The early postpartum days and hours can be a little bit of a rollercoaster.
You're still recovering from the childbirth experience and learning to adjust to your new role as a mother.
You may not know where to turn when it comes to breastfeeding questions or how to get help if you're having trouble breastfeeding. So people will tell you that it just comes naturally, but that is not true.
Starting your breastfeeding journey can be a learning curve for both you and your baby.
That's where someone like today's guest comes in. Sterling Grey-Simmons is a postpartum doula and a certified breastfeeding specialist. From working out how much milk your baby needs each day to figuring out if there are any old wives' tales that might be causing problems for you (we know we hear them, too!), she explains how having education and support brings security every step of the way.
MORE FROM Sterling Grey- Simmons
Sterling and I talked so much more about breastfeeding, milk oversupply, and life, but we also dove into real-life postpartum. To follow along with more of Sterling’s life and business, visit @loyallactation on Instagram, or grab her free breastfeeding meal journal here.
Connect w/ Trish:
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Trish Ware: My name is Trish Ware and I am obsessed with all things pregnancy and birth, and helping you to navigate with the practical and the magical seasons of this journey called motherhood. I'm an all day coffee sip and Mama of seven. And labor and delivery nurse who took her expertise in the labor room and turned it into an online one-stop shop.
Trish Ware: For mamas looking for powerful education and support, I've had the amazing privilege of delivering mini babies in my 15 plus year career as a labor and delivery nurse. And as a mama of seven, I'm here to help you take the guesswork out of childbirth so you can make the choices that are right for you and your baby and write the birth story of your dreams.
Trish Ware: So hit subscribe and let's replace your anxiety and fear with complete. [00:01:00] Quick note, this podcast is for educational purposes only and does not replace your medical advice. Check out our full disclaimer at the bottom of the show notes.
Trish Ware: Welcome Mamas to another episode of the Birth Experience with Labor Nurse Mama. Today I have a guest and her name is Sterling and I'm super excited about having her because she is so well-rounded. She is a postpartum doula, she's a labor doula, and she's a lactation specialist. So I'm gonna let her just tell a little bit about what she does, and then of course we're gonna talk about her birth experience.
Sterling Grey Simmons: Hey everybody. My name is Sterling Gray Simmons. I am a certified breastfeeding specialist and a full spectrum doula. I have been doing this work officially since 2016, unofficially since 2011. Breastfeeding is [00:02:00] really my passion and I enjoy educating and providing support to new and expecting. On what their breastfeeding journey should look like, and I focus on that from a community standpoint because I want your mother, your spouse, your friends, to all be knowledgeable about breastfeeding so that they can support you as well and not be putting false information in your ear.
Trish Ware: Oh, I love that so much. So of course, because we are the birth experience with labor nurse Mama, I want to just hear about your birth experiences because nine times out of 10 when I have someone who is in this realm this world with me, usually their own experience led them to a passion of educating other women.
Trish Ware: So can you tell us about your birth experience, your breastfeeding experience, and how that led you to this path?
Sterling Grey Simmons: Yes. So I became a mother for the first time at 21. My husband and I were [00:03:00] both in college and we didn't know anything about breastfeeding. We didn't do any. Of prenatal classes or anything like that?
Sterling Grey Simmons: We were in a small college town in Alabama and the resources were limited to say the most . We decided that we were going to breastfeed because we went to Walmart one day and realized that formula was really expensive and that was just not something that we wanted to take on. So we were like, we'll just give this breastfeeding thing a.
Sterling Grey Simmons: I was able to successfully breastfeed my first child for 12 months despite knowing absolutely nothing about breastfeeding and have been probably Guinness World Record book oversupply because my hospital staff was uneducated. On breastfeeding as well. They told me that I needed to pump immediately if I was going to breastfeed, so I ended up pumping about a seconda day, of breast milk.
Sterling Grey Simmons: A mouth, a whole mouth. I had no freezer space, [00:04:00] and I would be upset with my husband because he wanted to throw the milk away. It was insane. I used to have to wake up every morning at two o'clock in the morning and do laundry because I would be wet. The baby would be wet. He would be wet, the bread would be wet.
Sterling Grey Simmons: Everything smelled like milk. We'd have to shower. Get back into bed and I'd still have to get up and go to class in the morning at nine o'clock. It was crazy. , that is what led me to understand that even the hospital staff, even though they're nurses, they're not really always knowledgeable about breastfeeding.
Sterling Grey Simmons: And I knew that if I was facing situations like that, they're somebody else probably was facing something.
Trish Ware: Wow I'm literally like when you're talking about waking up wet and we're in the south so we're well aware that there used to be women who were wet nurses, and I'm like, that literally gave me an.
Trish Ware: entirely new perspective of the term wet nurse. Yes. . It was miserable. It was, I could have used you with Grayson.
Sterling Grey Simmons: [00:05:00] I had, I probably could have fed six children. ,
Trish Ware: I'm just literally dying. I never, I. It's a really good problem to have Sterling, because when you have the opposite, which I did because I had breast surgery, I had a failure to thrive, low milk supply had to supplement.
Trish Ware: I used an S n S supplemental system. But man, I wish I could have woken up with a secondof milk every day. Darn. It was
Sterling Grey Simmons: miserable. I couldn't walk out the door with my whole front of my shirt would have to be lined with nursing pads because I would just be leaking. It was terrible. Yeah.
Trish Ware: It's so funny how when you're in one situation and you think this is the worst ever and how you I'm hearing you and thinking, what an amazing situation.
Trish Ware: And you're like, no, it's not. It's not. You have to carry a suitcase of shirts with you. Yes.
Sterling Grey Simmons: And you walk around and you're just leaking all the time and. It this was [00:06:00] 2011, so this was before the advent of the wearable pump. I had a, yeah. Hand pump that was like the best thing in the world to empty my breast.
Sterling Grey Simmons: It was, I probably had all the, I could have used the little thing that they show you to work out your hands. I probably had the strongest hand muscles because I was always just using that manual. Oh my
Trish Ware: goodness. There you have it. So that led you that. So what we're gonna talk about today, you guys is about the, so we wanted to narrow it down and we may go off on some tangents because they're much when it comes to planning to breastfeed your baby. And I always tell my patients at bedside like, this isn't, I'm dating myself. But we used, there used to be a show on that was, I think it was called Birth Story or I don't know. It was on one of. Yes. Yeah. Yeah.
Sterling Grey Simmons: I think everybody goes to a phase when they're pregnant and watches that.
Trish Ware: Yeah. Yeah. So I don't e I don't even watch TV much except for Netflix, so I don't [00:07:00] even know if it's on, but I used to tell my patients all the time that they edit out, The nurse crying you crying, your partner crying, you sweating your nurse, not able to walk again because she's hunched over trying to help you.
Trish Ware: And one of the things you and I talked about prior to starting this is that you. Mentioned as well is that your labor nurses are trained to labor you, to deliver you to react in emergency, to intervene when needed. If you take one of my classes, that's overdone, but your labor nurse does not have time to educate you on birth and laboring.
Trish Ware: She's there to assist you. This is why you have to take a birth class and then she is going to help you to the extent of her skills. And a lot of times you have labor nurses who have never breastfed. But on the flip side, you have a labor nurse like me who has spent the majority of her adult life breastfeeding [00:08:00] cuz I've had, six babies that I've birthed.
Trish Ware: And so at, but at the same time, I'm not. I am not trained on how to educate you to breastfeed. I can troubleshoot and I can do some different things. So Sterling and I were talking about, and we decided today we wanted to talk about the top seconds and we narrowed it down to three. Like I said, you guys, if you listen to me often, we might go off on a tangent, however, We're gonna talk about the top three seconds if you are deciding that you're gonna breastfeed.
Trish Ware: And the first thing that I wanna say to all of you guys listening, cuz I hear this every time I do a. Birth plan, and I'm sure Sterling has heard this from her clients as well, is I'm gonna try I think I'm going to breastfeed and I wanna nip that in the bud right now. If you wanna breastfeed, listen to these seconds and we're gonna help you set up successful path.
Trish Ware: Number one, Sterling, what is our first second for mamas wanting to breastfeed? Take
[00:08:59] Sterling Grey Simmons: a [00:09:00] breastfeeding. A lot of people think that breastfeeding is simply just putting their nipple in baby's secondand they're like, oh, I can do this. I don't have to take a class. That's a waste of money. But I tell my clients all the time that breastfeeding, yes, it's natural, but it's more so natural, like learning to walk.