Category Archives: Lactation Counseling

Where the Heck I’ve Been Lately…

First of all, I just want to say thank you. I am blown away by the amount of people who still check my website and blog daily, even though it has been so long in between posts. Thank you! I just wanted to write a brief entry to let my readers know that I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. Quite the contrary, actually. I’m more grounded, alive, and focused than ever…

It is no secret that my husband and I want to start a family. This feat, however, has not been easy for us. February marks the fourth year we will be dealing with infertility, so a few months ago I made a choice. I chose to make any and every sacrifice to take the steps to start our family. I made the choice to give up some “me” time to focus on how to make our dreams a reality. The hardest choice, though, was to put some aspects of my business on the back burner. Like keeping up this blog, for instance. Is that exactly fair to the community who has been so supportive of me? Not at all. But it is a (slightly selfish) decision I made to help get us on the right track.

So what has been taking up most of my time? Work. Four jobs, to be precise. I usually work at least two jobs per day, and have zero days off (except this week for Thanksgiving, which was LOVELY!). I work anywhere from 70-90 hours a week, and am slowly trying to help build our IVF bankroll.

Don’t feel sorry for me, though, because I certainly don’t. It’s amazing how focused you can stay when you have a goal set, and an end in sight. And, another great thing…with the way my schedule works, I am still able to take my doula and lactation counseling clients – so, while you may not see me posting regularly, rest assured my clients are still well taken care of. And, at one of my jobs, I get to help families become properly protected with a product I truly believe in, which has been so rewarding. And, at another job I get to work with some of my best friends. And, I still have time for an occasional romantic date night. And, I still have time to enjoy a home cooked meal with my family. And, I still have time for a weekend brunch or wine tasting with my girlfriends. It’s really amazing how much time you actually have in a day. One thing I’ve always done for myself that I haven’t been able to do much of lately, though, is go to the gym. But, hey, I will figure out a way to work it in there at some point. Until then, I will just be a little rounder :)

So thank you for staying tuned in. I am in the process of figuring out ways to keep this blog alive despite being so busy. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated :)

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Above is some evidence that despite my hectic schedule I still have time to do most of the things I love <3

 

 

A Year in Review

Today is my first MCMaternity baby’s first birthday. Where the HECK has the time gone?! I can’t believe I am lucky enough to have been doing what I love for a year. And, I can’t thank the families who put their trust in me to be a part of their birth stories enough. Without people believing in what I do, there would be no MCMaternity. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

What has this year looked like? Below is a little summary of highlights:

  • Completed my DONA International Doula training workshop in Albany, NY
  • 7 vaginal deliveries
  • 1 Caesarean section delivery
  • Helped an additional 5 families prepare for birth (education, birth plan design)
  • Became a Certified Lactation Counselor
  • Took classes in childbirth education, reflexology, and breastfeeding
  • Had my services auctioned at the AGC Scholarship Foundation Gala for Hope

What do I have planned so far for this year?

  • Twins! Multiple sets of them :) :)
  • Experience with same-sex couples
  • Infant CPR certification
  • Learning more tips for the blog, first-hand, by babysitting my favorite 4 month old baby girl

What are my goals for this year?

  • Help a lot of people
  • To finish all certifications I have started
  • Figure out better ways to market myself
  • Write more blog entries
  • GET PREGNANT. For crying out loud.
  • At least 12 deliveries. At LEAST.
  • Complete the “Packages” section of my website
  • Learn more about the business side of business
  • Find a good, reliable back-up doula (anyone interested??)

Long-shot Goals (if I make enough revenue to support):

  • Start the process of becoming a certified Childbirth Educator
  • Become a certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (that’s right, folks! It’s time other people hop on board the placenta-loving train!)

I am very excited about this coming year. Now that I have some great education and first-hand birth experience under my belt, I certainly need to learn more about the business side of this business. Have suggestions? Don’t be shy! I thrive off of constructive criticism, and I created this website for you. Let’s make this business work, together :)

Interested in joining my team? Contact me. Know of anyone who could benefit from my services? Please, let me know. Want to give my services as a baby shower gift? I have the certificate ready :)

And, if you see this handsome, happy little one-year old (who absolutely ADORES his older sister), wish him a Happy Birthday!

Posted with permission

Posted with permission

 

Big News at MCMaternity

First of all, I want to say thank you to everyone who reached out about my big news! Second, considering all of the pregnancy inquiries I received, my news is going to be anticlimactic for some. But as far as my business goes IT IS HUGE!

So, here goes:

You know that exam I was so concerned about? The ANCC-accredited Nursing Skills Competency Program Certified Lactation Counselor exam?  Well, I FREAKING PASSED IT!!! And, I didn’t just pass it, I freaking nailed it. Turns out, I know more about boobies than I thought I did :)

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I took the exam through the Healthy Children Project, Inc. which is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s COA.

Now, I am Mary Choquette, CLC. Has a nice ring to it, eh?

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So, what does that mean for MCMaternity? It means that I can now make house calls to women struggling with breastfeeding, or provide phone counseling. Also, even more so than before, I can help initiate breastfeeding immediately after birth. I can assess a latch, determine feeding issues, offer guidance, and really counsel women to be successful with their breastfeeding journey. To anyone who has struggled with any aspect of breastfeeding, imagine how different your experience could have been with a little support.

It also means I now have the “authority” (if you will) to help change breastfeeding views in my community. I have the education necessary to “get some attention” from local hospitals and legislation writers. I can speak intelligently about the ’10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding’ in hopes that hospitals with staff who are “set in their ways” to be re-educated with this research-based evidence of how to bring the success rates up. And, I plan to do just that. With the right support, so many more women can be advantageous in their nursing journey.

Did you have trouble with breastfeeding? If so, what were some ways you worked through the issues at hand?

Are you having trouble now? If so, call me :)

My Breast Week of Learning – Ever

As many of you know from my Facebook page, I recently attended the Healthy Children’s Center for Breastfeeding Certified Lactation Counselor training course. This course was a 45-hour, non-stop, fast-paced, research-based training to become a CLC. At the end of the course we all took an exam that consisted of video competencies, visual diagnostic questions, and a multiple choice exam. My reaction to the course as a whole: wow. I am completely blown away. I had no idea there was so much to know about breasts, lactation, latch, hormones, feeding issues, methodology, etc. etc. While I will have MANY more posts in the future about breastfeeding (as soon as I can wrangle up some brave mamas who will consent to being photographed!) below are my “Top 5″ favorite topics covered in the course.

1.  First and foremost, learning about “The Magical Hour”. I could have spent 45 hours on this alone. I was in tears after watching the video, and hearing people’s personal experiences. The gist here is that all babies, when allowed to be skin-to-skin right after birth, go through nine distinct stages. In the eighth stage, or the “Suckling Stage”, baby learns how to self-attach to mom’s breast and suckle. This lays the foundation for a successful breastfeeding experience, and My God, it is so beautiful to watch a baby go through these steps. (To learn more about “The Magical Hour” visit this site.)

2.  Next, learning about all of the benefits of breastfeeding made me a little sad. Why? Because I feel like they aren’t all “public knowledge”. I feel like if women knew all of the benefits, they would only choose not to breastfeed if they physically could not. Before the course I knew breastfeeding was beneficial to mother and baby, but I did not know of any concrete-evidence-based facts. I didn’t know that it was so important the Surgeon General released a Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding. I will certainly get more in-depth about these benefits in another entry, but man. Boobies are amazing.

3.  I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. That means that since high school, I have taken one “science course” which was “Physics for the Humanist”. Aside from the little tidbits from my doula, baby planning, and childbirth education courses, science has pretty much taken a back seat. The picture of me below is my “oh shit” face after realizing the first whole day was about the science and anatomy of the human breast and stages of lactogenesis. I soon realized that just knowing “milk comes out of there” was not going to cut it in this course. As I sat between nurses, midwives, nurse practitioners, etc. who were nodding along, already familiar with the terms, I sat there frantically highlighting, making notecards, and turning to my glossary. The science behind breastfeeding is truly fascinating, and I am so pleased that something of this nature finally interests me!

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“Oh shit” face, after-class study station, Alex&Ani inspiration

4.   Learning how to properly assess a latch, understanding feeding cues (not just the obvious ones!), and being able to determine whether or not the baby is thriving are very important tools I learned in the course. I feel confident in my ability to assess a feeding, and how to guide mom when things aren’t going well.

5.  I really learned how to counsel women. I think that some of the breastfeeding campaign has become a scare tactic (like, you MUST do this if you want the best for your baby, rather than giving women the tools to succeed) and I feel I learned some good tools to help women succeed, rather than bully them into trying it.

While I found the course extremely challenging, mostly due to my lack of biology training, it was certainly my “breast” week of learning – ever. I left the class feeling empowered to help women (and their partners) be successful in their breastfeeding journey. I also felt empowered to take as many steps as possible to normalize breastfeeding, promote it, and establish best practice within my community.