had trouble sleeping in my entire life. 

Heather: Well, your, your brain changes. We interviewed the author of Mom Genes, where she talks about, like, how your brain changes neurologically, completely, when you are pregnant in postpartum. And that’s a huge part of it, where you’re just, like, wired for sound.

And everyone’s wired a little bit differently. So it’s, again, it’s not like a failing of you to not be able to turn it off. Like, why can’t I turn it off? Because you’re not wired that way anymore. 

Victoria Facelli: No, and so we have to give you the opportunity. to check in. Use the like, lowest intervention tool, right?

The midwifery equivalent. You got your little pocket Doppler and we’re just gonna check. We’re just gonna check in. We’re gonna like, do a little check. We’re just gonna like, see if a four hour nap happens and if it helps. And then we’re gonna get more information and then we’re gonna like, make a plan moving forward.

Heather: I love it. I’m gonna use it. Thank you. I’m gonna make my husband listen to this and be like, see? I need four to six hours. You’re going to make it happen, big guy. I know it. 

Maureen: All right. So, Victoria, thank you so much for coming on. We would like you to tell our listeners how they can find you, how they can find your book, because we want them all to go buy it and just learn the rest that you have to 

Victoria Facelli: teach us.

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been really wonderful to talk to y’all. You can find me on the socials at Victoria Facelli. And you can find the book anywhere that you buy books. So you can get it at your local bookstore, you can get it on Amazon, you can get it on Target. com with your milk and your preemie nipples and your hydrogels and you can order your library to have it as well, which I love.

Seeing it checked out from the library, that always makes me very excited because that makes it even more accessible. And it’s also available on audiobook at audible, audiobooks. com, or anywhere else that you get your audiobooks. 

Heather: Awesome. Well, thank you so much. This has been a true pleasure and I do not want this to be the last time that we talk if that’s okay.

Victoria Facelli: I’ll be back. I’m happy to come back. All right. 

Maureen: Yes, we would love to have you back and if you have any other projects coming up, let us know. We’d love to have you back to talk about them. Thank you so much, and everybody will be right back with our award.

Heather: If you’re pumping milk away from your baby at all, at work, or wherever you go, you deserve a Bougie product to make that easier for you. You 

Maureen: deserve a series chiller, and frankly, I could not live without one 

Heather: right now. The Series Chiller is an excellent way to store your breast milk safely, and it keeps your breast milk cold for 24 hours.

It is the 

Maureen: only thing I use to transport my breast milk to and from work. While I’m working, it’s got a sleek and beautiful design, lots of great colors, high quality materials, and manufacturing. 

Heather: Series Chill also has other products that you might want to check out too. My personal favorite is the Milk Stash.

They have
Maureen: a great nipple shield that actually changes colors, and it’s not clear like all the other ones. And you know how we feel about that. If you want to have your very own series chiller, please go to the link in our show notes and use code MilkMinute15 at
Heather: checkout. That’s MilkMinute15 for 15 percent off your series chill products.


Well, that was fun. 

Maureen: That was, no, I, I I’m just so deeply appreciative that Victoria wrote this book and took the time to talk to us about it and I just, I don’t know. I really love meeting other lactation professionals who are just like, fighting the good fight, you 

Heather: know? Totally, and I feel like no matter where you meet this lady, whether it’s a coffee shop or if you just like, met her out running errands, you’d feel like she just changed your life.

Like her energy is just So invigorating. Like, I feel like I can do things now. She is so awesome. 

Maureen: Absolutely. I hope we can have her back sometime, especially if you know, maybe she, like, writes another book sometime. 

Heather: Well, I do hear that although writing a book is very annoying and difficult, it is a little bit addictive.

Maureen: Yeah, I, every time we have an author and we’re like, so what’s next? And they’re, like, literally breathing and recovering from this five year torture process. 

Heather: Absolutely. Yeah, fantastic. All right. Well, we hope you enjoyed that episode with Victoria. We’re sure that you did. And all the information about how to order that book and find her will be in our show notes.

But before we get out of here, let’s give an award. Absolutely. Okay. So this award goes to Jamie from our Facebook group. And Jamie says, my baby girl was born in late October. Me too. And, and I’ve been collecting with a haka on the other side almost every time while nursing her. I’ve banked about 500 ounces just using the haka and I’m obviously jazzed about that.

But the most exciting thing is that my brother’s wife had a baby this past weekend and while they’re waiting for her milk to come in and fighting off jaundice, they’ve been able to use some of my milk to supplement. I’m so, so, so thrilled and honored to be able to help my brother, his wife, and my beautiful niece in this way.

And, oh my gosh, there’s pictures. Oh, there’s like, there’s a FaceTime picture of the two babies FaceTiming each other. Oh my gosh, give me a break. That’s so cute. 

Maureen: Well, Jamie, we’re super proud of you for finding a way to use that milk that you stored for your family. I mean, it’s so wonderful when not only do you get to share milk, but also with, like, somebody you care about.

Heather: Oh, can we call them the Milky Cousins Award? 

Maureen: Yeah, we can call them whatever we want. I’ll 

Heather: just call them the Smushy Face Milky Cousins Award, because their faces are so smushy on this FaceTime. I love it. 

Maureen: Well, whatever we’re calling it. Thank you so much for sharing that story with us, Jamie. It’s those kind of stories that just like bring a little bit of sunshine back into our lives.

Heather: Truly. Absolutely. And if either of you guys need help downregulating your oversupply or getting over that jaundice, keep in mind, Maureen and I both do virtual consults. We’d be happy to work with you. 

Maureen: Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, thank you all so much for tuning in to this amazing interview. 

Heather: Yep. And don’t ever forget that the way we change this big system is by educating ourselves, our loved ones, and sometimes listening to our inner creative.

voice and writing a whole book about it. 

Maureen: Yeah, or just dropping those books on our friend’s table. 

Heather: Exactly, exactly. Yes, 

Maureen: I’m super pleased how this serendipitous event occurred. And if you guys want to support us, you can tell a friend about the podcast, you can send a link for a favorite episode to a friend, and if you want to support Victoria like we all do, you can go buy her 

Heather: book.

Yes, absolutely. And all of that is in the show notes. So we will see you over on Patreon at Patreon. com slash Milk Minute Podcast, or you can catch us on Instagram. Milk underscore minute underscore podcast. Alright, bye
Maureen: everybody. Bye bye. 


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