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Episode 94: Lessons in Lactation Support: 25+ Years Helping Breastfeeding Moms with Gina Nigro, IBCLC

, , , January 19, 2023

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Jacqueline Kincer 0:39
Welcome back to the Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I’m your host Jacqueline Kincer. And today I am joined by a wonderful guest, Gina Nigro. If you don’t know Gina, she’s amazing and you’re gonna get to know her on this episode. Gina is actually part of our team at Holistic Lactation, seeing clients virtually and doing appointments for us and she’s just such a gift to everyone that she’s helped the reviews that we’ve gotten from clients and surveys they filled out after working with her has been nothing short of exceptional. So I’m very excited to bring Gina on the show today.

And Gina for some background information. She has been assisting breastfeeding mothers in person for over 25 years and now she’s doing telehealth all over the world. And she understands that while many pregnant mothers expect to breastfeed almost none receive preparation for the possible difficulties and the roller coaster of emotions when things are not working. Like many new moms, Gina had her first baby and she was overwhelmed by conflicting information at the hospital at the pediatrician and from well meaning friends and family. Gina had a realization that she would have missed out on the experience of pain free breastfeeding had it not been for the support that she received, which led her to want to pay it forward and help others. So she first trained as a volunteer breastfeeding counselor in Houston, Texas, then as a birth, doula and Amsterdam, the Netherlands and finally sat for the exam to become an ibclc, and Seville, Spain. She continues to lead monthly breastfeeding support meetings online and in person. And Gina believes that all mothers deserve quality, emotional and education support. So they can have an amazing experience breastfeeding their babies. I love all of these things about Gina. And I’m so excited. So thanks for being here. Welcome.

Gina Nigro 2:28
Thank you. I’m happy to be here.

Jacqueline Kincer 2:30
Yes, I’m so excited to chat to you. Because you have done so many different things in so many different places when it comes to breastfeeding. And my goodness, you know, lived in, you know, on two different continents, and you recently moved within your own country to so you’ve been around the block. And what I love is that I’ve learned so much from you and your approach. And I’m sure it’s changed over time. So even though I kind of gave that intro to the listeners, I’d love to hear more about, you know how you got your start, you know, you probably didn’t grow up thinking I’m going to be an ibclc. So like you became a mom is that what started things for you. Because I’d really love to hear more about your past and your experience.

Gina Nigro 3:14
I think like most mothers, when I had my first child, I was really focused on the birth. And we don’t really get a chance to see birth. I don’t know many women who have actually seen a birth before they birth their first baby. Clearly in some cultures, that’s different. But when I was living in Houston, Texas, I was just all about the birth. And I find that when mothers have a baby, they do find out they have that feeling wow, I was so focused on getting the birth right. And it often kind of deviates a bit out of our control. Often things that we didn’t expect happen. And it’s kind of one and done. You had your baby. And that’s it. But every day, many times a day, many times that night, you find yourself trying to figure out how to get things going smoothly with your baby. And that was

Gina Nigro 4:23
I remember when I had my first baby and I was a teacher. I was teaching bilingual kindergarten in Houston. And my colleagues came to see me and I just remember feeling like such a mess that I couldn’t get all put together. They were bringing me gifts and I thought oh, my baby’s gonna breastfeed and it’s gonna look like we’re suffering. And I was just distraught. And I had the help of my mother in law. She came to help us I had a maternity leave the basic six weeks here in Spain where I live, it’s like four months, so I feel like oh six weeks is cruel and unusual, but that

Gina Nigro 5:00
It was the beginning of me looking for help in a mother group and being blown away by how much help I got, and how giving the people were. Hmm.

Jacqueline Kincer 5:12
Yeah. Wow. I mean, I think what you described is, sadly still the experience that mothers are living today. And it’s also basically echoes my experience when I first became a mom as well. So that’s interesting. And I didn’t really speak up for months, I knew it was longer than the US. But that’s a lot better than we get here. You know, I know sometimes people get, you know, three months here, but it’s still not always so. So you found a, was it a breastfeeding support group, a mom support group? What was it exactly,

Gina Nigro 5:49
I found a literally group and they really helped me and help gave me information about pumping and going back to work. And all of my close contacts and friends hadn’t been so successful breastfeeding, one friend, a friend of my sisters told me by two months, it will be smooth going, and I was I don’t have to. So you know, we have such a mother sensitivity, when things aren’t going well, we tend to think it’s our fault. And when I wasn’t able to really get the pumping going and feeling like I could leave two bottles a day when I went back to my teaching. And the literally group was helping me, I, this was all my feelings. And so I can understand when we’re not making a mother feel anything, but it comes within her own, Oh, am I doing the best for my baby. I remember thinking at the mother meetings, wow, all of these mothers are home with their babies. And they may not have, they might have been about to go to work, too. You don’t really know everyone’s situation. But I was so self focused on was I doing the right thing for my baby. And I just felt like, once I went back to work, I couldn’t go back to that group, and be a mother who wasn’t at home with my baby. And of course, we all know that babies just need our love and care. And we can go to work. And we can combine breastfeeding and working. But I ended up going to a meeting at night. And I found my tribe of pumping mothers talking about which pump you burn up. And, of course, we didn’t know half the things we know now about pumps, I wish I would have known. And I just felt like those people just became really close friends. So you know, I guess the the lockdown and the pandemic with COVID really showed us and studies that mothers being at home and without having as much contact with people previously had a much higher rate of postpartum depression, I mean, remote contact or face to face contact. Both are helpful. And knowing that it really helps me see, gosh, I didn’t need to study when I went to my support group. When I was back at work. I knew the empowerment that they gave me, I felt like these people understand me, I’m trying to pump. It’s hard. I’m managing. My mother in law was trying to help me and she said, you just have to stay home, this baby’s too tiny. I never went to work. And you know, I thought that’s not my life circumstance right now I need to be working. And of course, I felt very guilty, even when my baby was with his grandmother.

Jacqueline Kincer 8:52
So what I really hear you saying about sharing this community that you connected with, you found other moms who are going through something similar to you and you got support just sounds like even just by virtue of being around them, and hearing all the things that that they were going through, whether it was pumping or those sorts of things. So I agree, you know, to your point about the pandemic, and like you said, we don’t need a study to show this right. But isolation is not good for new mothers, very problematic for them, you know, getting breastfeeding off to a good start improving breastfeeding, sustaining it. So I know you’re one who seems to have really just made an effort to like, you know, pay it forward and give back over the years and support groups are something that you’re really passionate about that you do really well. So I would love to hear more about that and how, you know if there was something more about you being in a group like that for yourself, or you know how you even started your own support groups and what that looks like.

Gina Nigro 10:03
That’s that’s such a broad question yet it really gets to the heart of the support groups and what they give the mothers that come. And those that work, bleeding the dynamic of the support group. And, like you, I’ve trained in Lecce League, and we there’s really a big emphasis. I think their strength, the strength of Alecia league is really giving us a good training and active listening. Understanding that when people come for help, they need to feel comfortable and listen to before they can really open up and say, a problem that they might have some shame attached to. And as mothers, we feel we’re failing our babies, or we’re not a good enough mother. And we just don’t understand I sometimes I say, you know, no one can tell a kid, let me give you the secrets to not going through adolescence, it’s gonna be hard, and they have to do it. And I think that new motherhood is kind of like that, the rewards are just sooner, it seems like it takes forever. But after those first few months, once you get into a rhythm, it’s just such a delightful, I think that time when things aren’t going well, at the breast with baby at the breast is just really special and almost like easy. And I didn’t know this could be so sweet. After struggling so much.

Jacqueline Kincer 11:42
I was just interviewed on a podcast that is not about breastfeeding, but it’s called the inspired artists podcast. And it’s a friend of mine that I connected with in a birth class that we both took when we were pregnant with our first children, both boys, and it’s kind of funny, we had very divergent lifestyles, but yet so many similar things happen for us. And one of the things that she talked about on the show was that sweet spot that you get to with nursing that it just becomes this magical thing that it’s not I never heard her talk about the milk or the growth or the health of the baby. It was just this, you know, very special, magical thing when it’s fine connection. Yeah. Yeah. And so when, when I hear mom’s talk about that, right, that’s what it’s about. And like, what like what you’re saying. So I just, I wanted to take a moment and just kind of draw that point out, because it’s so fun.

Gina Nigro 12:41
And it’s interesting to how you have maintained the connection with that mother that you met in the time of birth. And the connections that we formed with other mothers, when we’re going through this are really special. So I’m, I really cherish my friendships. And when I moved to Madrid, in Spain, from Houston, and I was a little league leader with two other women, one from Nicaragua and one from France. And they were just, I consider them my best friends and I just adore them. And when you share the closeness, of mothering and helping other mothers, yeah, it’s, it’s really connecting. And I think, you know, we all know that not all breastfeeding experiences are ideal or just blissful. And sometimes they don’t go as we want. But when the guidance is such that women realize that the baby once baby’s mother, as long as the mother’s there, that’s so much more important than anything else. And the mother really values what she’s doing, raising her child and growing her little baby, and she senses her importance in and one of the groups when I moved to Seville in Spain, there was a mom, who had a ruptured appendix. And she went to the hospital and her baby was little. And you know, sometimes the health care professionals aren’t so careful of if the baby is breastfeeding. And she said, Wait, of course, when you have an appendix problem, you can’t really wait. She was like, Can I just put my baby on and let him breastfeed and relieve my fullness of my breast? And they were like, No, forget the baby. And they just took her surgery with sortiment and gorgeous breast. And she woke up in gorged and then they taken the baby home and I called the hospital and talked to some to the group of the breastfeeding committee that I knew and they were like, for sure we can have a room for her but she said, Gina, my husband can’t bring the baby here anymore. And she actually sort of lost the breastfeeding experience which didn’t want to lose coming to the meetings. So she came in, she continued to come. And she really enjoyed the friendships in one day when someone was saying, you know, a little bit insensitively, well, you know, I never gave a bottle or I never used any other nipple or a pacifier. You know, as the person guiding the dynamic of the meeting, I said, Well, you know, we never know the reasons why someone might do that. And just to keep everyone honest, Vanessa had this situation, where, you know, the situation was bigger than her. And she was hospitalized with surgery and agenda and infection in the wound, she had to be rehabbed, it was just a mess. But she’s here, and she’s mothering her baby wonderfully. And it was so meaningful to her and to other mothers. That just felt like wow, the group’s so cushioning. And she’s still in the middle of WhatsApp group with that I have of those mothers, and she still makes donations when this is going on, or that’s going on. Yeah. And it’s, you can see how the group lifted her up in her mothering.

Jacqueline Kincer 16:18
Yeah, that’s, that’s a perfect illustration of the point that I feel like we as lactation consultants are often trying to make, which is that promoting breastfeeding does not mean excluding mothers who don’t breastfeed or it, it doesn’t mean that we, you know, a mom who breastfeeds is, you know, the, the Sanctum AMI that she’s made out to be like, it’s okay to be proud and to celebrate something, right. You know, for many people, they work hard to make breastfeeding happen. But it’s also okay to acknowledge that some struggles are just too big. And breastfeeding is not compatible with that. And it’s just sort of the way it is, it’s not really a judgement. And I love that I love that you had someone in the group for whom breastfeeding, you know, did not work out, but she saw the value in that motherhood connection.

Gina Nigro 17:15
I just, I just thought of another a little twist in the meeting, you know, a mom came, and her husband was he has an only child. And she came just saying my mother in law, I’d helped her I’d seen her on a home visit. And she got everything going after a really horrible first month. And she’d had a situation that was quite unique that her baby went to 42 weeks in the pregnancy. And she just felt like she didn’t want to be induced. And there was a lot of pressure and almost a threat of calling child protective services that finally her labor started and she went and she had the baby that she felt like the last two weeks were so stressful. Her baby just had to be having some problem. And then when the breastfeeding was a stress, it just seemed too much. And she kind of nested into her home. And when her mother in law, heard that the breastfeeding wasn’t going so well, and they had to supplement she really was like, I don’t know about that breastfeeding stuff. And I encouraged her to come to the meeting with her mother in law. And I think that’s always a nice thing. It’s people in your support circle. Here, what the help you’re getting is like I think Midwood holistic, holistic, rotate lactation, excuse me. I’ve sent links to mothers that need to hear something, and they play it for their husband, and they’re like, Oh, we got so informed. And this particular Mother, you know, she said, my, my mother in law doesn’t know anything about breastfeeding. It didn’t work for her. And when everybody introduces themselves, her mother in law, introduced herself and said, well, a little bit shy, and I made sure I didn’t make her speak first. She saw how everything was going. She said, Well, I only have one baby, and I tried, and I breastfed him 38 days, and she started crying, makes me want to cry. And it was so telling of her pain or sadness, and how it didn’t work. But she had this tension with her daughter in law that she was just causing pressure. In the meeting went well. And I was, you know, I made sure to say, Wow, that’s amazing. And we can see how much it meant to you. If you didn’t remember how many days and your son’s almost 40. After that, she just said, you know, I understand my daughter in law has the port support system. I know it’s going well. And those are the kinds of things that you as working with mothers, we get So much back, because that’s a big ripple in. And this woman is a PhD researcher in diabeetus. And she’s from Brazil, and she went on to work in a community health project. And she just has breastfeeding up front and center and all of her viewpoints on everything. And had she not had such a nice experience? Well, that would be different to wow.

Jacqueline Kincer 20:29
Yeah, it’s, it’s amazing, I find how, you know, whether it’s a support group, like you said, or, you know, it’s a one on one appointment, or, you know, something is being passed along to the partner, or, you know, the appearance or the in laws like that inclusion of other family members in the process, and to really understand and support is so helpful, like, for anybody who’s listening, if you’re going to go see of lactation consultants, or take a class about anything related to parenting, but obviously breastfeeding, I mean, have your partner come have, you know, a supportive, you know, mother or father in law, you know, sister or somebody come, because then you don’t have to one explain everything to them that you’ve just adjusted to, but they’ll really see, you know, this this value of, you know, the support that you are getting, or that you’re seeking out and it’s amazing, right, like when somebody is involved in that, and I’ve always loved you’ve probably seen this, too, where you have like, an appointment with a family. And the dad is like, wow, that is so cool. I didn’t know we have law, right? Yeah. Or the mom will say, Well, now, where was that support? When I had you? might wish I had had you 40 years ago. You know, like, I always love them. They say that because you know, it’s like, also sad, but, you know, they’re like happy for their kids when they see that. But

Gina Nigro 22:04
it’s so nice, because I do think that all women can talk about having their periods in all women can talk about, oh, now I’m pregnant. But sometimes when we get to the topic of birth, you know, somebody might say, I just want an epidural. I don’t want to feel anything. And someone else might say, oh, natural only. And when you go one step further to breastfeeding, like the mother in law that I mentioned that story. Anything she said about breastfeeding was perceived as negative. And against it, when really, she just had a little bit of sadness in Oh, that didn’t work for me, or maybe I failed, or even though someone might just choose not to breastfeed. But I can see that it’s so important that our language is inclusive of all ways to look at something never making a quick assumption about anyone what their intent is, or maybe what they’re feeling until they let us know, in so many words. And yeah, I think those of us that are ibclcs, and we’ve been volunteers ibclcs, we’ve been doing this for a while. It’s kind of like when you learn a language. And the more a foreign language, the more you learn, the more you know, you can learn. So we’re just always open to wow, that’s new, or that’s better. And I think that’s so important people that practice and this is the way I do this, and this is the way I do that. Whereas being in a group like holistic lactation, we can get together share if one person goes to a conference or someone else does, we can share updated new information. We’re passionate about it because we’ve had our children we’ve had difficulties we’ve overcome them. We’ve helped others kind of going in a different direction. But I I know the sensitivity issue is so important and a funny story. When I I’ve always I’ve been speaking Spanish since the 80s. And when my mother in law came to help me with my baby, my first baby and she’d always say I L pa Reg, poor little thing, that in Spanish, it’s just a term of endearment and sweetness. It’s like saying, Oh sweetie, for someone who’s dependent on you, but I just remember thinking why is she saying poor little thing about my baby and taking it as an insult to my mothering. And, you know, 20 something years later when I moved to Seville Pain. And the woman who loved and adored my dog said, I love her really. I was just like, I mean, it’s so that pain is so deep in us, but hurts us as a mother. And I was like, Oh, wow. So saying poor little thing is loving, and a term of endearment. And, of course, Louisa loves my dog. She didn’t say that, cuz I wasn’t taking it. And I told my mother in law, we had this good laugh about it. She’s like, How could you think I was criticizing you? Well, so you know, as mothers, we just take anything, our skin is so thin. And that’s important to know, too, when we’re helping mothers.

Jacqueline Kincer 25:44
It is, and it’s important to know about yourself as you go through that stage. Because I think for many, that’s like a big shock, you know, and I try to remind moms, you know, there’s, there’s a balance, right, like, you know, absolutely. Anxiety and postpartum anxiety and depression and postpartum depression, all of those things are very real, right. But at the same time, I’ve heard a lot of moms say that, Oh, I had postpartum depression for a few weeks, or I had, you know, postpartum anxiety for a few months. But they’re saying it, where it, it really wasn’t, you know, something clinically significant. It was just, you know, this, this time that they went through that, I try to remind them, we kind of all go through that, like, it’s normal for you to feel a heightened awareness of things in your environment, whether it’s what people are saying to you, and you’re reading and all of the all of these things, because you’re trying to be the best mom to your baby that you can be you’re trying to ensure the survival of another human that just came out of your body. And you just went through this crazy hormonal shift. Like, it’s so much it’s so intense, and it’s all at once. And yeah, I just think we need to be more more gentle with ourselves. Right? And especially with, with other mothers, too, where I feel like, you know, I’ve definitely seen some times where moms seem really sure of themselves, which is wonderful. And they can sometimes look at other moms and not understand why they’re is sensitive as they are. So it can create some conflict, like you said, and we want to do our best to avoid that, because that’s where those Mommy Wars or whatever we want to call them come in. Yeah. You know, it’s a, it’s a lot. It’s uniquely something that is ours as mothers though, and I love what you’re talking about it.

Gina Nigro 27:53
But it’s interesting, too, I think that those of us who become a mom, and have had a very active professional life, like we’ve been independent, capable, the owner of our schedule, planning our weekend and our next vacation, and we just really have things are under control. It’s hard to imagine. I remember thinking what I was going to do when I was on maternity leave, and basically, just taking care of baby and getting your food and taking a shower and going to the bathroom kind of takes up your time. And yeah, I think I’m losing my train of thought. But it’s like, I think it’s difficult for mothers to really feel so I guess, out of control sounds like almost offensive, but without being the owner of their schedule. Everything’s on baby time. And they’re putting baby needs baby’s needs first. And I’m helping a mom of a mother of twins right now. And she’s from another culture, married to a Spanish man. And I was asking her Oh, it’s her her in laws, really helping making delicious food. And she said, Well, I’ve I like food from my culture. I prepared I’ve frozen everything. I’m so ready. You know, this is early on, and and she’s over 40. And that’s a situation where I think it can be really overwhelming when we were perfectly competent to realize how we just, you know, and this is the thing like when we say if a mother needs to pump more, and she’s so stressed she She’s just stressing her out will probably not pumping more and having less stress is going to be better for milk flow. And we have to really know what’s doable for each mother? Yeah,

Jacqueline Kincer 30:14
no, I, it’s true. I agree. I think, you know, the, one of the reasons why I like the name holistic lactation is because when I think of something, that holistic or what that word means It means including information, like you just said, which is really, you know, kind of what is this lifestyle that this person has? What are their goals? What’s important to them? You know, there’s a lot of other things that we could, you know, we could talk about health history and socio economic status and all these other things. Right. But really, when we’re supporting families with breastfeeding, it’s considering the whole dynamic, right, we don’t get to sit there and prescribe. I mean, we could probably not going to get any follow up appointments. Like, we can prescribe them, you know, if you bust pump this many times a day for this long, like, Well, okay, well, what’s working for you now? What’s not working? Yeah, what would you what would like things to look like? Okay, here’s what I would suggest, does that feel doable to you like, it’s this, it’s a conversation that we’re having, it’s the relationships that we build with somebody, because breastfeeding is the relationships that a mom has with a baby, not just this, you know, make milk, baby drinks it make milk, baby drinks it, that’s lactation. That’s not really breastfeeding, right. So even if you’re pumping, it’s no different. Like, there’s, you have this relationship with the pump, maybe still has to eat, even if you’re exclusively pumping. So there’s all these nuances to things that, you know, and you’ve probably seen this, I guess I wanted to hear your perspective on this too, because, you know, you are a mother, who is a couple of steps ahead of me and your journey, your children are older than mine. And in you’ve been, you know, helping families breastfeed for so much longer than me. It sounds like a lot of things have maybe stayed the same. But what are some of the things that you’ve noticed have changed over these last couple of decades? In terms of goals? Obviously, there’s more knowledge about things than we used to have. Yeah, I’d love to hear some of the differences.

Gina Nigro 32:34
Well, I think back when I had my kids in the 90s. You know, we always it was important to have a book, and a person to call. And, you know, life has gotten a lot faster. And I was always surprised when I came to Spain. And I saw women really need and search for the wisdom and approval from their mother. So whereas I felt like in my home American culture, I thought I can get a book, I’m smart enough to do this, I can figure it out. And the human connection part in Spain is so lovely. And if you can get the family and the support people on board, they really support but to answer your question, you know, there’s so many choices on social media, that and they all so many of them look so nice. I’m not really a good example of that at all. But like, say, for example, we know that we give mothers information in small increments, so they can digest it. And we say, you know, we’re first going to work on this. And the way you’re going to know that’s working is by looking at the you know, maybe you need to increase your milk supply, and you’re going to look at how many ounces you pump. Or maybe it’s going to be that you know, babies eliminating better, whatever. And I do find that mothers are so quick to go find complementary information. And, for example, recently, I’m working with a mother. And she’s amazing, and her husband’s on board and he’s amazing, and they’re so great, and some things aren’t going as well as they’d like and they’re some bottle feeding and Wow, dad has fantastic questions, but at the end of one of the appointment It’s, there was a mention of, of a sleep training type program that’s not so ideal for a newborn. And I, you know, I was like, so glad they’re glad what they found, but later I looked it up. And then I almost felt guilty as the professional guiding them, that I sort of. I didn’t really give it credibility, but I sort of okayed it at the time of the consult. So I wrote the mother and said, just in all sincerity, I knew I’m going to see you in a couple of days. But I want you to know that when I looked up this information, it’s not so much in line with a new baby who’s needing bottles. And if you’re noticing that the information I’ve given you sort of conflicting with a slate guidance, program information, you know, don’t be confused. And we’ll talk about it. But I just felt like I had to say that. So when you ask what’s different, I just think, before people went to their mother or their friend, like, I called my sister’s friend, and she gave me good information. And I found her literally, and now it’s just instant. But it’s hard to really vet each place. So like, I tell moms, you know, I work with holistic lactation in the United States, everything on their site is great. You can always look there when their expat moms their English speaking. It’s all you can trust all of it. And I usually say if you want something on blah, blah, blah, let me know, and I’ll help you find it. But yeah, am I am I really answering your question?

Jacqueline Kincer 36:58
So are you are okay, I would even say that my son is almost 10. And so much has changed in 10 years regarding what you just said, like I too found Lola, she League, I tried to find a mom’s group out, you know, kind of, in addition to or out outside of that or something. There were Facebook groups, meetup was still a thing. If anybody remembers I went on there and went to a lunch. So everything was like in person, like you use the digital means to create in person events. It wasn’t a place to ask questions. Yeah. Still at that time. So I mean, yeah, there were Facebook groups kind of starting out. So I didn’t have the same inclination as moms do now to head straight to Google for things. I definitely looked things up. But, and there were blog posts, but I don’t know wasn’t wasn’t the same degree as it is now. And definitely social media wasn’t the same. Like, there were no accounts that were as big like mine that exist today. So yeah, it’s it’s changed. I’ve definitely seen it change in practice as well. I do remember early on, you know, my daughter’s sick. She’s almost seven now. So I started practicing then. And I was obviously doing my clinical hours before then. And moms used to ask me a lot more about what book I recommended, you know, breastfeeding book. I have not had that question in years, especially since the pandemic, which books are still totally irrelevant if you’re locked down yet? Yeah, it’s changed. It really has and very rapidly, so whether it’s, you know, 25 years or 10 years, or six years, I still think that that that change, you mentioned is really obvious.

Gina Nigro 38:59
Yeah. And once hard to Yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 39:02
They’re like, they they’ve hired us right? There, they hopefully trust us and our advice, or we’re earning their trust through through our work with them. But then all these other things are validated to them. And people trust it. And it’s good and bad, right? But it’s like, okay, well, so But if that account, who is maybe just a mom influence, or she has 400,000 followers, is the mom going to listen to her more than our professional advice? And if she does, is it problematic, or, you know, there’s like all these questions.

Gina Nigro 39:39
Yeah. And that’s where we learn. In the end. We give as much good information as we can and mom decides another. I left well, actually, I’m not sure in the last few years and my meetings that I was holding in Seville, were like, well, they were community meetings and I have I always had the online meetings for the mothers that I do consults with. But I’ve heard from from some of my friends from malecha. league that well, and I’ve seen it in all meetings that often, mothers come looking for a solution to a specific problem. And the heart and soul of Mother meetings, is just getting together and talking with another mother, who has a baby. And we see that no two baby mother, baby pears dyads are alike. And we kind of realize, Well, oftentimes we realize, Wow, I don’t want that difficulty. My difficulty may not be so bad, or Wow, there were 10 mothers here. And we’re all so different, but there’s so many things were experiencing. Similarly. So I think, for example, there’s a local meeting, I’m going to now that I adore the pediatrician running the meeting, that she is a professional in some moms go for a solution. And that’s hard for me, because at the meeting, that’s where I, I’m expecting mother to Mother support. And so I’m kind of a fish out of the water there. I’m like, Huh. But um, well, it kind of sidetracking when I first came to Spain, and in general, there’s a term here not for the pandemic, it’s called the cordon antenna, a 40 day period. So quarter ended being 40, in Spanish and quite antenna is the 40 day period. And in Spain, people generally refer to the 40 day period after birth, oh, don’t worry, if you’re having trouble, you’re just in the court antenna. And it’s really forgiving. And it’s kind of a grace period. And it’s a time that moms can forgive themselves to it’s not working. And so that’s something that has not changed. And I love that because it’s not like if it doesn’t work, today, I’m giving up, which is alive, what we might see in people coming to get a fix. And here, there’s a little more patience. Like, you know, nobody expects to ride a bike in one day. And there is an acceptance that breastfeeding is a learned improved with practice behavior. So that’s nicer here in Spain, I believe. Yeah. Yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 42:45
Yeah. Right. I think that’s a noticeable difference. I do find in the US that it’s very, I want an answer. Now. I won’t give up until I get the answer. It’s very focused on the information, which is, you know, if that’s the place that you’re in, like, by all means, you know, seek it out.

Gina Nigro 43:05
And when we don’t know that there’s not just a one answer, one size fits all, we’re still searching and I, I had chosen a pediatrician with my first son because he spoke Spanish. And my mother in law did not speak English. So when I went at two days after birth and find baby’s fine, but the nurses, two nurses gave me conflicting information. And at the two week visit, they another nurse gave me other conflicting information, and the breastfeeding was going horribly. And I was trying to explain to my mother in law, what they said, and she kept saying, but that’s different. And that’s different. And that’s different. And I was like, Well, what do I do? And she said, Well, I don’t know. I just put them on my breast and they fed. And of course, I felt defective. But I called the doctor’s office. And I said, I need to speak to the doctor, because I thought I was gonna tell on the nurses. I wasn’t so diplomatic before I learned how to be a helper. And they were like, No, the doctors only for emergencies. What’s wrong? Now I need to talk to him. So he came to the phone he asked me is your baby Santiago? Yes. Was he here two days ago? Yes. What’s the problem? And I just said, you know, this conflicting information is, is not helping me. He said, Okay. We are helping babies with leukemia. You know, whooping cough, bronchitis, he named all these things that were serious. And he said, your baby was fine. If you have a problem, go to a mother support group. Look for a lactation helper, but don’t call us and at the time I was so indignant, like how can a pediatrician not have the answers about the only thing babies do eat and sleep and the nurses were giving in so I always feel grateful to that doctor, for being honest and pointing me in the right direction. And that I really wish more doctors were like that, and just said, you know, we learn about sickness and pathology. And that’s where we help you. And for breastfeeding, you go to a breastfeeding expert.

Jacqueline Kincer 45:18
Oh, I agree, actually, like, I have been saying for years, you know, because inevitably, right, some, someone I’m working with, you know, will say, Well, why didn’t the pediatrician tell me any of this? Or, you know, how could they have not, you know, isn’t this what babies do? Like you said, they eat poops. And I’m like, because your pediatrician is trained in infectious disease and looking for major health concerns, like, medical problems outside of feeding, they’re not trained and feeding, they don’t really have the time needed, like, my appointment is an hour, how long does the pediatrician spend with you? Right? It used to be longer before we got a little more efficient with things. So like, I try to remind parents of that, like, they’re not that kind of specialist. Like you said, if they were more honest about it and gave you resources. They didn’t it was just a dead end. Right, then I think we’d have a lot less confusion from families a lot less hesitation. And, and you know, even if it is just like you said a lot, literally group or something, start somewhere, you know, yeah, you need more than by all means. But gosh, that would be refreshing. So I love it. I love that that doctor said that. And you’re like, I’m grateful. You know, there’s

Gina Nigro 46:33
a there is a doctor. There’s a doctor in the south of Spain. I can’t remember the city. I think it’s Lou mono. I can’t remember. It’s close to Cordova, Cordova. And he went from not being very informed about breastfeeding at all. And a mother came with it. He’s very personable, and a great pediatrician and a mother with her second baby. He asked, how’s the breastfeeding going? And she said, I don’t know. It just seems like I don’t have milk, kind of making a flip. Comment, because the baby was just so demanding. And he pulled out a sample. And she’s like, What? Why are you giving me that i Oh, my God. And she pulled out a book of a famous Spanish pediatrician said you need to read this. And he he says he read it and was so embarrassed that for almost 10 years. He had just been giving poor advice and giving formula. And I talked to him and I said you know Javier what? How did? What did you think about these mothers? When they were so anguished? He has Gina What am I going to have an opinion about what’s happening with their breasts? That’s not my area. That’s, that’s just so presumptive. You know, yeah, it’s really revealing. And he said, I’m making up for it. I’m informed. I’m helping he runs helps with the breastfeeding group. That’s a pediatrician that you can count on for backing up. So there are some. Yeah, there’s Javier Navarro. Anyway, yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 48:14
Yeah. I love it. Yes, you’re insane. Go check him out. Yeah. That there are some right, you know, I had Dr. Rebecca diamond on the podcast, several episodes back. She’s a pediatrician. Her book recently came out towards the end of last year parent, like a pediatrician. And it’s kind of all of the things that, you know, she knew so many things medically as a doctor, but then becoming a mom learned a whole new set of things, and realized, Oh, my goodness, I have not had this training. You know, there was, I think I can’t remember exactly how she said on the show. But, you know, you’re in medical school, and you got some little lecture, which is basically how breastfeeding is good. Yeah, formulas not as good and that’s like it. Yeah. So you know, they just, and I try to you know, this is those what you’re saying, like, we try to remind families like the pediatrician is a doctor for the baby. They are not OOB doctor, they are not the women’s health doctor. They don’t. That’s not their area, you know, so it’s, it’s really hard, right? I had a pediatrician, locally here. The mom came in the the baby was just having so much reflux spitting up all the time. And the pediatrician, you know, had the discussion and the mom was this huge overseas supplier, and she didn’t know what to do with her, you know, fully admitted that like, I don’t know. So she called me and she said, I’ve got this mom. She’s making 60 ounces a day her baby is spitting up, she’s miserable. She’s like, you know, we can manage you know, you know the baby and maybe we’re going to do some bottles for an hour sleep, but I need you to help her because I don’t know what to do. Like, absolutely. That’s my area. I was so excited that the pediatrician that like she’s like, I have no idea what to tell you. Yeah, right. But like, that was the best thing she could have done. And I remember this mom, I think it was like that afternoon, she came to my office with her husband and just she was in tears. I think she was like three weeks postpartum. And she was skinny as a rail with the most gigantic breasts. Like she was wasting away because of this oversupply. It was out of control. And she was just at her wit’s end, like how do I make it stop? You know, and so yeah, we helped her but it was like, Yeah, you need that teamwork. And you need that, you know, I like if mom’s asked me about, you know, something that, you know, has nothing to do with lactation or the breast. Hey, I don’t know, that sounds like a question for your OB. Right. Like, honestly. So I yeah, hopefully people realize that. But I think too often we, you know, pediatricians are generally compassionate people, right. But you don’t have all the answers. And that’s okay.

Gina Nigro 50:57
That’s what we’re here for. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So how

Jacqueline Kincer 51:01
long have you been in Spain, because, you know, you’ve had quite a bit of time there now. And kind of, yeah, I

Gina Nigro 51:09
guess, collectively, three years in the 80s. And then like seven years, in I was in Valencia, then I was in Madrid for about 710. And then seven and Seville, is maybe 17. And I’ve just been here in Costa Yun de la plana, for almost a year. And, of course, the first thing I always do is look for the local breastfeeding group. And it’s a way to connect with like minded people. So all the things that we’ve sort of talked about the value of meetings, having moved recently, and not having my little dog died. Shortly after the pandemic, that was tough, but not having my dog walking community and not having children in a school community. Working online, I realized to all the things, we tell mothers, you need to connect with people, you need to the more contact you have, the better for regulating. It’s like, if you’re constantly worried about something and then you go have some fun, it just gives your body a break. From that intense, too much stress. And I’ve found myself like okay, Gina, listen to what you tell the moms, you know, you need to stretch some time while you’re doing something on one, you know, stretch the other side, be sure and have your water get out and meet people. So I, this year having the stress of moving. You know, it’s clearly not an upheaval, like having a new baby. But I do understand the feeling of, you know, just recently on, on NPR, sometimes when I’m cooking, I put English news on I had NPR, there’s a study, I don’t know if you’ve heard it a bit about, it’s been going on for like eight decades, studying three generations of people, and what makes them happy. And surprise, its relationships with other people. So the people in the study, who have really taken care, and it can be your partner it can be it’s funny, they didn’t mention children, you know, with our line of work, I was looking for those that stay close to their children. Maybe that’s less of a named thing in the US because children go on to university and they’re off. And here in Spain, they stay closer to home. And that is also working with babies and mothers. That’s my focus. But it’s a seven minute audio listening while I cleaned up my kitchen or cooked saying what’s the one thing you can do if you can only do one thing to improve your happiness. And it’s invest more in your relationships with people. And they spoke about it’s never too late. There was someone who had fallen in love when he was 80. And there were some people who did some activities and there were 60 or 70. But you know, we know that relationships people we’ve gotten close to when we were mothering. I love it. You started off just by saying your friend that you met when you were pregnant, and then you did something now. So you know that perspective that I have over time. I know well, also we know breastfeeding problems, they’ll get sorted. It’s a short time it’s a small drop in the big bucket of motherhood with other baby and we also see the value of helping it to just get down a comfortable road may not be our choice or what the mother initially wanted, but she’s okay with it. And she’s working with it. And she’s feeling good as a mother. And yeah, and then we get some that’s that ripple effect where we get something back. We feel good. We’ve helped, huh? Yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 55:17
Yeah, everything you’re saying about that is, is I think really overlooked, right? I mean, maybe we think of our, you know, romantic partner relationship or something like that. And but overall, you know, we need more than that, or Hayden, even even for people who are introverts, you know, you definitely, it’s not that you want to be a hobbit in your house all the time, right. So there is that you just might need longer to recover from those external interactions. But it’s come up in our community quite a bit lately. And I think that this is something that I’ve experienced, and maybe you did, too. But new motherhood, especially if your current social circle, is not full of people who have young babies are also new mothers can create a shift in your relationships. And so if you don’t find a new community to feel rooted in and build new relationships in, it’s not that you have to abandon all the old ones or anything like that. But you just might find that you’ve grown further apart from certain people, or they’re not able to really support you as a friend in the way that they used to before you were a mom. And that’s okay. But then you shouldn’t feel like you have to be isolated, or, you know, you’re a different person now, right? It’s a whole major life transitions. So connecting with, you know, another new community, building new relationships is so, so critical, especially if you don’t have like, it’s obviously more common in the US to not have that extended family support to not have that, you know, forgiveness of 40 days, like you said, you know, if you’re returning to work, typically, those people aren’t the most sympathetic to your circa circumstances, right? So, finding that community becomes even more important, I think, for most new mothers. And it’s always surprising to me, like you said, you know, I think there’s this mentality of, well, I’m just, I’m looking for an answer a solution to a problem. You know, we get that a lot, right? It’s, it’s, you know, people are googling, right? They’ll send us like a DM on Instagram, which is, you know, hey, connect with us, right? But it’s like, we want to connect with you. We’re not like a hotline, you know, and you’re kind of asking us something that you could Google and, you know, these like, the presumption of, you know, is it okay to take this medication? When I’m nursing like, well, first of all, um, I need understand your entire medical history, what supplements you take what medications, you take your allergies, and then maybe we can establish whether or not you don’t like, it’s a whole thing, right. But people seem to shy away from building the relationships. And I don’t know if I quite have that one figured out just yet. Is it people feel like they already have enough relationships? Is there more social anxiety? Like, I don’t know if I’ve,

Gina Nigro 58:25
that’s tough. I do think it’s just a changing world. Luckily, here in Spain, people are very go out and have a drink and a tapa type of people, like they just start out. And it’s an easy thing to do. And, yeah, the culture allows for it. We had some friends visiting from Dallas a month or two ago. They’re like, Oh, my God, the Spanish people have their baby out in a little carriage are there they’ve gotten them out. And it’s 1030 10 is dinner time. And they’re out there with their baby, what is that? That child should be sleeping, but babies are embraced and part of the culture and people adore them and love them. I think that is a saving grace for moms here. Because I remember I had a friend in Houston, who told me Well, when I was going to have a baby, I was pregnant. She said, Well, you know, I just don’t like to be around babies. I mean, like I would rather and of course, there was still the smoking section in the restaurant. Can you imagine smoking section on a plane there was even that, but she said I choose the no baby section over the no smoking section anytime. And I remember feeling so nervous about that. No one would ever say that in Spain, and no one like, you know, when I see children doing things here like running around loose in a store and I just have to laugh to myself and think okay, In in Spain, kids can be kids. Because the United States, we might say, Oh, it’s a safety issue. It could be. Or it’s a different cultural way to expect what kids should be doing in public, or maybe even a concern. They shouldn’t be out of our sight. And hear that can be running around in the town square. And I’m talking toddlers now that people are very inclusive of children and very accepting of mothers being out with babies. So that’s nice that Yeah, but the mother meetings, yeah, is another piece. And I think, getting to the mother meeting, once people get there, they’re like, Wow, this is so great. And they they come? Yeah, yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:00:49
Oh, it’s it, there’s so much value in that. And, gosh, you know, the West is a big place. And there’s differences between, you know, rural and urban and suburban and states and all of that. But there’s, I have been, I’ve been around the US. And there’s definitely some similarities. And you know, one of the things that I think I may not have been empowered to do had it not been for being a part of Lola G league early on, was, I would take my baby. And then once I had babies, I brought my babies everywhere. And I never, I didn’t ask permission. I didn’t wonder if it was okay. Because to me, it was like, well, but this baby is dependent on me. And it is what it is. So it would be weird for me to go somewhere without the baby or to it would be such a burden for me to have to make arrangements to go or without the baby. So when I went to the OB office for a checkup, the baby came. I know so many moms who are arranging child care to make that happen. And I’m like, this is the person that helped you, like conceive and birth the child. Yeah. You don’t feel like I mean, yeah, if you don’t want to have a baby there, that’s fine. But like, I also think sometimes we kind of tell ourselves that right? And so I remember many, many times when I had babies, and I usually was wearing them in a carrier. And quinoa because it’s like, way more mobile way, way more special. If

Gina Nigro 1:02:20
you were to at a time you managed to at a time.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:02:23
Ah, you know, that was rare. Definitely made the toddler walk while they were the other one a lot of times, yeah. Yeah. He was funny. He hated strollers until his little baby sister loves strollers, and then he rollers and I was like, no, no, no, no. You’re big now. So but I would, I would constantly get moms asking me. How do you how do you how do you do it? Like, how

Gina Nigro 1:02:46
do you manage?

Jacqueline Kincer 1:02:47
How do you bring your baby here? Like, did you? Did you ask them if it was okay to bring your baby? Like that was a common question. Like, how did you get permission to bring your baby? And I’m like, Well, I mean, I didn’t assume that I couldn’t. I just I kind of, you know, sometimes I knew I was doing it right? But it’s like, if I was invited to a party, I assumed I could bring my baby. Why not? You invited me. So you’re kind of invited. And I just would show up. No one ever said anything to me. Maybe I was lucky. Maybe I had that look on my face. Like don’t mess with me. I just did it everywhere I went, I just did it. And I think that we don’t do that in the US. Like so many moms don’t do that. Whereas in Spain, it’s like accepted. It’s of course, you know, the baby cries Oh, look, I’ll pull brave. Like it’s. So I wish that we had more of that here. But I think all it takes is really like on not to put the burden on the mom. But like, on an individual grassroots level though, if we all just started bringing our babies everywhere then would become accepted eventually. And you know, it’s not we’re not breaking a rule. Probably. I’m

Gina Nigro 1:03:56
sure some others saw you and emulated the practice. It’s hard to know really? Yeah, who you are.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:04:03
And when I nursed everywhere. I never had a cover. I don’t wanna say never had a cover. I wasn’t you know, out there by any years. Most of the time people had no idea I was nursing because you know, you feel more exposed than you are right old. Would love to come up with me always. He’s sleeping. Oh, he’s feeding okay. Like, yeah, a little too close to me. I’m

Gina Nigro 1:04:26
that happens. Yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:04:27
Right. But uh, I love that, that it’s a thing there. You know, it’s graded and all of that. And it’s definitely not here. And it’s sad. I feel like there’s like it’s compartmentalized. There’s places for children and there’s places for adults and they very rarely blend or overlap in the US.

Gina Nigro 1:04:45
Yeah, and that’s not a problem here at all. It’s yeah, very accepting and very nice.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:04:53
That’s yeah, that’s amazing. So out of if you were going to recommend, this is like kind have like a fun question. If you were going to recommend a mom have a baby and Spain or the US, what would you recommend and why?

Gina Nigro 1:05:09
Well, the longer maternity leave is just hands down such a bonus. So as soon assuming that it takes that cord antenna, the 40 day period to get things going smoothly, oftentimes when you’re back at six weeks, or I answered a helpline for Spanish speaking mothers in the US, and there were moms that told me, No, my baby’s two weeks old, and I can’t pump at work, and I’m back at work. And maybe they were working in a fast food restaurant. And they said, I’m at a window, a drive thru window. And you know, now we have a haka that can maybe put a hawk on and get some relief while there are a hands free pump. Yeah. But the maternity leave here is amazing. Even though here, we know that other European countries, give you longer and give you a childcare stipend. So here we feel like we’re cheated. But yeah, and I think birth has become really medicalized everywhere, even my time that I was in the Netherland like 2000, and I don’t know, eight to 2014. And I did doula training, and I got to see nice birth. I think that’s a really nice place to birth in a really nice place to be on a bike all the time and be active and be moving. And have Yeah, yeah, I bet the weather here, I take Spain, I’m gonna vote for Spain to have your baby and have a happy breastfeeding experience. Yeah, the groups are great.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:06:56
Ah, yeah, no, that’s amazing. And, you know, there’s probably just some things by virtue of it being a smaller country that it’s, you know, easier to manage things for that population, I assume. And, you know, I’m not, I don’t like to make excuses for the US, I think there’s a lot of things that could be going on better here. But at the same time, I just kind of think, you know, this is a really big place with a lot of people, and then all these states, with all their own laws and everything, like, it’s a lot, you know, like, for us, you know, living in one state versus another, I think often feels like for Europeans living in one country versus another. Like, it’s,

Gina Nigro 1:07:37
however, all the regions here are very different. And it’s funny, because if you asked me to talk up the good things about the US, I could come up with a lot, and very sensitive to not down talk it like when I’m home with my mother and I tell her something, oh, something great about Spanish. And when we have that, she gets a bit sensitive, you know, defensive. And I’m like, I know, there’s once you’ve lived away from home, you’re always going to find things you like better or like less in each place. So I’m just taking it specifically on birthing and breastfeeding. I’m going to Yeah, I will say for Spain for that,

Jacqueline Kincer 1:08:21
you know, I I love that, you know, my husband, lived in Canada for a while and still has many Canadian friends. My in laws are there. And whenever we’ve you know, spent time with them, either they’ve come to visit or we go there and his friends, and they get a year off after having a child. And they’re always like, he’s so surprised about what’s happening. And he was What do you mean, you you know?

Gina Nigro 1:08:49
Or even know, it’s a lot of moms have no maternity leave? Yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:08:53
Yeah. They’re shocked. Like, why would you not be with your baby for a year, or some people might go back, you know, before the year, but, you know, it’s because they needed the money or, you know, it’s like this weird thing for them to even conceive of that happening. So, but it’s funny to hear, I mean, my husband does not have the birth and breastfeeding perspective. But he’s lived all over. He’s lived in Poland. He’s lived in South Africa. He grew up there. He’s lived in Canada, it’s lived in the US. And I’ve asked him several times over the years, like, you know, out of all the places in the entire world, so I have not lived outside of the US. You know, what, what’s your favorite where, you know, what’s the best place in your mind? And he’s like, for us? And, you know, it’s not perfect, right. But there’s like, many reasons, though. Yeah, you know, we can always say bad things and good things about anywhere. And yeah, it’s kind of what you make it and probably, like you said, from that NPR little segment, you heard probably comes down to relationships. You know, if you have if you have healthy relationships, that increases your happiness, and you know, realistically, you could kind of be anywhere I assume, right? If you have

Gina Nigro 1:09:59
Yeah, we We definitely have to be proactive. Yeah, that’s true.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:10:04
Yeah. Yeah. So on that note, like, for anyone who’s listening, that is maybe pregnant, or has, you know, recently had a baby, for that relationship piece, what would be your advice for them about, you know, really how to establish or nurture and grow those relationships that she needs to, you know, really thrive in her experience of motherhood? Well, first

Gina Nigro 1:10:34
and foremost, I would always encourage mothers to seek quality breastfeeding help, as early as they’re having that desperation feeling, because you’re going to be feeding every day, so many times. And once you know, you can lower your stress. And then next step, you can go to another support group, or find one online, and somehow connect with other mothers. It’s such an important thing. But it’s really hard to do. If you’re still falling apart, on feeling a lot of anguish, about things not going well. And especially if your birth didn’t go so well. Having the breastfeeding not going? Well, it just compounds the stress being horrible. And if your birth didn’t go so well, or as hoped or is expected, but then the breastfeeding gets sorted. You just, it’s so healing. So I would say take care of that piece, value quality help. And if you don’t find a fit with someone don’t say, Well, I tried, it didn’t work, because it sounds like you know, we’re really touting the wonder of Lecce league. And in the beginning, I went to a group and I didn’t feel so great about it. And I went to another I didn’t feel so great. And it was the third group that I found, wow, I loved it. And in other places I’ve lived mothers have told me Oh, my God, I went to a mother meeting, and someone was trying to sell Tupperware, or you know, it was just like, grinding, get you to sign up to buy things. That was terrible. And she ran away. And I was like, you know, okay, so if you go in, you look for that group help. And it’s horrible. Don’t give up. Try again. And then I’m going to take my advice here, being a person who’s just moved, I’m gonna go keep trying, yeah, to make connections in the community.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:12:41
Ah, that’s the best. I could not have said that better. And I never really thought of it this way. But what you’ve said is so important. And I really want people to really, really hear this. If you’re in that place of that desperation, like you said, Go get that sorted out first, like those, those other groups can help guide you and connect you without support. Right. But I think a lot of people come to those first. And it’s kind of like this triage. Right? You know, just a quick aside, there were, it was our local electrician chapter, but we had kind of two little branches. And, you know, I would try to go to both meetings. And kind of, you know, cover well, one of those locations was held very close to a hospital where a lot of people gave birth. And because of that, we got a lot of people coming into those meetings, fresh out of the hospital, like, somebody needs to help me with his breastfeeding thing. And we’re like, yeah, that’s not what this is for, like, we’ll do our best, but you need to go seek professional help. And I will never forget this woman. She came in to this meeting, and I was kind of like, a little established, you know, I wasn’t a leader, but I was a member and I had connected with the other moms and the leaders in that level, actually group. And she was, I think she had like, literally driven from the hospital with her mom, and came there. And she bought her pump. And, you know, basically was just, I mean, her baby was screaming and crying and she couldn’t get an email out. And we kind of, you know, came over in the corner, one of one of the leaders kind of led the meeting and the other came over in the corner and asked, you know, me and this other mom who had, you know, kind of just been supporting the group, right? Hey, like, come over, you know, sit with her and she’s just in tears. And, you know, how do I work this thing? I don’t even know how to connect the pump. I need it. Chaotic, right? Yeah. Well, she went on to have a very abundant milk supply with the fattest baby that I’ve ever seen. And for so long, and she was like, you know, became really good friends with us. I don’t think she even ever came back to a meeting. I think she was like embarrassed after that. like she did not want to show up anymore. But she hung out with us and became part of our mom’s group outside of that. Yeah. And I guess it’s probably been maybe it was last year, or maybe maybe the year before that, but she called me up and has, you know, moved on to another marriage and had another baby. I did a home visit with her. And she was obviously in a much better place. But it was so cool. Like, all these years later, you know? Anyways, it all worked out. And so that was my long winded way of saying that, yeah, please don’t come to what G league like with what emerges. Don’t know how to put your poem together. And they can help but you know, it’s not really what they’re there for. So yeah, yeah. Yeah. I love that, though. get it sorted out, and then come and Commons. And, you know,

Gina Nigro 1:15:53
she felt welcome. And she felt connected to you. And she seeks you out later. So the ripple effect, is there. Yeah.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:16:00
Oh, absolutely. No, she’s she’s a great mom. And you know, it all it all worked out, you know, she ended up just, you know, loving breastfeeding. Right. But it was kind of, I always felt a little sad, like, we all knew, you know, she didn’t come back, because she was just, I mean, honestly, probably wouldn’t have even recognized her. Because, you know, you just go hospital outward. It’s like a whole thing. You know. But I think she just like felt like she couldn’t come back, which you don’t want to do that. Right? You want to be able to come back to these meetings and get support. So don’t do that. Yeah, yeah. Oh, well, I, I think you have so much wonderful wisdom and experience. And you are the elder that most respects that I always look up to you. Because not only do you have this longevity of experience, you’ve worked with so many different people in so many different locations, you have such a really deep compassionate understanding, I think of the raw human condition that is motherhood that you bring this whole other, like deeply emotional side, but also very practical side to breastfeeding support that I really value so much. And I love learning from you. I love collaborating with you. I love that you’re a part of our team. And so for anybody who’s listening, if you love what Gina has had to say, and you’re like, that is absolutely what I need in my life. She can work with you. And she does virtual appointments with us. So we’ll put the link in the show notes for anybody who’s interested. But keep in mind, Gina’s in Spain. So if you’re not in Spain, her availability will look a little funky to you, unless you’re in a similar timezone. We’ve had some moms, I know you’ve seen this Gina, we’ve always gotten these calls. I put in a plane with Gina and it says 1am I think I made a mistake. And I’m like, No, that was the correct time. But you may not have wanted 1am Yeah, yeah. We have a long she did like a middle of the night for her a plane. Yeah,

Gina Nigro 1:18:16
there was and she said it’s a quiet time is up anyway. It’s good. Okay. Yeah. And it worked. Yeah,

Jacqueline Kincer 1:18:25
I love that. Right. So you can get middle of the night support

Gina Nigro 1:18:29
from Tina. And you know, you I wake up all the time. I have a bunch of messages that came in for moms in the middle of the night. So probably if they thought we had middle of the night appointments, more mothers would schedule.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:18:42
Maybe, maybe so now you guys know our secret might be a thing. Yeah. Or if you speak Spanish or you have Spanish speaking family members that you would like to be involved. She knows so great with that. So yes. All all of the best things about you, Gina. And I’m just Yeah, I just think you’re amazing. Thank you for still contributing to the world of breastfeeding. Thank you for all of your hard work. And thank you for being on the podcast today.

Gina Nigro 1:19:13
Thank you. It was my pleasure. That’s such a nice sweet wrap up. I loved it.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:19:18
And I love you. So yeah, well, Vic, sure if if you’re listening, subscribe. There’s weekly episodes. We’ve got some incredible, amazing amazing guests coming up whether it’s moms who have really amazing breastfeeding stories that will probably bring you to tears but also inspire you professionals sharing their complementary expertise related to lactation and breastfeeding. So those are coming up. Stay tuned and leave us a review if you enjoy the show. Thanks for listening.

Jacqueline Kincer 1:19:57
Did you know Most moms stopped breastfeeding In the first month postpartum, I believe succeeding with breastfeeding means having the right mindset. In fact, studies show that the number one factor that determines breastfeeding success is commitment. Which is why I’ve created my incredible audio download of breastfeeding affirmations where I give you actionable mantras so you can breastfeed your baby with confidence and peace of mind. And best of all, it’s free. To get access to this audio and PDF, simply visit holistic And you can get started right now.

In this episode, Jacqueline is joined by team member, Gina Nigro, a bilingual IBCLC who has helped support families for over 25 years. They discuss the importance of supporting all mothers with breastfeeding choices, the cultural differences when it comes to motherhood, and how to find support within your community as a new mother.

The best IBCLCs have their own personal breastfeeding experience and understand that all babies are different. They also have the luxury of trusting the process and being able to convey the value and normalcy of small steps towards a better breastfeeding experience.


In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • About Gina and Jacqueline’s partnership and how Gina got started in birth work
  • Cultural differences when it comes to maternity leave and breastfeeding
  • How to build and sustain new relationships as a new mother
  • Why you should have a support team going into new motherhood


A glance at this episode:

  • [3:02] How Gina got her start with birth work
  • [5:42] Gina’s experience as a first-time mom getting support from a Le Leche League group
  • [9:36] What is the dynamic of support groups and how they work
  • [12:43] The connections we form with other mothers when we go through motherhood
  • [20:36] How do you know if you’re getting enough support
  • [25:25] How to not lose yourself when putting your baby’s needs first
  • [30:20] Working with families as an IBCLC and adapting to their lifestyle
  • [32:12] Some differences that have changed with breastfeeding in the last 25 years
  • [40:02] Where to find reliable resources as a new mom
  • [51:02] Gina shares about her time living in Spain
  • [55:56] How to build new relationships as you enter motherhood
  • [1:04:57] Maternity leave and cultural differences
  • [1:10:08] The ripple effect of breastfeeding support


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