Lactation Consulting Services Comes to Swanton

Breast feeding, a mother nourishing her infant with milk from her own body, seems like the easiest and, of course, the most natural, nutritional way to feed a child when they are first brought into the world.  However, for women who chose the breast-feeding option, it can be far more complicated stressful and frustratingly difficult than they could imagine and often times requires professional help.

For those women there are people like Sarah Domoe, a professional Lactation Consultant who’s recently opened Oaks Lactation and Wellness at 113 South Main Street in Swanton.  Sarah, a married Wauseon mother of three young children, started on this career path running a breast-feeding program for a local health department before starting a private practice with home care visits during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Eventually, demand for her services grew so large she decided to open an office to see clients in addition to home visits of families within a 45-minute traveling radius.

Having her first child was the initial motivation behind her desire to work with women who had just given birth.  “I’ve always had this desire to work with babies and when I became a mom, I developed this passion to work with post-partum moms,” she explained.  “There’s not nearly enough support for post-partum moms in this area, anywhere in this country, really.”

Sarah’s focus goes well beyond making sure milk makes its way from the breast to the baby.  “I’m here to take care of the moms as well.  ‘Are you taking care of you?’” she will ask.  “Yes, we’re going to make sure your baby is fed but we also need to make sure you’re being taken care of, too.  Are you nurturing yourself as much as you’re nurturing your baby?”

Sarah maintains that breast-feeding is becoming more common than it was during the past two generations when baby formula ruled the day.  “It was known that formula was like this magical milk in those generations and that’s why there is a lack of support now for breast-feeding parents because our grandmothers didn’t do it.  A lot of time our moms didn’t do it,” she said.

Today’s mothers are more willing and likely to at least attempt to breast-feed says Sarah but there are fewer women from the previous generations with first-hand knowledge that can pass along their experiences.  She, on the other hand, has three children, seven, five and two years of age, and has been breast-feeding for many years.  Sarah also contends that how babies are fed, whether it be with formula, pumped breast milk or direct contact feeding, is a personal decision and she has no issue with any of the choices.  Sarah admits she is not a big fan of pumping, mainly because of the extra work involved including the equipment maintenance and clean up.  But she also realizes it may be the only option for some.

Even mothers with multiple children may have problems feeding their third or fourth or fifth child because, as Sarah emphasizes, every child is different and the problem is more often with the baby and not the mother.  With mothers she works mainly on supply management, removing milk to make milk.  “I’m working mostly with the babies.  Most of my babies struggle with oral function.  They don’t know what to do with their mouth.  That’s kind of like my specialty,” she said.  “Moms come to me and say, ‘What’s wrong with me?’ There is nothing wrong with anybody.  Your baby just needs to be taught a few things to help relax a little bit.”

Stress and body tension of both mother and child are two other factors important in successful breast-feeding.  “A lot of what I’m teaching is how can I get you to bond with and love on your baby so you both enjoy it.  That will help your supply.  That will help baby kind of relax.  So, that’s almost always part of the care plan,”

Another major decision is when to stop and move on to formula or even dairy milk and solid foods.  “The most important thing when we’re talking about how long we’re going to breastfeed and keep this relationship going is that it needs to be mutually desired,” stated Ms. Domoe.  “The baby always wants to, but if mom is not enjoying it and is so stressed about feeding her baby that she can’t bond with her baby or enjoy her baby and think it’s a feel-good loving time, then it’s time to make a change.”

Sarah believes, no matter what choice a woman makes to feed her baby in those early days, weeks and months, the goal is to have mother and child experience a loving and emotional bonding experience.  “Our goal is for mothers to look back at that time and think, ‘That was awesome.’”

Oaks Lactation can be contacted by phone at 419-314-4752 and by email at sarah@oakslactation.com

Pictured:  Sarah Domoe with intern and administrative assistant Brianna Christopher

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