We are so thrilled to introduce you to our newest lactation consultant at SDBFC! Michelle Clookie joined our team in September 2017, as a lactation consultant intern. Since then, she has joined our SDBFC Foundation Board, is one of our support group leaders, and started to see her own patients on May 7th. Here is my interview with Michelle. We can't wait for you all to meet her!
Michelle, tell us about yourself!
I grew up in Southern California, and moved to San Diego 11 years ago after living in Austin, TX for 2 years. I met my husband, Jeremy, shortly after moving to San Diego and we have been married for 7 years. After 8 years in non-profit, where I focused on training, development and content writing, I decided to stay home with our little girl Charlotte when she turned 1. I fell in love with all things motherhood: the community, the support, and soon starting working for the Postpartum Health Alliance part time to help support Mamas. After having our son, Beckett, who is now two, I realized I wanted to go even further into supporting families. I decided I could combine my love for training, and supporting families, by becoming a lactation consultant. Supporting people through empowerment has always been my passion and my work, and this has by far been the most fulfilling. I work part time and then spend as much time as I can with my kids and husband at the beach!
What inspired you to become a lactation consultant?
I had breastfeeding challenges with both of my children, and because it was so unexpected with my first baby, it took a long time for me to accept the situation. I tapped into a lot of support, and these struggles allowed me to see an incredibly supportive side of the San Diego mom community. I quickly began doing all that I could to help normalize breastfeeding and motherhood challenges. This just feels like the most natural next step in my support of all things mom/baby/family.
What are you most excited about working with SDBFC?
I have been a patient of the SDBFC two different times, and I am most excited to offer the same quality care I received to the families I work with. I am also really proud that SDBFC supports so many military families. I have a deep respect for the sacrifices military families make on a daily basis, and I feel honored to be able give back to their families anyway I can.
What are your top 3 tips for a brand new breastfeeding family?
- Surround yourself with people who have similar goals. There are many different ways to parent a child, and I have found it easier to achieve my parenting goals when I surround myself with others who share my same vision. Breastfeeding can bring on unexpected challenges, but when you are surrounded by people that understand your goal, it will be much easier to reach it!
- Have a plan, but keep your expectations flexible. I LOVE planning, and learned within the first 24hrs of parenthood (actually birth) that sometimes your kids have other plans. That’s ok. I have found it much easier to offer myself grace (and others grace) when I am flexible with my expectations. Things may not look the way you wanted them to, but there is still beauty there!
- Ask for help! There is a running joke not to ask me if I need anything, because I will gladly tell you my Costco shopping list. Motherhood wasn’t meant to be done alone, ask for help without shame. San Diego has the most incredible resources for families, if you are in need of support in any way, I can almost guarantee you that there is a loving person waiting to help you! A great place to start making those connections is in Breastfeeding support groups, baby classes (sign language, tummy time etc.), and baby wearing groups!