Happy New Year, Mommy Chicks! I don’t know about you, but I am thrilled that we’ve begun a new year. Sayonara, 2016. Hello, 2017!! 😀 I can already tell it’s going to be a great one. And to start this great, new year, we’re announcing our January Mommy Chick of the Month! She is a super mom that does it all. And we absolutely love that she supports other mothers too during their birth and breastfeeding journeys. She is an RN and IBCLC (lactation consultant), and is the owner of a pretty phenomenal resource for mamas. As a strong mother with amazing online classes, a beautiful instagram feed, and offering so much support, what’s not to love?
Without further ado, may I introduce you to our January Mommy Chick, Lindsey Shipley from Lactation Link!
N: Hi, Lindsey! For our readers at Baby Chick who don’t know about Lactation Link or you just yet, how would you describe yourself and Lactation Link in a few words?
L: Hi, Baby Chick readers! I am so happy to be featured as the January Mommy Chick! I’m a wife and mom of two, first and foremost. I run my company Lactation Link with the mission statement, “Creating Confident Moms,” so moms can become confident about their choices and what’s best for their own family. I would say personally I like to stay active either in the gym or the mountains, I love traveling with my husband and being a mom to Brody (5) and Joslyn (3).
N: What inspired you to become a lactation consultant and childbirth educator?
L: I became interested in learning more about breastfeeding support as a new labor and delivery nurse. I enjoy being apart of that rare and special time with a family when they welcome a new little one. I also had great experiences breastfeeding my own two babies, and when I breastfed through unexpected illness and three surgeries with my second, I think that’s when my interest turned into a passion.
N: Why did you decide to start Lactation Link?
L: As a Labor and Delivery RN I saw so many moms overwhelmed after delivery. I saw lots of moms feeling pretty in the dark about “what comes next” after birth. I also saw how much support was needed for breastfeeding in those early minutes, hours, and days. A lot of women got poor advice that they would “figure it out” once baby arrived or someone could help at the hospital (most RNs aren’t certified specialists).
After I certified as a lactation consultant (IBCLC), I considered a few hospital-based positions but I soon came up with other plans. Lactation Link was born! Our focus is prenatal education through our video classes, then offering support after delivery through consultations.
N: What’s the most challenging part of your job?
L: Sometimes no matter what, a mom decides she doesn’t need a class and will just “see how it goes”. It can be tough for moms to picture all they will be going through right after delivery. I want to take away that uncertainty I saw in many women after they gave birth and replace it with confidence! I’ve never had a single email or call telling me someone regrets taking a class with me! I have had a ton of messages from women wishing they had taken my classes. A great place to start is our free email course.
N: What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
L: The most rewarding part is meeting moms, reading emails, and seeing social shares about how our video classes have made a huge difference in someone’s experience. Our classes are excellent for both first-time and experienced moms. I’ve had so many moms who didn’t have a great experience the first time around and wondered if it could happen for them. I love when they take our classes and write that they learned so much, felt supported, and are on their way to reaching their breastfeeding goals. I also love teaching online and in-person.
N: What’s the #1 thing that you want people to take away from visiting your website?
L: With Lactation Link, I wanted to create breastfeeding education that was not only reliable and research-based, but also easily accessible. That’s why I created the 3 video classes (Breastfeeding Basics, Hurdles and How-to’s, and Pumping and Storing) and made them available to stream from anywhere, on any schedule. I feel that prenatal education should be more about smart and practical options, rather than lists of “dos” and “don’ts”. I believe that there’s not a one-size-fits-all way to being a great Mom. We all have different strengths, backgrounds, resources, and opinions. We may not all share the same political party, church group, or vision of what a family means. But we can all agree on one thing: We could all use a friend, a smile, a hug, a few words of encouragement, and a “You’re doing a great job.”
N: What are your lifesaving breastfeeding products? And baby products?
L: The great thing about breastfeeding is that you don’t need a bunch of stuff to get started. You’ve already got all the “equipment”! There were some things I found to be helpful and I also have my client favorites that make things just a little bit easier. Here are my top five breastfeeding products.
N: What’s your number one breastfeeding tip that you tell all of your clients?
L: For the first six weeks, make plans to: Make No Plans! With our fast-paced and digital society, women tend to feel more pressure than ever to get right back into daily routines after they deliver a baby. This pressure can have a negative impact on the breastfeeding relationship. Think of yourself as a kangaroo mama with a baby in your pouch. Lots of skin-to-skin time and feeding time. No clocks, no schedules. Just giving baby lots of practice with this new skill and having patience with yourself in your new role.
N: What do you want other women to know when it comes to breastfeeding?
L: All aspects of the perinatal period (before, during, and after delivery) leave an imprint on you that you won’t soon forget. The breastfeeding experience is part of that! I’m so committed to making the experience one that the mother can look back on with fondness and certainty she felt informed, supported, and confident. If you have goals to breastfeed for 6 months to a year, get as much info as you can beforehand and put some support systems in place. If you don’t want to breastfeed, I would still recommend taking a class. That way you can feel 100% confident in that choice!
N: What’s the greatest lesson (or lessons) that motherhood has taught you?
L: As a mom sometimes I’ve tried to control everything. I try to be the best I can all the time. But sometimes you have to take a step back. Sometimes you have to cancel your day and just relax with your kids. We have to learn to enjoy it day-by-day and one step at a time.
When my first was born, he had a club foot. I sat in the pediatric orthopedist’s office and was scared out of my mind! “Will he walk funny? Can he play sports? Will he need surgery?” In a series of treatments over five months his foot was corrected and now you can’t even tell. We can’t see the end from the beginning as a mom, we have to do the best we can each day!
N: What are your favorite things about being a mother?
L: It’s not all roses, but I love being a mom. I loved when both my babies were put on my chest and I got to meet them for the first time. My husband and sisters teased me that I wouldn’t let them go or share them! I love when my five-year-old starts a sentence with, “I gotta tell you something, mom. You’re not going to believe it!” I love it when my three-year-old brushes my hair. I also love looking back on the learning times. Both mom and the kids!
I love being a mom because I think it helps me relate better to our Lactation Link community. All our challenges as moms are unique, but sometimes knowing that others are going through hard things too and you have a lending ear is all you need! The tough times as a mom make the fun times that much sweeter!
N: As a veteran mama, what’s a piece of advice that you wish you would have known and would like to share with expecting moms and/or brand new mothers?
L: I don’t know about being a ‘veteran’, I would say my mom is the veteran! But having a few kiddos of my own and some experience under my belt, I would tell new and expectant moms that a mother’s intuition is very real! Only YOU know what’s best for your baby. No one can teach you that. It’s my hope that when mothers take my classes and gain confidence, that confidence helps them more readily tap into their innate mother’s intuition.
N: Who is your mommy inspiration and why?
L: My Mom and sisters! I’m the youngest of five girls and I have 18 nieces and nephews! My mom has always been there for us all, and we are there for each other. My sisters all have unique talents and careers, but I know their number one priority is their kids. I have loved watching my sisters as moms, and getting so much practice with their kiddos before having my own.
N: What are your greatest hopes for your children’s future?
L: I want to create experiences for my kids as they grow up so they understand the way we do things is just one way. There are all different kinds of people from all different places. Understanding more about different cultures, places, and ways of life can make it easier to work together. Everyone becomes relatable. I want them to be good people who work hard and have the chance to help others with their talents. I’d love them to be people who genuinely smile when they pass a stranger. And always come home for the holidays!
N: What are your greatest hopes for women and mothers everywhere?
L: I hope that we can support each other. I hope that we can inspire each other. I also hope we can recognize where help is needed and give it liberally. I still see too much of “I can’t believe you’d choose this for your kids”, and “just so you know, you should be doing this.” That’s not allowed on our instagram support forum. I’m so pleased with the community of over 40,000 moms that engage and support each other on that platform daily. We need more safe places to go with reliable information and genuine support.