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Episode 97: The Real Barriers to Breastfeeding & How to Overcome Them

, , , , , March 8, 2023

97 (1)

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Allie Page  0:37  

Hello thank you all for being here today I have the lovely Jacqueline Kincer with me she is the founder and CEO of Holistic Lactation where she runs a telehealth breastfeeding practice manufacturer manufactures herbal supplements for lactation and supports breastfeeding families worldwide through an online course and community called the Nurture Collective. She’s also the host of the top rated podcast Breastfeeding Talk. Jacqueline’s passion has been to create functional breastfeeding outcomes and expand access to lactation knowledge and support across the globe. As a mother of two who struggled with her own breastfeeding experiences. She understands the multifaceted challenges today’s families face through a holistic lens that accounts for mental health, financial barriers, system, systemic and justices, inadequate policies and unrealistic expectations. Jacqueline strives to help moms recognize the many ways that they can breastfeed their babies and define their own success by making breastfeeding work for them. Thank you so much for being here today, Jacqueline, it’s such a pleasure to connect with you. Absolutely.


Jacqueline Kincer  1:44  

Thank you for having me, Allie. And thank you, for everyone who’s attending to come and get this important information.


Allie Page  1:51  

Yeah. Can you share a little bit about how you got into this work?


Jacqueline Kincer  1:56  

Absolutely. Probably like a lot of people, I was a stockbroker and loved my job, I was great at it. And I became pregnant with our first child went through a birth class that was really, you know, long and intensive, read a lot of things about pregnancy and birth to prepare myself. And then he was born. And I realized I didn’t really know much about breastfeeding. I actually did take a prenatal breastfeeding class. But that class was really focused on like the health benefits of breastfeeding. It was really kind of all of the, you know, best practices of breastfeeding, if you will, like latch the baby in the first hour after birth. But it wasn’t like how to latch the baby, or really what to do if there are problems or what it realistically can look like. And I felt really unprepared. And I tried my hardest to find a good lactation consultant to help me and they really weren’t available. When I finally did see one, she assured me that everything was going great despite my nipples being bruised and scabbing and bleeding. And I was in an incredible amount of pain. So fast forward to me, you know, persevering through breastfeeding, basically never stopped researching what was wrong and how to fix it. I joined La Leche League as a member, I got really involved in that. Because having that support being around other moms who are breastfeeding, seeing that it wasn’t always perfect for everybody was everything to me. And I felt like I had to work so hard to even find out that that was something that existed. And it shouldn’t be that way. Why did my doctor not prepare me? Why did my midwife not say anything? Why did the pediatrician not have some recommendations for me. And so I just thought, you know, if I’m struggling this much, I cannot be the only one. So I got really passionate about you know, giving back and serving my community and being there to support them and breastfeeding and not just support them, but give them the support that they desperately need and deserve.


Allie Page  4:03  

I love that. And I I didn’t even know that you had done little FDA league or anything like that. But that was like such a catalyst as like part of my breastfeeding journey too. And just, you know, what you said is just like seeing what is normal and like being with other moms and like that are also nursing was so foundational for my like breastfeeding journey and just, I love that this is just like taken you. You know, like you said, I just never stopped learning or asking why and now you have an entire business devoted to this. It’s so fun. One thing that I love that you say is that breastfeeding is a vital sign. And I would love to unpack that with you. But before we even get to that, can we step back even a step further and clarify or maybe define what even a vital sign is?


Jacqueline Kincer  4:55  

Hmm, good question. In the medical field, it’s really going to be something like your height, your weight, your pulse, blood pressure, oxygen levels, those sorts of things, you know, really basic data on what’s going on in the human body. So when I say breastfeeding is a vital sign, you know, I’m looking at it through this lens of like, if breastfeeding is not going well, that’s an indicator of a lot of other things, typically health problems. Not always though. So maybe I’ve expanded the definition of vital sign over the years. But truthfully, it really can be it can be a breathing issue with the baby, and not in the sense that they’re going to stop breathing at any given moment. But they’re definitely not breathing optimally, right? If a baby can’t feed in the way that they’re biologically meant to, and the way that their DNA has programmed them to, by virtue of us being mammals, and having mammary glands and lactating and and milk is supposed to be produced, once we birth the placenta from our female bodies. Like if that isn’t happening, Something is definitely wrong with, you know, your body, your baby’s body, something and it doesn’t mean that you’re ruined, or it’s not possible to breastfeed or something like that. But if we didn’t have all of the modern conveniences, and innovations, that we have a formula of pumping up all of these other things, if your baby can’t breastfeed, they would die. And so why are we not looking at breastfeeding as this other vital sign, like if a human infant cannot feed and you know, make itself survive, something’s really, really wrong. And I wish that we took that more seriously as a culture and a society because, again, we have all of these other things we can rely rely on, which are amazing, and absolutely needed. But I think it’s there’s a difference between relying on those things or, you know, expecting to use those those alternative methods. And, you know, that’s separate from personal choice. You know, when I look at it, I look at it through, you know, being a healthcare provider as a lactation consultant, if I’m assessing someone’s overall well being, and I can see that the breasts, you know, the baby is struggling to breastfeed, or the mom is struggling to lactate, like, okay, something’s wrong. And I’m going to find out what that root cause what that root issue is, and not just say, Okay, well, you can use a nipple shield, or you can pump or you can get formula. You know, it’s always guided by whatever that, you know, family is choosing, but from a clinical lens, something’s just, you know, definitely wrong.


Allie Page  7:23  

I love that. That’s your approach of just like, this is actually like the natural process. And if it isn’t, like happening, like, let’s dig in and figure out what that root causes and helping to alleviate that. Would you say that, that, like, if I just like as a regular, you know, mom, woman walked into, you know, my midwife or my OBGYN office, or even maybe my pediatricians and I said, like, well, like breastfeeding is like a vital sign. Is that something that like, you would say, I’m, like, I’m assuming you have pioneered this. But like, is that would they agree? Or is that something where I would have to sort of like educate, maybe educate them a little bit? And say, like, no, like, something has to something’s not right, because this should be like a natural process?


Jacqueline Kincer  8:08  

That’s a good question. Um, I would say 99% of the time, you would really need to educate them, because I don’t even think they have, you know, unless someone’s gone above and beyond out of personal interest to do it. They don’t have the the training and the education as part of, you know, their credential that they’ve achieved to even really know how to assess breastfeeding or lactation and whether or not it’s going well. So that would be like, they would look at you, like you had two heads, if you said something like like that to them, because they would go well, but the baby’s breathing and growing and all of these things, and I’m like, Yeah, but the baby can’t eat without some, you know, industrialized form of having it feed, which is fine. But like, if that’s not what that mom wants, right, and you know, then we have to look at what’s going on. And they just, they wouldn’t know how to assess it. And they really wouldn’t know how to fix it. Most of the time. It’s just a, you know, well, if the BB count nurse, then we’ll give them a bottle. Like that’s generally the solution. If you go to your OB and say something about you’re struggling with oversupply or under supply or you’re having clogged ducts, or mastitis or whatever it is, other than sending you a prescription for antibiotics, like they’re really not going to know what to do to help you. They might say that you could try pumping, they may on rare occasion tell you to work with a lactation consultant. But otherwise, they really aren’t going to have any kind of advice or guidance for you regarding that. So it’s frustrating because I’m like, Hey, we don’t exist in a vacuum as lactation consultants, we’re supposed to be part of the entire healthcare team. The problem is, is that as much as we include that whole team, they generally leave us out don’t know we exist. don’t really take it upon themselves to learn much about what it is that we even do. So it’s are frustrating not just for me, but all of my colleagues, but especially moms out there, because they’re looking for this person that they’ve trusted with their care for however long to guide them. And if they’re not referring to lactation consultant, you may not know we exist. And you may not even think that that’s something that’s helpful to you, because your doctor didn’t mention it.


Allie Page  10:20  

Yes, all of that, like 100%. And I want to ask you about I wasn’t even planning to ask you this. But now I’m curious, because of what you just said, is like, you know, a lot of times when women give birth, especially like in the hospitals, there’ll be like a lactation consultant, or like a nurse that you know, can help you with nursing or whatever. And I’m curious what your thoughts are on, you know, kind of like the OB and pediatricians of just like, if you are struggling with nursing, do you recommend? Do you recommend basically relying on those avenues? Or is it in your best interest, like to make sure that you have a lactation consultant on your team. And the reason I brought up the hospital like lactation consultant is, to me, especially as like a first time mom, a lot of people don’t realize that like a nurse who a postpartum nurse who is a lactation consultant can just become a lactation consultant from like, going to like a seminar or something like she’s not necessarily like an ibclc. And so to me, I always say, like, find a lactation consultant and get them on your, like, know who you want to go to, or at least have a couple of people local to you. But do you feel like that is something that people should be seeking out even before baby has arrived? And like, you know, do you think that that correlation between the ibclc is actually as imperative as just knowing, you know, any sort of lactation counselor on you know, that you could access?


Jacqueline Kincer  12:02  

That’s a really, really good question. And a really important one too, because, you know, there’s, well, there’s ibclcs, right, so that’s international board certified lactation consultants, that is the only lactation credential or certification that makes someone a healthcare provider in the field of lactation. So unless you have, you know, an RN, MD something else. In addition to that, right, you’re you’re not a healthcare provider, unless you have your ibclc. We have supervised clinical hours that we’re required to do, we sit for board exams, and we recertify on a regular basis, we’re required to have, you know, X amount of continuing education hours every five years, you’re required to have actual clinical practice hours that you submit to the board on an ongoing basis. So there’s this oversight and training that happens, we have at minimum 300, supervised supervised clinical hours, sometimes as much as 1000, depending on which pathway we took to get there. So for me, it was 1000. But it took quite a while. Now there’s CLCs, CLE, C’s, CBS, there’s all these other, you know, people that are not lactation consultants, but sometimes will be mistakenly called that or they will use the title lactation consultants, which is really not appropriate or correct. And they have generally taken something like a 45 hour course, maybe 5060 hours, they don’t have supervised clinical training, they don’t have any clinical experience. They definitely don’t have a clinical background or education so they can counsel you on the normal course of breastfeeding. They can provide education to you about the benefits of breastfeeding, general breastfeeding things, maybe, you know, problems to look out for, but they’re supposed to be referring you to an ibclc if you come to them and say that you have a breastfeeding problem. So they are not to lay your baby, they’re not to assess, they’re certainly not to be telling you if your baby has a tongue tie or not. Many of these people completely practice outside of their scope. And it’s a real nightmare for honestly, families like it just because you’re confused, right? You if you don’t know all of those nuances coming into this, and you’re like, oh, yeah, she’s an LC. Well, what is that? You know, Is she an ibclc? Is she a CLC? Right? And it’s not always intentional, but I have absolutely seen people intentionally misrepresent themselves. So then if we’re talking about the hospital context, very often there will be an ibclc or maybe more than one that is on staff at that hospital. But even more often than that, there’s usually an RN who has something like a CLC or, you know, one of these other types of like 50 hour classes, and, you know, some training like that, right. They may not even have an official class that they’ve taken and gotten a certificate for, they just have done some sort of continuing education. So sadly, most of the time in the hospital setting. You know, families are expecting to see lactation consultants that is well trained and All of that, a lot of times, that’s not what you’re gonna get. Also, while your hospital might have a lactation consultant on staff, they may not be there when you give birth. So very often they’re not on weekends, hospitals tend to not put these people on salary. So they will hire them kind of per diem so that they don’t have to give them benefits and all of these other things. And so it’s just, it’s really iffy, like, if you, you know, deliver in the middle of the night, you’re probably not going to get help until they show up for their shifts the next morning, that that sort of thing. So hospital budgets generally don’t really make an effort to include ibclcs. So it’s tough, if you are lucky enough to get someone and you’re lucky enough to get somebody who’s good, amazing, right? Like, that’s incredible. There are good ones out there. So I would just say it’s really the minority, unfortunately, I do have a really good connection with a lot of my colleagues who were in the hospital. And maybe some of them even do private practice, in addition, and they can always, you know, be the ones to really tell you that they’re so limited by one, the time that they’re allowed to spend in patients rooms, right, they’ll get written up for, you know, spending too long with you. So like more than 15 minutes is generally frowned upon. That’s really frustrating, because a newborn is not going to be done feeding in 15 minutes. If they can’t get them to latch on that time, they kind of have to leave and go on and see the next person. And so when I talk to moms about this kind of stuff, especially, you know, prenatal visits and whatnot, I always try to tell them, hey, like, please don’t I mean, there are, you know, just like doctors, right, there’s good and there’s bad, you know, maybe you don’t get a good lactation consultant. But please give this person if you were lucky enough to see them the benefit of the doubt, they’re not personally dismissing you, if they’re not staying in your room for very long. Or if they only come to see you once while you’re at the hospital, chances are they’re limited by policies, they also generally are completely banned from even mentioning tongue tie or lip tie. So a lot of parents will leave the hospital super frustrated, they see someone like me, and they’re like, Why didn’t anybody tell me? Why didn’t they check. And I’m like, well, your lactation consultant in the hospital was probably told, if they ever bring that up, they’re gonna get fired. So there’s all these politics that get in the way of families getting good care. And you really shouldn’t, it shouldn’t be that way. Like you should immediately have support. Someone that’s there hands on with you, you can watch all the videos you want, while you’re pregnant, about how to watch a baby until that baby is in your arms, and you’re doing it for the first time. Like you really you have no clue. I know you can practice with a doll. And, you know, whatever ahead of time, it is not the same as watching a baby in real life. And there’s just a lot to it. So I would encourage people to answer your question, I would really encourage people to, if not meet with an ibclc while you’re pregnant, or it could be a really good like CLC or something like that, where you want to get that education, that counseling, right, make sure they’re connected to resources in your community, if you do need an ibclc, or what have you, if you think that you might be predisposed to some breastfeeding or lactation problems, definitely see an ibclc ahead of time, if that’s a health condition, you think might interfere, or you’ve breastfed in the past and it didn’t work out or family history of breastfeeding not going well see that ibclc while you’re pregnant, and then you have an established relationship so that when baby comes, they can see you quickly help you right away. So I would really recommend that if you’re serious about breastfeeding going well. And you want to understand how to know if your baby is getting enough how to return to work successfully and maintain milk production. If you have long term breastfeeding goals. If you have maybe a history of breast surgery or a chronic health condition or something like that, that you think might make it harder for you get that support ahead of time, because the last thing you want to do is be in that immediate postpartum period and struggling. And maybe you’re just you have so much going on. It’s like too much to even go and look for and find and schedule getting that support. Yeah,


Allie Page  18:53  

I love that. Thank you so much. That was like so comprehensive. But yeah, I just can’t recommend that enough for you guys. If you are you kind of like what Jacqueline said, like, if you know that you want to breastfeed or you, you know might have issues like just be proactive, because there’s so many great outlets for support ahead of time. Kind of to your point, like you don’t need to get it doesn’t have to be horrible and you don’t have to like grin and bear through it. So okay, one thing that you mentioned, kind of just in passing, as we were starting our conversation was the health benefits of to mom when she breastfeeds. And obviously, when we think about nursing, it has a moms part but a lot of us think about babies benefit. And I just remember learning, you know, when I was becoming a mom, like oh my gosh, I should breastfeed as long as possible because these this is like incredible for my own body. Can you share a little bit about what those health benefits are for mom and just you know, long term and all things?


Jacqueline Kincer  19:58  

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I think that really goes unnoticed a lot of the time, right people think, you know, I, I’ve asked, like my followers on social media occasionally like, Hey, why why do you breastfeed? You know, what’s your motivation? And it’s usually you know, the health benefits for my baby. And I’m like, That’s awesome, whatever motivates you, right? But I’m like, did you know that there are benefits for you too? Yeah. So, you know, some of those things are, you know, and this might seem obvious to people, but you may not have heard it is reduction in breast cancer rates. And we don’t know the exact mechanism as to why that is, but we do know that, you know, regular movement and lymphatic flow and drainage of the breast is really important and prevention of breast cancer. And you’re certainly getting a lot of that if you’re lactating. Especially if you’re nursing, cuz baby’s hands are all over. So that is really great. But also, you know, probably has a lot to do with just the the changes that your breasts go through as well. You know, it’s protective of osteoporosis later on in life. It’s protective of ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, possibly some other reproductive cancers, there’s still a lot of ongoing research in these areas, too. So it takes time to really get a solid study where we can truly isolate one thing as being, you know, that catalyst or that cause of a benefit, we don’t just want to see a correlation necessarily. But if we’re seeing it across a population, we can say, yes, it’s protective of postpartum depression, that’s huge. The hormones involved in lactation, really do have a lot to do with your mood, and your energy levels and your mental focus and all of those things. So if it’s dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, all of those things, they’re involved, those are pathways that are part of lactation, you know, gosh, I’m trying to think of what else, people always like to think of weight loss as one if it’s not, I wouldn’t really peg that as a benefit. Everybody’s different. There’s a lot of factors there. But there are protective benefits for insulin resistance and diabetes for the mom as well as the baby. Gosh, I’m trying to think I there’s more, it is protective, I think of other types of cancer as well, besides reproductive cancers, but I don’t, I don’t remember which ones specifically off the top of my head. So there’s quite a bit there that I would say those were already some really huge benefits. The other cool thing is that it helps you kind of, you know, get through some initial postpartum healing, every time you have a release of milk from your breasts, that’s called the milk ejection reflex. And when that happens, oxytocin is released not just in your breasts, but also in your uterus. And that helps it contract back to that normal pre pregnancy size. So someone who’s lactating and removing milk is going to get there faster than someone who decided I don’t want to do that at all. So there’s other things like that, that are, you know, kind of immediate, there’s other long term, you know, chronic things that it can benefit as well. So I think it’s amazing, I think we really, truly don’t know, all of the benefits of breastfeeding and human milk. But what we do know is pretty awesome.


Allie Page  23:06  

Yeah, I love that. And, you know, kind of like going back to your, you know, at the beginning of like, this is the way that like, mammals are supposed to be feeding their babies. And I just think it’s so cool. That like, our bodies are, you know, like, by doing what nature like designed us to do, or whatever you however you believe we became to be is it’s like, you know, there’s a built in mechanism to like, keep mom healthy, too. And I just love that so much. Can you I know, we’ve talked about just mentioning it. But while we’re here talking about the benefits of breastfeeding, can you just share a little bit about the breastfeeding benefits for baby in case people are, you know, just, you know, learning about nursing and why? Maybe they are the first in their family to breastfeed? And why would they instead of doing formula, since that can be so convenient, and all the


Jacqueline Kincer  23:55  

things? Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I’ll preface it too, by saying that, you know, if there is some reason why breastfeeding is not in the cards for you, or just is something that is so incredibly difficult that, you know, you just have to make that choice, that it’s not something you’re going to be able to do, you know, I don’t want anybody to feel like, oh, no, my baby is doomed. And I’m doomed. And, you know, this is just a horrible, horrible thing. And I have so much guilt over it and all of that, I would say, there’s no real reason for you to feel that way. When I share about the the benefits and all of those things. You know, they are real, you know, the science is there and continually is proven time and time again. But that being said, You’re not ruining your baby, you’re not a bad mom, if for some reason, this is not something that’s going to work out for you and your baby. So, really, truly I believe that I see that all the time. Babies who are fed formula go on to live great, healthy lives. So you know, the other thing I’ll say about that, too, is that you know, it’s Not that it doesn’t make any difference. But certainly socio economic status has a lot to do with the outcomes and differences between breast milk and formula. So the better off you are socio economically, you know, if your baby is fed formula versus breast milk, there’s less of a disparity. And that’s just kind of the way it is. So just sharing that for anybody, because I don’t want anyone to have mom guilt. But let’s talk about benefits for baby because it’s so exciting. We do know a lot of these, which is really cool. So


Allie Page  25:27  

just to dive in off, like on that disclaimer, is, I totally agree with you. There’s no shame, there’s no guilt, all of the things. The reason I that I actually pardon me, it was like, should we skip this, but I just think, because I just think it’s actually important for people to understand, like, you know, regardless of fat is best or breast is best. And all of those things is it’s like, nope, nobody says those things to make you feel bad. It’s literally like, for me, if you understand why people say those things, you know, you might actually find a way to breastfeed until six weeks, or sorry, maybe six weeks, even if you weren’t going to, you know, but you know, if you would know like that your chances of ovarian cancer go down, you know, for breastfeeding for six months. You know, that might be what you hold on to, or, you know, if you know that it’s you nurse your baby until 12 months, this, you know, like, I just love having getting the information out to women and couples, and so that they can make the right decision. Because if you don’t know, then you just don’t know. And then you know, you’ll deal with the guilt and shame later or whatever. So all that to say, take the information as you wish. And you know, if it works great if it doesn’t just leave it behind. And, you know, maybe it’ll come back with the next pregnancy or whatever. But absolutely no guilt or shame in any of this. Oh,


Jacqueline Kincer  26:55  

I love that. You said that. Yes, I totally agree. And I think, honestly, more than anything, knowing these things about the benefits of breastfeeding and breast milk can be those things that motivate you when you’re not sure you want to keep going. Yeah, totally. Oh, my gosh, I have had no sleep. And I this baby wakes up every hour, why am I doing this? And they’re like, Oh, yes. Let’s talk senses of cancer and all these things. So we’ll talk about baby.


Allie Page  27:23  

Yes. Let’s talk about baby first. And then I do want to come back to that in a second.


Jacqueline Kincer  27:28  

Yeah, so Oh, my gosh, where do we start? You know, people people that, you know, for whom breastfeeding did not work out, and they feel guilt or shame often, you know, try to say that this stuff isn’t true, but it is it’s absolutely validated by really, really good science. You know, breast milk unequivocally, yes, it absolutely does, you know, promote a higher IQ in infants, you know, so that’s something that is, you know, through their lifespan, right, most of these benefits you’ll you’ll learn about are through their lifespan. It prevents, you know, certain types of leukemia and other cancers as well. If you didn’t know, this, your breast milk? You know, I think it’s important to think of it this way. It’s it’s a living tissue. It’s literally just full of cells. And in other biological components, yes, there are carbs and fats and proteins. And yes, there is a ton of water in there. But really, all these other biological bioactive components there live, that you’re made on demand from your boobs, like it’s the coolest thing ever. And if we think of it, as you know, this living tissue, then we can see why why are there so many benefits to it, right formula, there’s nothing alive in Formula and there never was. So we have to think of that really is a food breast milk really isn’t a food. You know, it’s it’s this living substance that we’re able to convey to our babies. So it’s full of stem cells. That’s incredible for brain development for overall overall development, healing any sorts of injuries or overcoming other illnesses. That’s incredible, right? The balance of nutrients is exactly what your baby needs, and breast milk is never static. So what your baby gets from one nursing or pumping session, they will probably never have that exact same formulation again. So it’s really on demand. And this is where I get a question from moms are like, well, what if I exclusively pump? Same thing, you hold your baby, right? You probably give them kisses, you probably smell them, you’re definitely sharing an environment with them. So the things that you’re exposed to your baby is getting those benefits because your body is learning by virtue of that what to make for your baby. So here’s a really cool thing too about antibodies. Let’s say you’re exposed to some sort of pathogen or your baby is and so by virtue of that you’re exposed within four hours of that initial exposure. Your breast milk already has antibodies to that for your baby. How cool is that?


Allie Page  29:55  

I like it like blows my mind every time because I’m just like is that it is it’s like, you know that meme where it’s like, I make milk, what’s your superpower? And I’m like, I do I make milk. And it’s like, literally like the most incredible substance known to humankind.


Jacqueline Kincer  30:13  

It really is, like I it’s, I’m in awe, I, we still really don’t know all of the components of human milk either. This is something that’s always researched, usually by formula companies, because they’re trying to, you know, to match it as much as they can. But there’s not just antibodies, there’s immunoglobulins. There’s Hamlet cells, which stands for something that I’m not gonna remember how to say. But they’re actual. They’re like tumor killing cells. That’s they have one specific job, right? So you have all of these immune components, which are incredible. There’s probiotic bacteria in there. There’s also something called human milk oligosaccharides. And what those are, there’s over 200 of them that have been discovered in human milk. They’re essentially these insoluble fibers. They’re prebiotics. They’re carbohydrates that are not digested by your baby’s guts, but by the bacteria that lives in your baby’s gut. So those all go saccharides feed that probiotic bacteria in your baby’s gut. And probiotic bacteria can create a lot of things. It depends on what strains there are, it could be, they manufacture vitamin K in your baby’s gut, they could manufacture serotonin, there’s so many other things, but they also help that probiotic bacteria proliferate. So yes, they do have a lifespan, they die, we want to make sure that they’re reproducing and staying in your baby’s gut. So that’s also huge, protective of diabetes, protective of, gosh, asthma. There’s so many things, I feel like I’m leaving, like a huge list of things off them that it prevents. I mean, generally, you know, breastfed babies get over illness quicker, and all of those sorts of things as well. The other cool thing is that nursing itself provides mechanical benefits to your baby that are present outside of breast milk. So what I mean by that is just the act of your baby latching and nursing at the breast that actually guides the development of their cranial facial complex. So generally, what we’re looking at is really from the eye sockets down. So it’s that jaw, it’s that airway growth and development. So when your baby’s latched on to the breast, the breast molds and fits to shape their mouth, it widens their palate, it brings their jaw forward, which gives them a nice open airway, it can affect the growth and development of their eye sockets, which could mean they have a stigmatism or not later on in life. So there are benefits for eyesight. So it’s preventive of things like snoring and sleep apnea. For those reasons, it would also be preventative things like ADHD. So there’s a lot of downstream effects where we know that breast milk already prevents a lot of things. But then if you’re able to nurse your baby, even if it’s not full time, even if it’s not a full milk supply, and you soft, a supplement or something like that, those mechanical benefits, posture, reflexes, just you know, so sensory motor complex, all of those things are sort of integrated into breastfeeding. And nursing. Nursing is this thing that your baby does with their whole body, not just with their mouth. So the way you position them, when you nurse them at the breast, the way that you know, they move their jaw in their mouth, and their tongue, all of those things matter, and contribute to their growth and development that, you know, 90% of cranial facial growth is actually complete by age two. So in terms of their school, and airway, and jaw formation, and all of that a lot of that is happening. And if you guys didn’t know this, this was like a huge kerfuffle on the internet. But earlier last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics changed their recommendations to match the World Health Organization’s recommendations that breastfeeding is recommended until age two and beyond. And it was previously age one. And the reason for that the World Health Organization has had this recommendation for a very long time is really one that cranial facial growth, right? That’s happening up until age two years, but also, biologically speaking for humans, really, babies and children were meant to nurse at least until age two, generally, if everything is going well no one’s intervening in anything, it’s very rare for a child under age to to want to self wean or reject the breast and be ready to stop. So kind of like you know, if you think of dogs, cats, you know, other mammals, right? There’s some timeframe that we expect them to nurse with their moms humans have a timeframe to and that’s actually two years. Yeah.


Allie Page  34:42  

I’m so glad that you went into all of that. And I actually I remembered as soon as you said it, but I had kind of forgotten that the AAP had switched their recommendations but and you know, something that a lot of people I feel like don’t realize is you know, we what we think of as normal is like, just ignore I’m all in like our society, like, if you look outside of, you know, we’re in the US, but like, if you look at other countries around the world, some of those women are breastfeeding until like five to seven, which, of course that like, sounds crazy to us, because we’re used to, like, less than 12 months for the most part, and, you know, but it’s just, that was always just like, interesting and, like, made me more curious of like, why do we only nurse for like, up to a year by standards? And like, other places are like saying, Let no less than five, you know, and but that’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing all of that.


Jacqueline Kincer  35:36  

Yeah. Can I piggyback on that really quick, of course. So I was kind of given the comparison of like, you know, puppies, right. And so puppies have little puppy teeth. And then those teeth fall out. And commonly they’re called milk teeth. And in humans, they used to be called milk teeth, too. And if you think about the ages, when human children start to lose teeth, usually five or six at the earliest, so seven sometimes. And so like you said, there are people in other cultures that and even in the US, it does happen, it’s just usually not as talked about and happens behind closed doors. But they’re very often nursing their children to five, six or seven, as well. And so that coincides with those eruption of adult teeth. And that’s really the time that, you know, as I said, biologically speaking, that, you know, we’re meant to start that we are, you know, you’re starting the weaning process before that by introducing solid foods, but you’re completing that weaning process at that point.


Allie Page  36:31  

Yeah, I thank you so much for bringing that up. Because I just, it’s like, just continually, like blowing my mind, or it just always blows my mind, the more I learned about like our body, and that, like, you know, that it’s just like, this is all actually there’s like, kind of this like, underlying, like, divine blueprint for everything. And I say this as, like, I truly believe like humans want to help and like, of course, like, it’s like, from a good place. But it’s like, we actually are doing more harm, usually, like unintentionally trying to, you know, in the name of health, but like, really, if we just were to like, let nature sort of take its course it’s like, there is actually like this probably like very natural process that would be taking shape. And we’re just really out of touch or disconnected from it. Something that I wanted to circle back to was like you were talking about, you know, sometimes it’s so hard, like, especially if you’re in the middle of the night, and you’re like, oh my gosh, why am I doing this and something that are lactation? Well, I say our because I was like in this amazing like community of mothers, but like, of the lactation consultant, who I was really close with at the time, she was basically like, do not even bring formula into the house. Like if you know that you want to nurse and like you really want to breastfeed, like she’ll basically she basically said like, it will be so hard, are on those nights that are so hard. It’s so easy and tempting to reach for, you know, the the formula, when really like, if you I mean, if it’s the middle of the night, I’m not sure if you’ll be texting your lactation consultant, but maybe, but you know, like, she was basically. Yes. I mean, I think it just depends on your response. Will you wake up the next morning? Yeah, um, you know, but she was basically like, do not even bring it into the house. And I’m not saying that, like, you have to do this. I’m just saying like, if this is like, if you really know that you want to nurse, it’s not just going to be like sunshine and rainbows necessarily, and like having that easy outlet is just, it’s like really tempting on those hard days. And you know, she would always say like, Don’t quit on your hardest days. Like, if you want to quit, that’s fine. But like, do it from a place where like you are, like, actually thoughtful and sincere, and not just because you’re totally done. I’m just curious, if you have thoughts about that, or what you would say, you know, as far as like having formula in reach or anything like that.


Jacqueline Kincer  39:04  

Yeah, I would say I agree with that advice. You know, generally speaking, because it is it is tempting, if you have it there and you know, it’s there, and you know, it’s an option and a really viable option that could be available to you in the next five minutes, you’re more likely to utilize it and, you know, most of the time, it’s unnecessary, right? Like, you’ll know if you need it or not. And, you know, I try to operate from a place of of need, you know, if if breastfeeding is not important to you, then you know, fine make that switch, but like you’re saying, do that from from not a place of, you know, make a sound decision, right, not just a one off emotional like, you know, state of overwhelm. And, you know, it can also be too I’ve seen a lot of the times that while they’re really well intentioned, your partner may be the one that reaches for that formula because they see you in distress or, or they see you struggling with things and they I think that’s helping you. But it could be that first thing that happens to really undermine your ability to successfully breastfeed. And so, you know, for a lot of reasons, I would say it’s not a great idea to have it in the home. But another really important one that’s timely, but I suspect will will kind of be something that continues is, you know, there’s been a formula shortage. And there are some massive supply chain issues because of contamination with us formula manufacturers. And even though one of those plants reopened, after several months, it very quickly shut down again, because the contamination issue was different and not fixed. And so our supply chain is really unstable in terms of that, and we can import it from elsewhere. But when people stockpile, when they unnecessarily keep formula in their homes, even if it’s just one can, with lots of you are doing that, that limits the supply that people very really need for their babies. And so what happens when you’re keeping that count a formula for a maybe, or that bottle or whatever, right? Someone else is looking at multiple stores on the shelves for that, and they can’t get it. So keep that in mind. If you’re looking for a really good reason. I have been discouraging this for the first reason you mentioned but now even more, so please do not stockpile formula in the event that you might need it. If you need it, it’s available. And you there are places to cut it let me know if you really can’t find it. But you can. And you know, just so that way, it’s kind of like the whole toilet paper issue at the beginning of COVID. Right? Like we just don’t, there’s already limits in the stores, you can buy one calculate just don’t be part of the problem. Okay. But yeah, it’s just all too tempting. It really is. And you know, you might wake up that next morning and go, Well, I’m over the hump now. You know, and you probably be kicking yourself, Had you given that bottle of formula and gone? Oh, shoot, I really shouldn’t have done that. And do I have to keep giving it and it just becomes a whole thing? Yeah.


Allie Page  41:51  

And, you know, I love that you brought that up, and actually the formula shortage, while we’re on that topic of just Do you have any insight or tips maybe on like, if people can’t find formula, or it’s like, they’re having a hard time nursing, but they still want to, and they’re trying to figure out, you know, what’s going on? Or how to get back on track? You know, and they might be looking at, like milk from like a milk bank? Do you have any tips on like, how to go about finding donor breast milk, IF formula? Formula is like hard to find? Or they really still just want to have breast milk or breast milk available for


Jacqueline Kincer  42:28  

their baby? Yeah, good question. Like I said, for the most part, you know, even you know, even in the worst stages of the formula shortage, you know, you could, you know, drive far enough to a store to find it, right, like, it’s still around may not be the brand you wanted, but it’s there, you can also opt in and ask your OBS office to have some of their samples. For some weird reason formula, companies are still delivering those. And I don’t know, feel like they should be on the shelf for people to buy, but like whatever. PDF notes, very often have samples, like if you were in real dire need, those are two really good places, it doesn’t even have to be your OB or pediatrician, right? You could just call and say, I desperately need formula, I cannot find any at the local stores. Do you have any samples that you would, you know, give out great. You know, like, that’s an option. You can always contact like your state health department. So I never want people to panic and feel like oh, I went to one store to and I didn’t find anything like it’s available, and there’s ways to get it. So yeah, ask your ask your child’s pediatrician, they’ll also know. But donor milk is great, right? donor milk is an incredible option, it’s obviously preferred, it’s harder to secure. So if we’re going to talk about milk banks, you know, not every state in the US has one, not even half the states. And so if your state doesn’t have one, it’s going to be really difficult for you to secure donor milk. Even if it does have one, it’s usually prioritized for hospitalized infants, typically premies, Nicu babies this and that. So the supply is going to go to them first because for them, human milk is a life or death issue, whereas for your child, it may not be. So if you can’t get it, please understand that it’s expensive. And it’s you know, something that’s handled very carefully. Shipping, dry ice, all all of that, right. So it’s there’s like a lot that goes into it. So generally speaking, unless your infant’s hospitalized, you’re probably not going to get it from a milk bank. So your only other option is to get it informally. We call this private arrangement, milk sharing. That’s kind of like the formal term for it. This is where you go and find a mom, maybe you know her, maybe you don’t. And you asked her for her breast milk. There are lots of really kind hearted mamas out there who have an oversupply or who have stopped breastfeeding and have stored breast milk and they would not want to pour that down the drain. They would cry their rise out after all that hard work of pumping it. Right. They would much rather give it to someone who really needed it and could use it. There are some safety issues to keep in mind with that and so this is really where like your personal comfort level. All comes in, it’s on you to screen the donor. So the problem that I see a lot of people running into is, when you try to screen really heavily, that donor might be like, you know what that’s like way too much work. And I have someone over here who’s willing to take the breast milk. So like, you know, if you’re saying I want lab work, I want you know, a list of medications that you’re on, and I want your medical records like, you can certainly ask for those things. Some people have it, they’re willing to give it to you. Others might not be, but you get to be as discerning as you’d like to be. The great thing to know about human milk is that it’s really not something where very few communicable diseases can be passed on through breast milk. And then you really just want to make sure that somebody has really good safety and hygiene practices, right? Are they washing their hands before they pump, and they handle the bags or whatever storage containers, all of that, are they storing that milk properly. And you know, there’s a lot of nuance to that, right? Sometimes you develop like a friendship or a relationship with someone, maybe it’s your sister, maybe it’s a friend, you already know, maybe it’s someone in a mom’s group, it’s totally up to you. One thing to keep in mind is that this is sort of like the etiquette of getting donor milk, is you’re not paying for the milk. And if anyone is ever charging you for the milk, that’s a red flag, and I would definitely stay away. It’s probably not even breast milk. So I hate to say it just do not pay for breast milk. It’s really weird. When I see that happening. It’s, there’s been investigations. And it’s, you know, people have actually tested it in labs, like it’s like flour mixed with water, it’s definitely not something you should be feeding your child. So stay away from that. Picture that it’s a trusted source. And then beyond that, like, I would really just say that, you know, take what you can get, right? Even if your baby isn’t able to have exclusively, breast milk for all of their milk, any amount of breast milk that you’re able to provide your child, whether it’s yours, whether it’s someone else’s, is incredible. And some people feel icky about other people’s breast milk. Truthfully, this is like something that we’ve done as humans for a very long time, right, but nurses and all of that. So your baby’s getting exposed to different antibodies, different immune benefits. It’s kind of cool different food proteins. So there’s a lot to consider. I don’t want to tell you, you know, blanket, yes, donor milk is amazing. Just screen, make sure you feel comfortable with it before you accept that donation. And then please be a kind recipient and replenish their milk storage bags or pump parts or whatever it is. Because again, you’re getting this out of the goodness of someone’s heart. So it’s nice for you to do that for them.


Allie Page  47:37  

I love that. Thank you so much. And yeah, just so many good little tips in there. And I cannot believe like flour and water. That is insane.


Jacqueline Kincer  47:46  

Yeah, it’s yeah, it’s scary. And the whole charging for breast milk thing I think started with like, people who are cancer patients or bodybuilder just finding out about the benefits. And like, they totally shouldn’t be paying for it. Because that’s like you were not, you know, all you that right? Yeah, like, you’re taking it away from babies. So I’m not sure I’m okay with that either.


Allie Page  48:05  



Jacqueline Kincer  48:06  

that’s out there.


Allie Page  48:08  

I was maybe gonna mention this earlier when you were talking. But then, you know, I just had other questions I wanted to get to instead. But um, you know, it is funny that you said that about like cancer patients is there was a woman who I did. I went to a breastfeeding seminar a long time ago, like maybe in like, 2012 or something. And she, she wasn’t like saying, like, Oh, this is like the way but her husband had been her husband had been diagnosed with cancer. And basically, she was like, well, this can’t hurt. So let’s just try this. And all of his tumors have gone down. And like, I don’t know what how that ended. But I just remember thinking like, gosh, that is so wild, like our breast milk is so cool. Okay, just as we start to wrap up, I am going to ask you the same three questions. I kind of end with everybody, if you want to answer them the same, like or sorry, related to like what we’ve talked about, that’s great. If you want to just go totally rogue and answer from personal experience or whatever, that’s great, too. Okay, this one is what would your what would you do differently if you could go back and redo your entrance into motherhood with your first? So something you wish you could say to yourself or encourage yourself or anything like that?


Jacqueline Kincer  49:15  

Oh, that’s a really good question. It would really be understanding that I don’t have to have all the answers at once. And it would also be that I don’t have to do everything myself. I really got and I see a lot of moms doing this right. And I think it’s just kind of the nature of being a woman in today’s modern society to some degree, especially a mom, right? That, you know, we take so much on, and we forget to offload things and so I kind of kept like my current plates, and that I added to it as opposed to reprioritizing and making some shifts, and so I felt like oh my gosh, I need to know everything about, you know, child development right now, while my babies and infants so that I can be prepared for the next stage while also learning everything I need to know about having an infant and postpartum and breastfeed, like, it was all so much like, Why was I already thinking about preschools and elementary schools? Like, I have a two month old what’s going on? You know? And I’m not saying that happens to everybody. But you know, then on top of that, right, like, feeling like, okay, yes, I should still be, you know, cooking meals from scratch and keeping up with all of the cleaning, or whatever it was that I was doing. Yeah, that was a lot, you know, it’s okay to let things go, it’s okay to ask for help. Like, I definitely could have asked my mom for help more, I definitely could have leaned on friends more. And I just, you know, had this, I don’t know, like this internal thing of, you know, I can do this. And no one needs to know any different and how dare anybody think that I’m not capable of being, you know, the mom that does it all. And it was really, really unhealthy. So I would love to go back to myself and be like, first of all, chill. Second of all, it’s like, okay, if you like, don’t shower today, and, you know, just let it go, you might be a more easygoing person than I was, and that I am. But that would be really good advice for myself is just, you know, take this time, slow down, it really does go faster than you think. I have a nine and six year old now, I promise you, it goes faster than you think. And I wish that I had spent more time just, you know, really relaxing into early motherhood, and I would have enjoyed it a lot more and felt a lot less stressed.


Allie Page  51:31  

Yes, I love that so much. And honestly could just say like, ditto to all of that. What do you wish more women knew before they became mothers? Oh, wow.


Jacqueline Kincer  51:45  

A lot of things. Um, there’s like kind of something that I would say is like, near and dear to my heart, which is that if you have any kind of neuro divergence, or mental illness that you were previously not aware of, or in denial about, it will become very apparent to you, when you become a mom. And not because you know of anything other than the fact that you know, it’s a lot, your brain goes through a lot of changes. This is very well documented in the scientific literature, you basically create all new neural pathways, right? Your hormones, neurotransmitters, like everything is functioning really different differently. And so there’s this idea that, you know, we’ve we’ve learned about as a citing culture, that postpartum depression, postpartum anxiety that those things exist, I would argue that most of the time, it’s not solely a postpartum issue, and that was always there. But this was maybe the straw that broke the camel’s back. And it’s okay, like, so more people than you know, struggle with this outside of motherhood and absolutely within it, and you should really listen to yourself and really get help, and maybe your doctor doesn’t know, but you’re gonna have to, like, just be resourceful and find someone who does, because I think it’s one of those things that we just sort of go oh, well, it’s normal to, you know, think about all of these things. Like what I was describing, I wish I had let go a little bit more. Yeah, there was also something else going on for me and I wish that I had known what to look for, you know, how to recognize it, how to ask for help. And I just kept thinking I can do this myself, right? Or, Oh, I just maybe I just have, you know, postpartum anxiety while I didn’t have postpartum anxiety. And so, you know, there’s a lot of things to those topics. And I certainly can’t cover them in this talk. And I’m not a mental health expert by any means. But I would just say that, if something is coming up for you, and you’re struggling mentally and emotionally, more than you think other people are, maybe it’s because you are, and that’s okay, and it doesn’t mean anything’s wrong with you, it just means that you might need to learn more about yourself and get some additional support. I love that


Allie Page  54:00  

that might be one of if not, it’s definitely one of the top three favorite answers so far. That was so good. Um, okay, what is one way you would encourage or recommend spouses to get involved to better support her through her transition into motherhood?


Jacqueline Kincer  54:16  

Yes, so good. There are some definite differences between men and women. And generally speaking, not everybody is this way, but men typically like to provide solutions. They also like to be the protectors, right? Especially, you know, now they’re a dad, like, you know, they feel this responsibility. And, you know, they’re, they’re the person who kind of takes care of everybody, sometimes. And when that happens, they can offer solutions that maybe you didn’t ask for. Maybe you didn’t want a solution presented at all. You just wanted to talk about what’s going on and you needed to just communicate and feel heard and all of that. So, you know, if you’re a partner of a breastfeeding mom but your job is to listen and to validate. And unless she is specifically asking you for solutions, please don’t offer them be there to just hold space to really like acknowledge all the things that she’s feeling and thinking, try to read between the lines about, you know, if she’s making a complaint, what’s really the underlying feeling that might be behind that complaint? Is it overwhelm? Does she not feel like you’re supporting her enough? Constantly be thinking about what could I do and ask her? Don’t assume, ask, What can I do to support you more? Are you feeling like I’m supporting you enough? Those questions could be the biggest sigh of relief for your partner her like she could literally like, that’s all I wanted to hear, you know, the fact that you’re even thinking, am I supporting her in the right ways? And the ways that she needs and the ways that she’s asking me for it? Is there something she is feeling like she can’t ask me for that she should be, like, have those conversations and just ask a lot of questions, be there to listen, be there support her. And the other thing I’ll say, too, is that, you know, really try to balance things equally. Like, you know, if you have, you know, the female partner, like she’s staying home from work for, you know, either maternity leave, or forever, whatever it is, don’t make the assumption that all of the home duties fall on her and they don’t, okay, like you’re also at home too. And I hate that I have to say this, but it is something that I still see is a somewhat common mentality. So you know, be there to pick up the pieces like no, the house is not going to be as clean as it used to be or, you know, there won’t be a fresh like home cooked meal all of the time. It’s okay. Like pick up something readymade at Costco and go for it. That’s what I would say.


Allie Page  56:46  

Yes, I love it. And I love that you brought back food because you know, when you were first answering, I was like, just offer her some water and some food and like that all the time. She just needs water and like liquids and food near her all the time and some chapstick. But


Jacqueline Kincer  57:03  

stick Yes, it’s so true. Which if you use nipple cream, it makes it great chapstick, by the way, so it’s a two for one. Perfect. That’s great.


Allie Page  57:10  

Thank you so much for being here. It’s been so lovely to chat, and I hope you have a great rest of your day.


Unknown Speaker  57:22  

Did you know Most moms stopped breastfeeding and 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 Allie Page as they embark on a 6-day Birth of a Mother Summit. This episode is Jacqueline’s airing at the summit and it’s filled with some amazing tips and insight into motherhood from Jacqueline’s point of view. 

You’ll hear about everything from how to prep your body for an easier conception and healthier pregnancy, to being challenged to think about birth from a new perspective, and tons of tips to foster a smoother postpartum period.


In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • The health benefits to mom and baby when breastfeeding
  • When, how, and why you should seek out an IBCLC
  • How to go about finding donor breastmilk


A glance at this episode:

  • [1:57] How Jacqueline got into birth work
  • [4:59] What is a vital sign
  • [7:23] Why most caregivers won’t know that breastfeeding is a vital sign
  • [10:57] When and why you should have an IBCLC on your team 
  • [19:21] Health benefits to mom when she breastfeeds
  • [23:36] Breastfeeding benefits for baby
  • [38:22] Having formula on hand and how that can hinder your breastfeeding experience
  • [42:03] Insight and tips on finding donor breastmilk
  • [48:49] Jacqueline shares one thing she would change about her intro to motherhood
  • [51:37] One thing Jacqueline wishes new mothers could know before they become mothers
  • [54:08] One way Jacqueline would encourage spouses to connect for the transition into motherhood


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