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Episode 81: Birth & Preparing for Breastfeeding

, , August 31, 2022

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Jacqueline Kincer  0:03

Welcome back to the breastfeeding talk podcast. I’m your host, Jacqueline Kincer. And today, I have Stephanie king with us she’s a mama to three boys all born very differently, plus a bonus girl. And she’s a professional childbirth educator, doula and host of the pregnancy and birth Made Easy podcast, and creator of the online course my essential birth. She is passionate about empowering women through knowledge to trust in their bodies and the process of birth. When she’s not doing birth work. You can find her homeschooling serving in her church calling indulging in good food and company and spending time in the sun with her kids. Welcome, Stephanie.


Stephanie King  1:18

Thank you. I’m so excited to be here.


Jacqueline Kincer  1:19

Yeah, absolutely. I’m so excited to talk to you because birth and breastfeeding and postpartum. And all those things are so related, it really falls under this umbrella term of birth work. And you have such great experience and passion about all of those things. So I’m excited to dive into it and chat about birth with you.


Stephanie King  1:41

Yeah, me too. I know when we jumped on even before it’s like, that’s kind of the joke, right? Like you get to birth nerds together. And you can just talk for hours about all the right things.


Jacqueline Kincer  1:51

Yes, absolutely. Oh, my goodness, I feel like really before I became a lactation consultant, I got passionate about that form of birth work because I was pretty connected to my birth community, lots of midwives, and doulas. And while I wasn’t super interested in going through the pregnancy and birth process again, that soon after having one child, they taught me a lot about the postpartum process and how connected it really is. And I would say I’m really grateful to them, because they got me started and inspired to go on this journey to become a lactation consultant. So I’d love to hear how you got your start getting into this work.


Stephanie King  2:31

And I kind of love my own story, because I am so passionate about it. And it has brought me to do what I get to do today, which is serve other women who are going through that same process. And I know that I looked a lot to women who had been there prior to me. And so I think it’s such a beautiful thing that we both get to do where we’ve been through this process, and we’re like, Hey, we’re a little farther on the journey. And it’s gonna be okay, and follow me. You know, my first birth was an unnecessary Starion. The time I kind of assumed it was unnecessary, but I couldn’t claim why. And so when I was pregnant with my second baby, and I took really great birth classes, I realized why and there were a couple of red flags that came up. There were some things some knowledge and informed consent and issues that way that I was unable to, to take care of, because I didn’t have that knowledge with me. So with my second I actually we were overseas and the birth course that I wanted to take was there was one teacher and she was moving. They were PCSC because it was military. They were leaving the country. And I wasn’t pregnant. So I like begged her I was like please let me take your birth course before you leave. And so I actually took a birth course with my second baby before I was pregnant. We got pregnant during that time. And then I had that baby. It was my very first VBAC or vaginal birth after cesarean. But I didn’t have an unmedicated I had it with a with an epidural, which was fine. But my goal was always unmedicated. So come my third baby. And that baby ended up being born at home. It was not my first choice when we were trying to decide what to do, but because we ourselves were moving from overseas back to the United States, where there was one hospital in the area that we were going to be at, and they were like, Oh, we don’t do VBACs here, like you’ve had a cesarean before planned for another one. So I was like, no, like, I’ve worked too hard. So I found a home birth midwife. And this time I had a doula. And that changed my life. I gave birth to my baby at home, completely supported. Nobody telling me I was laboring too long, which I absolutely would have for hospital birth.


You know, nobody telling me I was pushing too long, which I absolutely would have for a hospital birth. And I had a really neat spiritual experience during that which I share as much as I can. But anyways, I was pushing in advance about four hours of pushing and my baby I was scared like I like it was those pushes where you’re like, you’re kind of like breathing through your nose. You’re not giving that full punch because you’re like, Oh, that’s a little uncomfortable. I don’t know that I can do this. Yeah. And my husband came downstairs. I told him like, go make To bed like I need to get out of the water, I was in the birth tub and like, go make the bed like this just needs to happen. So he goes, makes up the bed and comes back downstairs. And while he was making the bed, I had this desperate prayer. And I was like, Please Heavenly Father, I can’t do this on my own. And I’m scared, like, Please help me. And when my husband came back down, he was like, Okay, I’m going to grab you and help you out of the water. And I’m like, No, it’s happening. And sure enough, that baby was born to push us later. And it was the most incredible experience of my life, hands down. And so that’s what I was, like, you know, all the odds were against me, everybody along the way, all these people that told me I wasn’t going to be able to do this thing. And I did it. And I was like, if I can do this, anybody can do this. And so it was shortly after that, that I started teaching birth classes, and it spiraled into what it is today with an online birth course and a podcast. And anyway, I can reach women. So that was a really long story to get to the how I what I do today.


Jacqueline Kincer  5:56

I feel like I’m used to listening to long birth stories whenever I’m working with clients. So to me, that was actually kind of short, but so powerful, you know, and I think that your story is not uncommon, especially how it started out. Right? And yeah, it’s it. There’s all this involved, thinking, especially for first time moms afterwards, unpacking the birth, no matter how it went, maybe it went great. Maybe it didn’t, you know, maybe there were unnecessary interventions, like you had mentioned. And either way, I mean, my daughter’s birth was at home, and it was wonderful. It was everything I had wanted, and then some and I still had to unpack that, right. It’s a lot to process, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, all of the things physically, you got to heal from it no matter what. So yeah, there’s a ton there. And I love that you really took charge of your birth experience. And you got to have an incredible birth for your third, which is amazing not to discount the others. And now you’re teaching. So I would just love to hear a bit more about, you know, how, how you found the people that you’re working with, like listeners of your podcast, or people in your course? And what are the things that they’re often wanting to learn about birth? Like, why do they come to you? What are they seeking? Because I think sometimes people don’t even know where to begin. They don’t know what questions to ask. They know they want to learn, but they’re not really sure where to get started. So yeah, I’d love to hear some of those things.


Stephanie King  7:31

Yeah, I think it always amazes me when I have first time moms that find me. And they want to know about how to give birth and what their options are. Because I didn’t like I was like, no, like, you give birth with an OB and a hospital. And however they tell you to do it, or in my case, I was like, I’ll do an unmedicated it’s fine. And I’m sorry. Like, oh, like, I might need to know it contractions feel like and how to work through them. And like how the body anyways, there’s so much to learn. So yeah, it amazes me when first time moms come when they’ve got that curiosity, and they’re searching for podcasts that have anything to do with birth and stuff. But I think what a lot of moms come looking for is knowledge and empowerment. And to add to that, like confidence, kind of that confidence and empowerment that comes through knowledge. And I think, I don’t know, I think some of that there’s curiosity there.


And maybe what they don’t realize they’re looking for, is understanding everything on the backend that goes into getting those two things, right. So like they have in their head, like their idea of what birth should look like for them. And that’s what they’re interested in. But what I love is the all the learning that happens along the way, in fact, when the husbands or the birth partners take the birth course, that’s like my number one favorite thing is to hear back from them because they’re like, oh, like I didn’t, I didn’t know that. That’s so cool. Or I didn’t know, I could help out this way. You know, I didn’t know I could help her with meditation and relaxation, and being a hands on support, like I get to be part of this process, too. So I yeah, I think that’s really what they’re coming to me for. And a lot a lot of curiosity, and I love the curiosity. So it’s just that like repetition, right? And understanding that they’re in charge of their birth, probably number one, right? And how do we do that, like, you have to make sure that you’ve got a provider that you know, like trust, and that you know what you want for your birth so that you can have those conversations because if all you’ve got is an idea of birth in your head, that looks really pretty. And you pick the first provider on your list, or in my case, the one that was at the hospital near the beach, you know, you might not get what you want. There’s a little more more thought to


Jacqueline Kincer  9:36

that. Yeah, yeah, choosing the provider is is like that huge first step. And there’s a lot of things that need to come beforehand and the decisions you’re making and the choices that you want for yourself. So you know, it’s interesting to hear you talk about what, what people are going through and the partner support because to me that’s so paralleled with breastfeeding I often I get to do appointments, where the partners involved, and they love playing a hands on role. You know, I feel so sad a lot of the times when I see moms feel like they have to do this all on their own, like, yes, your body is the one giving birth or making milk. But that doesn’t mean that someone else can’t be a part of that and help out.


And one of the things I’m super passionate about, obviously is, like you mentioned, people choosing a provider for birth, like that’s sort of a given, right? I mean, there’s definitely people that you know, want a free birth, but that’s the minority. So people are intentionally choosing a provider and being very selective, hopefully write about birth, when it comes to postpartum and breastfeeding. I don’t hear a lot of conversation about having a provider lined up for you afterwards. And I think that’s why we see so many struggles. And it’s not to say that you can’t do this on your own. Because absolutely just like birth, you can for sure, do this on your own. Do most people feel more confident and assured? And like to have someone there to to help them and coach them and recognize problems before? Maybe they’re able to? Absolutely yes. Why would we not want that postpartum, which kind of leads me to the conversation that I think is really worth having, which is, you know, how your birth goes is often a great indicator of how your postpartum will go. And you’re such an expert and so much experience personal and otherwise with birth. I would love to dive into that. And just have you talk about birth and, and even planning for the birth and all of that and how that impacts the postpartum and breastfeeding.


Stephanie King  11:33

Yeah, you know, a lot of times when women are looking at birth courses, and this can be this is kind of why I got into creating what I created today, I used to teach a separate birth course. And I taught it in my home. And it was a very unmedicated, you know, natural, all of that kind of stuff, birth course. And one of the problems that I had was the moms that it didn’t go that way for them, they ended up choosing or getting a cesarean or meeting or choosing an epidural not choosing necessary choosing or getting an epidural ending up with a cesarean birth, something that was not on their plan at all. Those women didn’t even necessarily want to come to the like postpartum everybody’s had their baby, okay, let’s like come and tell birth stories or if they did came, you could feel like they felt shame.


And there’s a, I don’t know, there’s a couple of things in there. But I absolutely those women, you look at them and like how they felt postpartum, how they connected with other people, even like eyes, and body language and all of that, or with their babies or with their partner versus those who like have this great experience. And they were like, so excited to share with the world. Absolutely, that’s going to change all kinds of things postpartum. But the big thing about that, as I was mentioning, is it’s not all about having an unmedicated birth, that’s not what’s going to make a birth good or bad, or, or whatever. And so I think it’s really important that as women are choosing their birth paths, or like, we kind of have them create a birth map, right, like not a plan, like plans are great, but it’s probably going to change, like something on that plan isn’t gonna go, like anything we do in life. And so it’s kind of like we have this end destination that we’re definitely gonna get to, which is we’re gonna have a baby. But there is there’s a lot of like, Ray will come out eventually, right? Eventually, like, even if you don’t believe that, even if you’re past your due date, yes, this baby will leave your body at that point. And so I’m like, there’s a lot of things that can go into that as we’re talking about it. The other thing that I enjoy, though, is when women do take the course, or we’re talking about birth, and like say that they are planning for a medicated experience, which is great, like, there’s time and place for an epidural. And if that’s what you choose to do, I’m going to tell you how to make it so good and less intervention and all that stuff, right.


But along the way, a lot of women start to realize, but if I don’t want the epidural, I can do it without. And that’s huge. Because there are other things that come along with an epidural, for example. There’s medication that mom’s gonna get, right. So we know that an epidural and MZ like from the waist down or like from the belly down. And then along with that, like you have to have an IV and there’s probably going to be some Pitocin involved because once you kind of numb things and the contraction stops, so you have to recreate contractions, and it can prolong the process. And mom maybe not like being in a good position or having to move one way or the other. And just like the whole thing is stress for moms stress for baby. And so if you can either shorten that amount of time or as moms See, like actually, I think I’m strong enough to give birth without an epidural. And that’s I would like to try that first then that can create you know, some different things for the for the birth itself as well as postpartum. And then the other parts like you talked about as involving the partner, like if that you guys made this baby together, like there’s so much work that goes into that, you know, communication and love and sexy things and, and all of that that goes into it. That should transfer into that birth process. If done right. Birth is a very bonding experience, but I’ve also been a doula where dads are in the corner on the phone, you know, scrolling away or talking to family or checking the game or taking a nap and moms getting support from me, but there’s no connection.


And so if we can work on that prior like, okay, dad, you know, what is it that she, like when she’s feeling really stressed out, or when she’s feeling a lot of pain, like what comforts her and having them discuss that and working together on meditation and relaxation, like little things that seems so silly prior. But then when it’s go time, and Dad’s got his hands on tools, because guys are fixers naturally, like they want to be able to jump in and help and support and love when when you do that, then you’ve got this, like bonding experience. And that has nothing to do with if mom has an epidural, or whatever else, like you guys are in this together. And we absolutely see the transfer of that postpartum and to how all everything that happens postpartum, right, like some moms don’t even know, for example, I would hope if they’re listening to your podcast, they do. But like, some moms don’t know that right? After you give birth to your baby, you can have them immediately skin skin, like, oh, that’s an option. Like my doctor said, he doesn’t do that. Well, that’s nice, but it’s your baby. Your doctor doesn’t do that either find another doctor or let that doctor know you will be doing that, you know. So yeah, but the it’s true that, you know, if we utilize things like epidural, if if Pitocin is involved, that can affect because they are messing with home hormones and things like that it can affect the experience itself, because sometimes maybe we’re choosing epidural, and it wasn’t on the list, but we don’t we weren’t prepared for that. So then mentally and emotionally were feeling like oh, I failed, or Oh, I didn’t do well. Like that’s not something good to bring into postpartum.


But then to you’ve got like the physical effects of it. So like Pitocin is an artificial form of oxytocin, which is the love hormone, the bonding hormone, it also creates contractions. And so if we’re, if we’re using other if we’re using synthetic forms of that than it actually like, there’s studies that show it can, it decreases bonding postpartum, and it can, it absolutely has an effect on breastfeeding, and the longer use during labor, you versus just like the third stage. And third stage, meaning after you give birth, and we’re working on the birth of the placenta, a lot of times, even if you haven’t had any medication Pitocin is given so that they’re like, Oh, we want to make sure that that uterus is really tight and contracts down and expose the placenta. So we don’t have postpartum hemorrhage. But a lot of times the body will do that on its own and not need that help. And then we’ve interfered in a way that is not a physiological norm. And that can mess with breastfeeding too, or affect breastfeeding in one way or another. And, and bonding in general, not just breastfeeding, but that’s part of it.


So yeah, I think those decisions that we make, like having the knowledge prior that of how these things work makes a huge difference, for how we feel about the birth after and our role in it. Because and you’ve probably heard this before, maybe you’ve even said it before, but like, truly, it’s how we’re made to feel afterwards. Like that’s what we remember, as women after we give birth, it’s we don’t look back. And then like the contractions were this far apart for this, like, we don’t analyze it like that we’re like, I felt so loved and supported. And I knew I could do it, or that doctor really didn’t pay attention to what I was saying. And I didn’t want to do that. And this didn’t go this way. Because like there’s two sides of this. And it all comes down to like how we were made to feel and those relationships that happen along the way. And that all affects our postpartum and how we’re going to handle life as a mom, as a new mom born ourselves. Right. So yeah, that’s part of it.


Jacqueline Kincer  18:27

Oh, it’s so true. It’s so true. Everything you’ve said is is so so much like, wisdom. And you know, I just wow, I think it also comes down to that partner support, right? If, because it has a lot to do with how you’re made to feel. If you have a partner who’s been involved with the preparation for the birth and is active with you during that labor process and birthing process, and they see the incredible capability of your body, no matter how that birth went. They’re usually in awe of you and like, wow, you know, and now they’ve gotten intimate with your body and new ways and they’re prepared for all the things that will happen postpartum too, right? It’s kind of like once you see your child’s head come out of your partner’s body whether it’s through the belly or the vaginal canal that you know kind of that’s it that’s it right so a bloody scabs nipple or whatever is not as scary. And they’re not like oh my goodness, what’s happening to your body? Yeah, but no, they they get it now. They totally get it now. And so think


Stephanie King  19:40

of it like that. But that’s so that’s such a perfect like, here’s your introductions, so you need to be chill about what happens next.


Jacqueline Kincer  19:46

Yeah, I mean, come on. You know, you’re like you you you poop yourself while you’re pushing that baby out. Like maybe the nurse gets in there and wipes it away really quick or the doula or the midwife but I saw post I think it was yesterday. Today on Instagram, and it said something about like, everybody poops during labor. And if you think you didn’t you have a really good nurse to think.


Stephanie King  20:10

So perfect.


Jacqueline Kincer  20:11

Yes. Oh my goodness, awesome. But yeah, wild, wild things are happening to our bodies. And then Tada, there’s a new life in front of you. How cool is that? So I love what you said to you about just not there’s interventions, and they have a time and a place, or you choose them. And, you know, there’s some feelings, you’ll have to process around that right either way. And, you know, those can affect physiological things. I think the important thing to know is that if you understand how those things affect your body and your baby’s body ahead of time, then even though it can negatively affect things after the birth, it doesn’t mean that those it now completely derails everything, though, like you said, I don’t know if you’re prepared for what could happen during birth, and you understand what Pitocin can do and how it affects that process and all of that, then when you go into it, you know, okay, this is what to expect you’re not, you know, suddenly surprised, and like, Whoa, I didn’t realize that was going to, you know, speed up contractions to the point and they’re so painful. And now I need an epidural. Like, you’re prepared because you’ve got information from Stephanie. But if so, if you know how those things affect birth and the postpartum, then you’re prepared and you can handle it. And that’s really honestly, I feel like it’s like, 80% of the work, right? I mean, you have maybe more, I don’t know, but but if you know what to expect, which is huge. And it’s really just informed consent. Right? So like, maybe you could define that. What does informed consent mean to you? And when you’re teaching people


Stephanie King  21:43

about this? Yeah, that’s my soapbox. I love informed consent is my big thing. And I actually saw on a on a midwife’s Facebook group recently where she talked about informed choice, kind of like redefining it, like and stop saying consent, which I’m like, I unders, I see both sides, like at some point you do have, you’re still here to consent. But then it gets to be your choice. And so informed consent means that there are different options provided to you. And you get to decide yes or no on them with having all of the benefits and risks available to you at the time of consent or at the time of making that decision. So in a nutshell, that’s really what that looks like, and kind of how you talked about and it’s why I’m so big on education, because this is what made the difference for me, you know, with that first baby. When I came into to the hospital, I had a little trickle of amniotic fluid. It started happening in the middle of the night. Of course, I called the hospital and I was excited. They’re like Feel your belly. Does it feel like you’re having any contractions? Okay, make sure you come in. I come in, they test it. Yes. And I wasn’t having contractions like they were they were like, so mild, I had to be stopped and like pushing on my belly to be able to tell, you know, and so the nurse comes back and she’s like, your doctor says you need Pitocin. And I said, Did he use the word need? I didn’t know much about anything at that point. But I remember asking that very clearly it did. He used the word need. And she goes, Well, let me go ask him. And I’ll come back, she comes back. Yes. He says you need Pitocin. And I said, Oh, okay.


And at that time, I thought, Oh, I must need Pitocin. And what happened with that baby is when I had the Pitocin, they couldn’t crank it up high enough to have the contractions be strong enough to be able to dilate my cervix and have a baby because my baby wasn’t handling the Pitocin. Well, well, that wasn’t nobody told me that my baby might not handle the Pitocin. Well, that’s not informed consent. And so I ended up with a cesarean birth because I had a baby who was under distress at that point. And there was nothing we could do, it was too far into what we had done. And so that is, that’s where it comes back to having the knowledge. And a lot of times, even if they’re trying to give you all the information during labor. Imagine being in a position where you’re working really hard, you’re really having to focus on something. And I mean, I’ve closed lots of energy, having to breathe through something and someone’s trying to give you all of the good and bad and whatever else and expect you to make an educated decision in that moment. That’s not even fair to a laboring Mom, it’s why they have you sign epidural paperwork on your way in to the hospital before you’re in hard labor.


They want you to sign it when you’re a little more clear headed and in advance which I have my own issues about. But the point being if you’re being asked to make big decisions during labor, and you don’t understand what that could mean for you prior it’s really going to be a hard thing to do. So if you have the knowledge of these are the situations that can happen during birth, for example. So we have like this, we call it our birth plan priority game within the birth course. And I’m like okay, you’re gonna set up cut out these things. You’re gonna set out your purpose. Vicksburg may be that no IV freedom of movement, I’m wearing my own clothes I can eat during labor, no a pz, Artemi, no, IV, whatever it is. And I’m like, Okay, now your birth gets going. And for one reason or another, you have to flip a couple of these decisions. And I want you to flip over three, or however many. You’re like, oh, okay, not that big of a deal. All right, I guess I don’t need to use the shower. You know, I guess I don’t have to walk around here. I guess I’ll take the IV. I don’t have to I have to, you know, my own clothes, or whatever. Well, I do that two more times. I’m like, Okay, well, now flip these around now. And by the end, they’re like, oh, like, and like, how do you feel about that birth? And they’re like, a lot of times, it’s I don’t feel that good about it. I sit and it’s like, okay, but what is, every time you had to make a decision, every time you had to flip a card, every time and birth that you had a choice? Somebody asked you and you made the decision that this is the choice that I’m making?


How do you feel about that birth men. And it’s a big difference. Because if we are involved in the process, if we’re involved and in charge of our birth throughout the labor process, then how we feel about it in the end is going to be different than a birth that was done to us because we weren’t educated on those decisions. And that makes a huge difference. That’s why people hire doulas, right? That’s where they have a third party in there that can say, here’s what just happened. Here’s what the nurse recommended, because that’s really what she’s doing. If it’s a real emergency, and there’s something happening right now, it’s going to be a code, whatever, and you’re gonna have five people in your room before you know it, you’re not gonna have time to say anything. Otherwise, this is what the nurse just said, Here’s what what your options are regarding what she just said, What do you want to do, and just having that little like, angel on your shoulder voice of reason, can make the difference between a birth that you love and a birth that you feel sad about. So informed consent is huge.


Jacqueline Kincer  26:55

It is and it’s, it’s everywhere in life, if you’ve never, if you’ve never gotten used to this, or haven’t used this skill, or developed that it’s never too late. So it doesn’t matter. I mean, I even think of like, you know, just my grandparents, all four of them, you know, end of life in the hospital with whatever’s going on. Right. And, you know, the, the doctor will say, well, here’s what I’m recommending, and you’re like, Okay, great. So what would happen if we don’t do that? That’s the immediate next question. Right? Like, what are both sides of the coin here? Uh, yes, you’re a doctor, I trust that you are making some sort of medically sound recommendation. Okay. Tell me more about that. And then what would happen if we don’t do that? Or what are our other options? And these are just questions you can ask, you know, to your baby’s pediatrician, once they’re born to, you know, your, your mother’s doctor, when you’re taking care of her in her old age, right, all of these things, you know, to your next world check that you’re doing and whoever, whoever it is, you know, and it’s a valuable, really valuable skill, I can always tell the families that I’ve worked with that are like, they took a really solid birth class, or they’ve been through this, and they’ve decided like that they’re going to go down this path. And so I’ll make some sort of, you know, a recommendation about breastfeeding. And they’ll say, okay, great. What would happen if I don’t do that? It’s not that they don’t believe me, right? It’s not that they’re like being resistant to my advice. I never take it that way. Because I don’t have an ego about it. Like, no, that’s a really good question. Here’s why I’m recommending that it gives me an opportunity to explore some people want the explanation. Some don’t. Some are like just just telling you what to do. I’m done. I’m exhausted. And that’s okay to like, if you know that about you. You’re like, just just give me the stuff. Give me the drugs. Just get the baby out. Yeah. Right. I think we all have like that moment and birth and then like, it can pass but but yeah, I think it’s so important. These are critical life skills, like what people can learn through pregnancy, about pregnancy and birth and postpartum these will serve you through your entire life, right?


Stephanie King  29:04

Well, and there’s nothing like that, oh, bring it on, like having to make decisions for your unborn child. Like, if you don’t have the balls to do it for yourself, you will for your kids, you will go to bat for your kids like nothing else. And that just like you said, like it’s going to go into the rest of their pediatric life and all of that. So birth will do it to you.


Jacqueline Kincer  29:22

It will you’ll you’ll get fired up enough to to want to take care of things right to be the mama bear. I find that just so fascinating, because what you said about birth, it’s like, so you know, these things can happen. Right? And it doesn’t mean I think with birth we have that knowing of like the child will be born regardless, hopefully healthy and safe and alive. Right. And so that’s the end goal with breastfeeding. The end goal is a little less clear for most people, I would say because, you know, you don’t have to breastfeed to make sure that this child is healthy and safe and alive. So it becomes a little more fun. See, and that’s not to say that, you know, we should put breastfeeding on the same pedestal is birth. But they’re so closely entwined and so closely related. And so a lot of people’s backup plan when you know, the first thing goes wrong with breastfeeding is oh, I guess I just gotta get formula now. And it’s like, well, right, maybe we should be creating a breastfeeding plan or a map, as you’d like to call it. So how do you when you’re working with people, you’re obviously helping them prepare for the process of birth and all of that? What happens when you’re having that conversation or teaching with them about the postpartum and breastfeeding?


Stephanie King  30:34

Oh, that is? That is a good question. So part of when they’re creating their map does include postpartum and so that’s going to be at least for the birth plan part, that’s just going to be the immediate postpartum, what happens you know, directly after baby is born, which is you talked about is absolutely going to create some of that positive stuff for bonding. And if they’re choosing to breastfeed, then some of those first things that are going to make that successful. So that can be like things that have to do with beauty, right? Do you want immediate cord clamping, immediate skin to skin? Do you want to have the baby at your breast? Do you want all the checkups Do you on your chest? Do you want to have that hour of that golden hour that we talked about all that kind of thing. The other thing that we really try to encourage moms to prepare for and this is we’re in the works right now creating a postpartum course, because we will do really well at preparing moms for birth. And then we you know, it’s a separate conversation to like, Okay, I have my baby at home. Now what that postpartum is like, it’s not it’s for baby. And it’s also for Mom, how are you preparing yourself? What does that look like for you? And just like we have, so with moms, when I’m helping them prepare their, you know, how are we going to get from point A to point view with birth? It’s like, I want you to pause for a moment and envision what your perfect birth looks like to you. Who’s in the room? Where are you? What’s the feeling, or the LightStim?


Like it is as deep and as detailed as you can. And then we work back with the like, okay, so that means you want this and this and this, and this, how does that sound? And that means you need to find a provider that’s going to support these things. And you’re gonna have to ask these questions, right, I would have to say it’s the stigma of postpartum you know, one of the first things you mentioned the pediatrician, you know, a lot of moms don’t know, like, if you don’t pick your pediatrician, before you get to the hospital have a baby, then you’re gonna get whichever pediatrician is there. It’s the same with a lactation consultant or an ibclc, you know, you’ll get who’s on the floor, which they may be great, it might be the right one for you. And they might give you advice that makes it harder for you to breastfeed or feel like you’re failing. And so you’ve got to have somebody kind of in your back pocket that way. Same with like, if you choose to have a postpartum doula or something like that. So I would say that same thing exists kind of envision you’re taking your baby home, what does that look like for you? You know, what, is that? Perfect? Are you breastfeeding? Really? Well, you know, are you passing some of that time off to dad and he’s able to give a bottle, okay, so that means she might be pumping? Like, you got to work through those, like, what is my vision of taking care of myself and my baby postpartum look like? And then work back from there? You know, who do I need to involve? Who’s my backup person? You know, do I have Jacqueline’s number and information, you know, whatever that looks like, and yeah, and then work back and make sure that you’ve got your people in line.


Jacqueline Kincer  33:16

Yeah, it’s so important. And not only just thinking through that for yourself, and then hopefully writing it down to really express how you’re thinking and feeling and your wants and desires. But also communicating that to your partner, I definitely hear from a lot of moms that they were just so surprised and feel so completely unsupported by their partner. And now I get it, because I’ve also been there. But you know, you can’t put all the blame on the partner. Certainly, I do think, right, some is valid, where it’s like, Dude, your wife just had a baby, like, what did you expect was going to happen right now? Like, she has spent 910 months however long growing this baby and her body went through massive changes, she is not going to be the same person when you come home. If she’s not, and even if she was she’s now a mom, right? And so in her dad, and you guys have gone through so much. So please don’t expect her to be doing certain things or not doing certain things. So there’s that and then you know, but it’s also like, Well, yeah, if you haven’t really thought about like, you have a vision in your head, whether or not you’ve really articulated it, right? It exists subconsciously. What do you imagine going on at home sitting on the couch and having someone bring you water and your mom’s coming over and making food for you?


Like, what is it? Well, you’ve got to talk to those people about it because your mission probably isn’t being home alone all day long by yourself with your puppy. So right well, those things right. And we do we do have to take like this sort of radical personal self responsibility for those things, because we cannot make those assumptions that everyone else is going to know what to do for us. It would be amazing if they did And you’re super blessed if they do, but don’t assume, right? Even, even if they’re like, oh, yeah, I was planning on doing that. Great. Well, that’s awesome. Problem solved, right? And if they’re like, oh, wow, okay, well, well, how am I supposed to fit that in? And how am I supposed to do that now you can have a conversation, and there’s not going to be these hurt feelings are feeling of being unsupported or, you know, just kind of spiraling, right. And I see that spiraling happen a lot. It takes, you know, one or two sort of negative things, and then all of a sudden, it’s Oh, my goodness, my world’s falling apart, which is easy to do with postpartum hormones. Right? It’s, it’s not your fault. It’s, there’s a lot going on.


Stephanie King  35:38

No, you hit on it, like right on the head, though, because and I’ve had my husband on the podcast about this before. And he, you know, I can say this out loud, because he admits it. But it was the same with birth for us that preparation wasn’t there until the third one, and then it was and then it was beautiful. But same thing, we didn’t have that communication. And it’s the same postpartum I was like, Oh, my gosh, what just Yes, I had this vision, and it didn’t exist. So I’m totally there with you. But it’s unfair to like, the difference, I think for us as moms is we just gave birth to that baby, like, we don’t have any other option. Or we’re hyper focused on making sure that this baby is fed and cared for and loved and protected. And for dads, it’s like, it’s Friday, I gotta get back to work on Monday, you know, like, they got a different set of things like they’re okay, I’m good. You know, even like, button, my husband waking up in the middle of the night. And he’s like, like, what, like, I got to work. And I’m like, You should be suffering with me. Like, you know, have you seen that, like, Michael Scott meme, where it’s just this, like, death stare, and it’s like me staring at my husband asleep at 3am. While I’m up at nursing, like, I’m like, Yes, that’s it. But you’re right, like lack of communication. And that’s exactly where it comes from. So if we’re not clear, very clear about what we’re needing, then we’re going to find those gaps. I’d say the other side of that is just like, kind of like a five legged love languages, or like Enneagram kind of thing, like knowing how you need help. So like Enneagram was like personality tests, five love languages are like ways that you give love and show love. So if no one’s familiar with that, go check those out. But we even did them for birth for like, if this, if you’re in any gram, three, we recommend your partner do this. And this and this, like pay attention here. You know, it’s the same postpartum, like, maybe your husband’s really good at like cooking meals and whatever else. But what you need is quality time to like, sit down with me hold the baby. So like, even that kind of communication. So making sure that you’re feeling loved and supported in the way that you need, I think can make a huge difference.


Jacqueline Kincer  37:33

Yeah, I love what you said about that communication. And I think too, if if you know ahead of time, and if you’re listening to this, and you are in the early, postpartum, or even later, postpartum, our bandwidth for communication as moms can be really low, because there’s so much going on intensely, our brains are changing in massive ways, right after giving birth, and you’ve got this slew of hormones, it can be very difficult to articulate your needs in that moment. And you may even struggle to know what those are. Because you’re thinking of these immediate things, like you just said about, you know, caring for this baby, making sure they’re fed, you know, are they breathing? Like, I mean, we there’s a lot, right, and that takes up so much of our mental energy. And so then a lot of moms feel sort of exhausted by that already. And they go and now I’m supposed to tell my partner what I need. Well, he should know. Yes, he should, but he won’t know unless you told him ahead of time. So like, definitely do a lot of prep, because you’re going to be so well set up not just for the birth that you want, or birth that feels empowering to you. Right, but also this postpartum experience that’s enjoyable for not just you, but your whole family right? Postpartum to me is this family experience? And I think that’s what you do such a good job of teaching people. Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, absolutely. So when you when you see people go through, do you still do the postpartum gathering with your courses and have them come together?


Stephanie King  39:09

They’re online now. So all of that happens within the Facebook group. So absolutely. When they come back and share their birth stories with all the photos and all the details and all that so I mean, yes, to an extent, but we don’t get together in person like I love to do.


Jacqueline Kincer  39:23

Yeah. Is that is so is that something that like someone who’s earlier on in the course and hasn’t given birth yet? Do they get to see that and hear from these women? Oh, about? Yeah.


Stephanie King  39:31

100%. Now, that’s one of like, their favorite things of jumping in early is like, yes. Oh, reading all the right stories and getting excited and having people who’ve been there before. So if you ask questions, like you’re not alone, there’s like, oh, and it’s so nice to as a new mom, when you’ve been through those things to be like you love supporting and helping other moms that are on their way, you know, just like you and I do what we do. It’s the same thing. So that I think there’s a lot of joy involved with that too.


Jacqueline Kincer  39:56

Yeah, absolutely. I find that you know, Stories of just learning from other people’s experiences, there’s so much that gets said, sort of between the lines, right? And so yes, you can read someone’s words, and you can see their photo, or some people even have videos and, and all of this and that’s so cool. But it’s like those other things that you pick up on, right, the tone in which they wrote this and, and how they feel about the birth, you can tell. And I just think that’s so powerful. We need to be sharing these things as women, right? I don’t think it’s quite enough to just read a book or take a class, right? You’ve got to have that community with other people who have already been there to some extent or going through it with you.


Stephanie King  40:41

Yeah, and who have had a positive experience, it’s going to be the same with breastfeeding, postpartum, whatever. You know, how often do we get together either for a baby shower or whatever, that’s a mom that’s coming up to giving birth. And all of a sudden, here come the very worst birth stories, and everybody’s working on topping each other, not realizing mom is weeks away from giving birth and taking all of that in. So yeah, I love I love it and like, share, share the positive stuff, get it out there, let them know birth isn’t scary and crazy and weird. Like you’re not a weirdo for trying to give birth out of a hospital or unmedicated or whatever way you choose to do it, you know, that? Just you should be supported all along the way. It’s the same with postpartum and breastfeeding, like you have a mom that’s breastfeeding her two and three year old. It doesn’t have to be weird. Like, it’s as weird as you want to make it. You know, and I would hope that other women are stepping in with their positive stories, like no, I’ve rested, but Fred Philly was for like, it’s fine. It’s great. This is normal for us. This is what works for us. I think you have to find that community just like you said it. I mean, even as adults now like I, you know, my kids are a little bit older. I have a teenager for Pete’s sake. And I’m like, yeah, I gotta find my community, you know, and I gotta find other moms who have been here before we do it the whole way up. And so hopefully, it’s positive experiences.


Jacqueline Kincer  41:52

Yes, yes, absolutely. Right. Just because someone’s a mom, I learned that early on in my parenting journey where I would join these moms groups because they were local, or they gave birth around the same time. And it just became very clear that, you know, it’s not that you want to put yourself in a bubble and not hear any other different ways of doing things. But I remember going to a mommy and me yoga class. And I had tried for a home birth with my son with my first and it didn’t work out. I ended up in the hospital. But I was pretty well prepped for what could happen and why. And I, you know, felt felt like I was making some educated choices. So that was great. So I go to this class, and I’m the only mom and they’re breastfeeding her baby. And when I my son kind of stirred I felt a little nervous. I hadn’t really nursed in public very often yet, but I will never forget, I latched them on, I just sat down on my mat. And this mom looked at me and she goes, you probably had a home birth, didn’t you? And I was like, wow. Like, why the smarc? And why is this? Like, why would you think that’s appropriate to say to anybody? Yeah. And why would you make an assumption? You know, like, it just, she just pegged me as this type, right? And yeah, it actually really alienated me, it didn’t make me want to go to any mom gatherings. I was like, oh, clearly, I need to be hanging out with people who have had home births, because maybe they’ll be nicer to me, which is how I got kind of in the birth community and all of that, right.


So I’m not, I don’t regret that. But all it takes is one nasty comment, like you said, at a baby shower right about someone’s choices. And you just I think if moms can just know one thing, there will always be somebody out there with a nasty opinion, that will judge you that will say something terrible to you, that will just rock you. I want you to know, there are a lot of other moms out there who are not like that, who are ready to accept you who do things differently than you and embrace you. And you’ve just got to find that community. And I think that’s the thing is that it’s not automatic. It’s very rarely automatic, that you will just be assigned to a loving, welcoming, accepted community in this day and age, right. We don’t live in multigenerational households, a lot of the time. We don’t live in smaller communities that are really tight knit and depend on that for our thriving and survival. We can get by with just being homebodies and going online for our free things. So be careful about where you create your community be intentional about it, I guess is what I would say. And you know, if there’s something that really resonates with you run with it, right? If you if you go listen to Stephanie’s podcasts are like oh my goodness, this is exactly what I need to prepare for my next birth. Great. Stick with her like, you know, let’s go find people like that right? Join the community because then you’re going to feel a lot better about your choices. You’re going to feel that freedom to make the choices that you want, as opposed to bending to someone else’s will or judgment


Stephanie King  44:58

that was so beautifully said I could not agree with you more 100% Yeah, I mean, groups are the devil, like I have a big, I have a serious beef with mom’s group. So yes, yeah. Be cautious about your mom’s groups. Yes,


Jacqueline Kincer  45:13

my mom’s group is different, I promise.


Stephanie King  45:17

That was mine. So as my, but like general, like, Oh, I’m gonna type in my city and a mom’s group, like, watch out. Don’t do it.


Jacqueline Kincer  45:25

Don’t do it. I ran one of those don’t do it. It was, I will tell you that. And I was so it was so stressful to manage a group like that. And you know, when I left, I think we had probably like, 3000 members or something. And it’s, it’s a little bit more than that now. And just I felt so like you, it’s like being a teacher of a kindergarten class, as a moderator as an admin to come in there and be like, just policing what everybody is saying and how they’re saying and how they’re interacting. And like, I shouldn’t have to do that you’re grown adults, right. And so finally, I was like, I, you know, I don’t have time for this, like, I have a practice, like, I just cannot devote my energy to this. And so I left and, you know, now that’s why, you know, people like you and I have gone and create created these intentional communities. Again, we’re not just trying to create this echo chamber, but we’re just trying to go, you know, you are safe. Here you are, you are welcome. We will not say nasty things to you. And that’s really it’s easy to do, but somehow uncommon.


Stephanie King  46:27

Yeah, no, I’m with you. I think. And I’ve said a lot to like those women that are out there, for example, just the birth stuff that are like talking about how much Oh, you’re you should get the epidural, you have no idea, this and this, and this happened to me, and all I’m hearing the whole time is you have a lot of trauma, and you need to be able to process that. So you’re trying to say that out loud. Not realizing exactly, you know, and so I think if we can look at it like, okay, clearly you have some unresolved, and they’ll look over here and kind of, you know, take it take what you like, leave the rest kind of thing and take it with a grain of salt and a little little protective. But we’ve even come up with like, you know, I’d love to hear your birth story if it’s gonna be positive. To have some, you know, yes, please tell me the positive parts of your birth story, because I’m coming up to my own. And I would like to take the positive and not have the negative,


Jacqueline Kincer  47:15

huh? Yes, that’s such good advice. Right. And, and it’s easy to have this like, sort of airing of grievances. Like you said, it’s it’s also a chain reaction. We’re almost trying to best one another with how horrible things have gone, you know? Yeah, I was in a car accident. Yeah, me too. And I lost a leg. Like, it’s like, Whoa, I mean, why are we doing this to ourselves, you know, and but yeah, it is. It’s, and I get it, like, I understand how trauma works. And clearly you do too, right. So when people have gone through something traumatic, whether or not they personally would label it that way, their brains are wired in a different way now. And what they’re trying to do is, is not only protecting themselves from that trauma repeating itself, but they’re also trying to protect everyone else around them. And unfortunately, that comes with these like dire warning sometimes right of Oh, my goodness, you don’t want to not have that epidural, because their pain was traumatic to them. Right. And so, you know, maybe we could avoid that.


Stephanie King  48:10

Yeah, that’s the dragging each other down, rather than building each other up. So what I hope you’re gonna find are the people that are really positive and like, oh, I had this great birth story, or Oh, I like breastfeed all the time. I can help you with that, or something that’s like, Oh, yes, I’m like, I’ve been successful at this thing. Let me boost you up. You know, those two, it’s like polar opposites. So yes, I hope your community I hope, all women, especially, you know, going through birth and becoming new moms and into their postpartum are finding those communities that just build them up, because we all need it. And I mean, it’s not the status like some of these moms group, you’re like, we’re all moms. We’re all just trying to figure this out, like, be nice to each other. And so yeah, it’s huge. It’s huge if you can find, because what difference does it make, you know, when you do find those positive people you like, cling on to it, and you feel successful as a mom, and you feel like you can be a good wife, and it just makes all the difference? So


Jacqueline Kincer  49:00

it’s huge. Oh, it is that’s so well said, you know, I can’t think of any better way to prepare for bringing a child into this world, other than following that advice. So thank you for that. And Stephanie. You’re doing such great work in this world. And I love that people do not have to be local to get access to you and everything that you offer. So definitely check out Stephanie’s podcast, pregnancy and birth Made Easy. Check out her online course if you’re heading into you know, a second pregnancy or birth experience or you’re thinking about it. I know a lot of people, especially these days, it seems definitely I feel like there was a trend to having like one child and now I’m seeing it go the other way and people are having a lot more children which I think is great. So she’s got this incredible course my essential birth. Check that out. I’ll have everything linked up in the show notes. Any last words from you, Stephanie, any wisdom you want to impart or anything you want to share? Maybe chat about the postpartum course you’re working on for just a minute to


Stephanie King  49:59

Oh, You guys will be the first to hear it is super secret Not really. But yeah, we just like I said, love to prepare women for birth. And now we want to kind of move that into the motherhood side of things. So it’ll have a portion on, you know how to take care of yourself those first 2448 72 to the first six weeks, what you can expect for your baby when you take them home, there’s a section on babywearing, we might even do a belly binding, postpartum thing, nutrition exercise, just kind of all the like how we get back into things postpartum will be coming. But overall, I love what you do, too. I think that breastfeeding is just that next portion of what we’re becoming we’re being birthed as ourselves into being a mother. And this is kind of like that next flow. Okay, how are we going to feed and love on and protect and take care of this baby? So? No, I’m just really grateful to be here. I’m grateful to speak with your audience and grateful to chat with you and have our relationships. So thank you. Yeah, absolutely.


Jacqueline Kincer  50:58

Thank you so much for sharing everything you have. It’s just great to have these conversations around this time and our lives as mothers, and it just deepens that understanding. So it’s been a pleasure.


Stephanie King  51:11

Yeah, same. Thank you.



In this episode, Jacqueline is joined by Stephanie King. Stephanie is passionate about empowering women through knowledge to trust in their bodies and the process of birth. Stephanie is a mom of 3 all born very differently, plus a bonus girl. She’s a professional childbirth educator, doula, and host of the Pregnancy and Birth Made Easy podcast and creator of the online course My Essential Birth.

As an expecting mother, we spend so much time preparing for pregnancy and labor, that we oftentimes find ourselves very unprepared and lost when it comes to postpartum and breastfeeding.

In this show, we talk about:

  • How Stephanie’s births impacted her and how that informs her work today
  • Things to consider when creating your birth plan and designing your breastfeeding and postpartum experience
  • What informed consent really is and why it’s important
  • Why moms end up with grief surrounding their birth and what to do about it
  • The power of finding a powerful and intentional community around breastfeeding

A Glance at This Episode:

  • [2:27] How Stephanie got started in birth work
  • [7:03] Why people seek out Stephanie and where one would get started
  • [11:17] How planning your birth impacts postpartum and breastfeeding
  • [21:33] What is informed consent
  • [30:22] How Stephanie works postpartum and breastfeeding with her clients
  • [43:25] Finding an intentional supporting community and having a support system of like-minded people who have been through similar situations


Related Links:

  • ? If you are truly struggling with breastmilk production, check out our Advanced Lactation Formula supplement or consider booking a Low Milk Supply Consultation or Pumping Consultation with us
  • ? Looking for more trusted knowledge and a deep dive on how to know what’s what with breastfeeding and how to overcome problems? Check out our support community The Nurture Collective®