Lactation Counselor | March Mother to Mother
Welcome everyone to Mother to Mother, where every month we talk to another mother who is a professional in one field related to motherhood. In March Mother to Mother we get to talk to the amazing Liba Golman, who is a Lactation Counselor working with moms all over the Greater Washington Area.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Liba, and I am a Certified Lactation Counselor. I’ve been married for three years, and my husband and I live in Silver Spring, MD with our 2-year-old son. I’m originally from California, but I definitely prefer the east coast. I have a lactation private practice, Lev Lactation
, and I provide education and support to all parents no matter how they choose to feed their babies—nursing, exclusively pumping, formula feeding, or any combination. I also support families in introducing solid foods and weaning from breastfeeding.
What made you decide to become a Lactation Counselor in the first place?
I grew up with an above-average exposure to birth and breastfeeding—my mom was a childbirth educator, breastfed my sisters and me well into toddlerhood, and then as I grew into adulthood I was often around friends and family who were breastfeeding their kids. When I got pregnant with my son I assumed breastfeeding would be intuitive and easy. I read a book and looked some stuff up online and figured I’d be good. I was in for a surprise.
If you’ve ever tried to breastfeed, you probably know that it often is NOT easy and intuitive.
In my case, my son had some complications at birth, as well as some anatomical differences that made latching incredibly difficult for him. In the beginning of our feeding experience, I was dealing with low supply, exclusively pumping, and utilizing donor breastmilk. With the help of an amazing postpartum doula and several skilled lactation providers, my son and I slowly learned to breastfeed. We also learned he had a tongue tie, and after releasing his tongue tie and doing lots of suck training and chiropractic care, he became a latching champ!
I did really wish I had connected with a lactation provider while I was pregnant, so I could have done some prenatal breastfeeding education and already had a relationship when I needed help postpartum.
All this is a long way to tell you that the support I received postpartum inspired me to support other parents and families. While my son was still an infant, I undertook training to become a Certified Lactation Counselor, and I opened my private lactation practice in January 2022.
What kinds of benefits do moms see if they choose to go to a Lactation Counselor either prenatally or postpartum?
I truly believe that prenatal breastfeeding education—ideally a personalized 1:1 consultation with a lactation provider—is the best way to prepare to reach your feeding goals.
The other really important time to see a Lactation Counselor is if you have ANY pain with nursing or pumping—pain is common, but it is not normal, and if you’re experiencing pain, there is a lot we can do to help you get comfortable.
At a prenatal session, your Lactation Counselor can help ease anxieties and fears you may have about breastfeeding or pumping and help you plan for a successful journey—whatever success looks like for you. We can also give you evidence-based tips for dealing with problems that might come up like latching challenges, pain, or mastitis. We will teach you about normal infant feeding behavior and how to know your baby is getting enough to eat, how to build and maintain a solid milk supply (hint: it’s NOT about what you eat), and support you in setting up optimal pumping or bottle feeding routines.
Seeing a Lactation Counselor once your baby is born can be helpful both immediately postpartum as well as many months down the line. In the newborn days we help get breastfeeding established, manage concerns about weight gain and milk supply, address any pain or positioning challenges, and more. Later down the line we can troubleshoot things like nursing + teething, pumping + returning to work, introduction of solids, weaning, and more.
What’s your favorite part of what you do?
Getting to squish the tiny babies. For real.
Honestly, it’s seeing my clients feel empowered and capable. When they have all the knowledge and tools they need to meet their goals, that’s such a win for me! I love getting texts letting me know a baby has gained weight once the parent started feeding on demand instead of a schedule, or a success story with reducing feeds for a weaning toddler, or a parent letting me know the changes we implemented have eliminated their nursing pain.
My clients’ wins are my absolute favorite thing about my job.
What’s the craziest thing about your job?
The craziest thing to me is the lack of support and understanding in our society for breastfeeding.
Even recent legislation like the PUMP act, protecting breastfeeding and pumping breaks in the workplace, is just the beginning of the change that is necessary to support breastfeeding parents. The pathetically short parental leave in the US means that many parents are ending their breastfeeding journey well before they’d like to. Parents returning to work often experience challenges with milk supply, bottle refusal, or nursing strikes. Pediatricians are poorly prepared to support breastfeeding (did you know your pediatrician gets 1-3 hours of breastfeeding education in their entire training?) and are often hesitant to refer parents to the supports they need like lactation providers, tongue tie release providers, or feeding therapy.
Every day, parents nursing in public deal with stares and comments from strangers. Hearing negative comments from family and friends about “still” breastfeeding a toddler is another common experience (despite the fact that the AAP recommends breastfeeding until at least 2 years old, and breastfeeding into toddlerhood is normal and accepted all around the world).
If you could impart one piece of wisdom to new or expectant moms, what would it be?
Listen to your gut, intuition, or whatever you want to call it. In my experience as a Lactation Counselor, parents’ gut feelings and intuitive actions are almost always right–whether it’s about an issue a baby is having or an approach to taking care of their baby. If something gives you pause, listen to the pause and act accordingly. And if you’re ever in doubt–is your baby hungry? tired? sick? mad? teething? uncomfortable? who knows? Just stick a boob in it!
Wow Liba! Thank you so much for sharing! One thing that we both love is that the best parts of our jobs is squishing the newborn babies
! I hope you all enjoyed our March Mother to Mother Series. If you or someone you know could benefit from Liba’s expertise, reach out to her in the following ways:
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