This business inside Renown Regional Medical Center is there for breastfeeding moms and their families. It offers everything from one-on-one consultations to products for breastfeeding moms that can be found nowhere else in Reno.
It was really bustling during a typical recent day at The Lactation Connection. The three people working were all having individual conversations. One was with a woman who was leaving from a consultation and offered a huge thank-you and hug. Another was heading to an office to discuss breastfeeding. The third woman had some questions about some of the products available there.
“That’s what we want,” said Robin Hollen, RN, Lactation Consultant. “We want it to be the place for people to feel comfortable about discussing anything having to do with breastfeeding. Renown has allowed us to do that — to be something for everyone in the community.”
Last year, the staff of The Lactation Connection had 800 private lactation consultation appointments. And that’s just one aspect of this resource, which is located near Starbucks at Renown Regional Medical Center. It also features a variety of breast pumps, supplies and a certified nursing bra fitter (not to mention bras that are unique to the store).
All About the Weight
Another key resource at the Lactation Connection: the popular and very sensitive weight scale for free drop-in baby weight checks.
“Outpatient visits by a pediatrician or nurse practitioner for newborns are typically three days, two weeks and two months, yet often parents are unsure of their milk supply and want to know if their baby is getting enough breast milk,” said Sarah Ortega, Lactation Liaison. “So, they can come and use one of our scales, and they can keep track of the weights here to help them validate their concerns about supply.”
Additionally, the Lactation Connection also hosts no-cost, twice-a-week forums. There, breastfeeding moms and their babies can stop by and “just share, talk, weigh their babies and get reassurance,” Hollen said. They also work closely with postpartum lactation consultants in the Renown Health network for seamless post-hospital follow-up after a mother gives birth.
Supporting a Family’s Goals
Both Hollen and Ortega said they hear great things from people who use their services. “They absolutely love it,” Hollen said. “They feel like they are being heard and they are able to spend time with us to have their concerns fully addressed without any kind of judgment.”Ortega added that she and the rest of the Connection staff “are here to achieve the mother’s goals. We don’t have our own agenda. We support the families’ goals, and we aren’t here to get them to commit to a certain amount of time for breastfeeding.”
Because of this tailored approach, the staff at The Lactation Connection break through the standard-issue advice and make it more about the individual mom and her needs. Their information is always evidence-based and coupled with expert guidance, skills and information. Therefore, they are there to empower moms and their families to nourish and nurture their babies.
“Many families share the rules or books that they have Googled, adding to all the clichés repeated to them, and they come to us sometimes exhausted and unsure,” Ortega said. “Within consultation or just when they visit the store, families often thank us for validating them and not making them feel like they were doing something wrong.”
Above all, Hollen said that The Lactation Connection “is a space where moms can finally relieve the pressures of breastfeeding and all the hoop-jumping to get it right. Here, they can just get things together for their family, which is the most important thing. That’s what we are here for.”