*Disclaimer – if conversation about boobs, breastfeeding, nipples, etc. makes you uncomfortable, then this likely is NOT the right blog post for you. Because today, we’re talking about breastfeeding and the incredible Colorado Springs lactation consultant behind Pikes Peak Lactation. You may also be thinking, “why in the world is Erin, a wedding and family photographer, blogging about a lactation consultant?” Well, this subject is near and dear to my heart, and if I can use this platform to inform and empower other women, then gosh darnit that is what I’m going to do! Okay… now onto the rest of the post.*
No one can really prepare you for it. For that joyful moment when your first child is born, and they’re handed to you in all of their adorable and slightly slimy glory, and the nurse says “Okay! Let’s try to breastfeed!” You take your new bundle of joy and confidently latch them to your breast, and they immediately start eating with vigor. A day or two later, you head home with your tiny human in tow, and confidently walk around the house while breastfeeding your child and sleep soundly at night knowing that they’re eating all that they need to gain weight and thrive. Needing to seek out a Colorado Springs lactation consultant is the farthest thing from your mind.
Wait… what? Let’s backup. Your experience didn’t go quite like that? That’s okay – mine didn’t either. Chances are, your mother or sister or neighbor or girlfriend also struggled. Struggled with latch issues, low milk supply, high milk supply, engorgement, cluster feeding, a “sleepy” eater, sore nipples, inverted nipples, GI issues, tongue ties, etc. The list can go on. In our case, my daughter had an up-hill battle with a significant tongue tie, which was complicated by low milk supply. If you haven’t had your baby yet, this post isn’t intended to “scare” you. It’s intended to present you with the reality of the situation – breastfeeding is hard. It is hard work that requires dedication, knowledge, and an immense amount of patience, conviction and support. That being said, I’m also here to say that (in my opinion, and if you can) it is totally worth it.
If you’re like me, you always believed that breastfeeding was immediately supposed to be second nature. There is no way humankind would be where it was if it wasn’t! While breastfeeding can start out as easy for some, it can also (like in my case) start out as incredibly difficult. This is normal. But normal doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be addressed! Now enter into the picture, a skilled Lactation Consultant. A CLC (certified lactation consultant) can help provide that assistance and support a mother-baby pair may need to “succeed!” A lactation consult is not only helpful for breastfeeding moms, but can provide a significant amount of assistant to exclusive pumpers as well. Now, let’s talk about Mary.
Mary Enger is an experienced, kind, and fantastic Colorado Springs lactation consultant. She is also the owner of Pikes Peak Lactation. Without her help, I’m not sure that my daughter and I would have made it as long as we had on our breastfeeding journey. I am forever grateful for her help, and I want to make her name known to any other mama out there who may be struggling!
So today, I am thrilled to introduce you to one of the best Colorado Springs lactation consultants – Mary Enger.
I am a Colorado Springs native, and I am an RN with a specialty in lactation care. I graduated from nursing school in 1986 ( so I’m old enough to be your mom….:)) and went into maternal child nursing right out of school. I have worked in labor and delivery, high risk antepartum care, mother-baby, OB home care, hospital lactation. I now own my own Colorado Springs lactation consultant business so that I can meet with moms where the “rubber-is-meeting-the-road” in their breastfeeding journey.
An IBCLC is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, which is the highest credential that a lactation professional can obtain. I obtained my IBCLC in 2009 and have recertified twice, once by continuing education, and once by re-testing. Becoming an IBCLC requires a rigorous mix of didactic learning and clinical learning, supervised practice and then passing a comprehensive international exam. The purpose of this level of preparation in lactation is to give the highest and more thorough breastfeeding care for both the mother and the baby. There are various lower levels of lactation care including CLC (certified lactation counselor), CLE (certified lactation educator), and a peer lactation counselor. These certifications involve minimal didactic training and little or no clinical training.
The goal of any lactation helper is to provide care so that breastfeeding can continue, for the good of the mother, the baby, and their relationship.
Moving from pregnant to parent is one of the most challenging shifts in life. Breastfeeding, although “natural” is a part of this challenging time of life, and is often not easy or easily understood. Lactation consultants are very helpful essentially, in making breastfeeding work.
The best time to reach out to an IBCLC is before birth and after birth.
Prenatal education about breastfeeding is a fabulous foundation to build from. It is often easier to learn about a new thing when you can learn in a practicing environment and then in the real-time environment.
I recommend a lactation consult after birth for everyone. If breastfeeding is going great, baby is gaining weight well and mama isn’t experiencing any pain, it can be very helpful to have affirmation that all is well. However, if mama is hurting, if baby isn’t growing well, if mom and baby are having a hard time getting into sync. A lactation consultant can also be helpful if either mom or baby isn’t getting enough sleep, if baby is crying often, if mom has to go back to work, if mom is experiencing post-partum depression at any level, if baby had difficulties being born or after birth (like a stay in the NICU)…. These are just a sampling of the issues where meeting with a lactation consultant is vital.
Absolutely! Meeting with an IBCLC will help you to use your pump to the best of its ability, to keep your supply robust (which is not an automatic thing with exclusive pumping), to store your milk safely, and to give you an opportunity to ask questions and problem solve if difficulties like mastitis or a decreasing supply occur.
3 cheers for any breastfeeding journey that is given the label “successful” by a mom and baby! However, do not be fooled. Each pregnancy is different, each birth is different and each breastfeeding baby is different. Mama might be the pro-breastfeeder, but baby is the novice. Baby #1 might have had a strong and organized sucking pattern. But baby #2 or 3, 4, and 5, might have a weak and disorganized sucking pattern. Even though Mama knows what to do, a knowledgeable helping hand IBCLC who can help her understand what baby #2 is bringing to the breastfeeding dance, and how to make it “successful”, is invaluable. Also, each pregnancy usually results in a higher milk supply, which is a variable mama didn’t have to deal with the first time around. An IBCLC can help her figure out how to navigate that without getting frustrated.
I really love practical teaching which results in the lights coming on for both mom and baby. I cherish helping both the mom and baby to come to a great feeding relationship. Their growth is my joy.
I also really enjoy holding babies. 🙂
Kangaroo, kangaroo, kangaroo. This means to put baby’s ear over your heart and hold them like this as often and as long as you can. This will change both you and the baby physiologically and emotionally. It is second to none in being the BEST first breastfeeding step for every mom and baby.
The bulk of our work is in seeing moms 1-1 during a feeding session. Marisa and I also hostess a breastfeeding support group at library 21C on Wednesday mornings from 10-11am! In addition, we teach prenatal breastfeeding classes, and returning to work and pumping classes. We can take many insurances, and also self pay.
A fun fact about me is that I love to sing. I even invented a song to sing about breastfeeding that we all learn at our breastfeeding classes. To help them pick up their toys and do their homework, I would even sing them a special song. I sing when I’m happy and when I’m sad. I even sing in the shower, and on a stage (in the Colorado Springs Chorale).
The best way to check us out is through our website. Through the site, you can also meet my co-worker, Marisa. You can also make an appointment for a 1-1 consult or a class from there, and apply to have your insurance cover your consult. In addition, you can see what other moms have written about their experience with us. Finally, if you have specific questions, you can send us an email through our website with your question.
Thank you Mary, one of Colorado Springs best lactation consultants for taking the time to answer a few questions! To all the new mamas out there, whether or not you’re struggling with breastfeeding, I want to encourage you to keep your head up! You are the BEST mother for your babe – and this goes for all of the mamas out there… regardless of whether or not you’re breastfeeding, pumping, or formula feeding.
Motherhood is hard, and I am here to support you!
Have a new addition to your family? Let’s photograph all their adorable newborn sweetness with an in-home or in-studio lifestyle newborn or family session. All family members (including doggos) are welcome!
Proud of your breastfeeding journey? I want to help you document the special relationship between you and your baby through a breastfeeding photo session. Interested in what that could entail? Check out this blog post, and then let’s chat!
Still pregnant? Thinking about getting maternity photos done? Check out this post about how to make the most out of your maternity session!!