I have loved being a mother to my three boys, and fully understand the joys but also the challenges of a busy mom life and just trying to survive. I think of myself as a simple crunchy homemaker. I see life as a journey and each day as a gift to be enjoyed and lived to the fullest. I believe there is no absolute right or wrong with food or breastfeeding, or many other choices, and no one right answer for everyone, but highly individual.
Professionally, I have been a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist for 15 years, and I am a Certified Dietitian in the State of Washington. I have also been a Certified Lactation Counselor for over 12 years. I was the chair of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Committee, which is a global initiative to help improve breastfeeding, at the Guam Memorial Hospital where I worked for 7 years, and have provided 24/7 hotline services for ongoing lactation/breastfeeding issues post-discharge. I have worked as a clinical dietitian as the pediatrics dietitian and covered the PICU, NICU, nursery, L&D, OB, Med-Tele/PCU step-down units, and surgical units. I also developed a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program on Guam, where we lived for 10 years, and served on the Guam Diabetes Advisory Body. I have had the privilege of giving numerous public lectures on a variety of topics ranging from Food and Mood, Lactation/Breastfeeding, Diabetes, Children's Nutrition, Heart Disease, Physical Activity, Vegetarian Diet, Optimal Diet for Longevity, and numerous other nutrition topics, to many different audiences, both professional and lay. My most recent clinical experience was working at Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland, WA. I am passionate about helping people meet THEIR goals with a non-judging approach, and especially enjoy the individual focus time and follow-up that is possible with outpatient work.
My Breastfeeding Story
I do not want to scare moms away from a beautiful healthy breastfeeding experience. Quite the contrary. Some moms have instant breastfeeding joy and ease that lasts the duration of their breastfeeding. However, sometimes life does not go as planned. As an avid believer in the importance and value of breastfeeding, I was personally unprepared for how challenging breastfeeding would be for me. I somehow expected my first baby to intuitively know how to breastfeed, but my initial experience was not that way. In fact, he was sleepy from birth and did not seem to care to feed at all and I had to start out with pumping--not feeding at the breast at all. When he finally did breastfeed, I ended up in pain and bleeding, and then dealt with engorgement and later recurrent mastitis. I remember trying to nurse him at 2 a.m. one day early after his birth, in pain and in tears, ready to go out and buy formula. Thankfully, a dear friend who was a certified lactation consultant came the next day and helped me with some great tips that made breastfeeding painless! That was not the end to all my issues, but I did learn to have wonderful sweet breastfeeding experiences, painless as they should be, and enjoyable--usually. After all the challenges I personally have experienced with breastfeeding, I do not want any other mom to go through what I did and be in tears at 2 a.m. because of not having enough milk, or be in pain, or endure a fussy baby or wanting to nurse constantly, etc., and not know where to turn. I have loved being that resource for moms and babies and am passionate about supporting others to have a beautiful bonding enjoyable experience and avoid the pain and suffering I went through!
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