One typical day at The Lactation Connection was bustling. The three people who work there were all having individual conversations with women who went to their offices to talk about breastfeeding or to see some of the products available there.
“That’s what we want,” said Robin Hollen, Lactation Consultant. “We want it to be the place for people to feel comfortable about discussing anything having to do with breastfeeding, and 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 consultation appointments. While they are definitely being utilized by mothers and families in the Reno-Sparks area, Hollen and Sarah Ortega, Lactation Liaison, agree that it can be used by employees as well.
“We want to be a resource for employees,” Hollen said. “If you have a mom who is a patient on Telemetry in for her gallbladder and she is breastfeeding, we can help support that. If you are a male RN in the ICU and your wife is having a baby but works somewhere else, we want you to know that we are here to help her.”
Located near Starbucks at Renown Regional, The Lactation Connection is covered by Hometown Health and most other insurances. The service includes those private consultation appointments as well as a variety of breast pumps and supplies and a certified nursing bra fitter (and bras that are unique to the store). Among the more popular items are the Haakaa breast pump; Freemies, which make it easier to collect milk in a hands-free way; and soft shells, which are for damaged nipples and make expressing milk easier.
There’s also the popular weight scale for free drop-in baby weight checks.
“A pediatrician will see the baby at three days, two weeks and two months, so there is a really big gap there, especially for new patients, to keep track of their baby’s progress,” Ortega said. “So, they can come here and use one of our scales and we give them a little card where they can keep track of the weight so they look back at it at any time.”
The Lactation Connection also hosts twice-a-week forums where moms and their babies can stop by and “just share, talk, weigh their babies and get reassurance,” Hollen said.
Both Hollen and Ortega said they are hearing great things from people who have used 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 and we aren’t here to get them to commit to a certain amount of time for breastfeeding.”
With 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. “We had one person come in who was told, ‘Don’t give your toddler a pacifier. Enjoy every single moment with your baby.’ You know, all of the clichés that are out there. But we were telling her, ‘No you are doing a great job. If you want to use a pacifier, then do that. You need to sleep, too!’ And she thanked us for validating her and not making her feel like she was doing something wrong.”
Hollen said that The Lactation Connection “is a space where moms can finally relieve themselves of the pressures of breastfeeding and all the jumping through hoops 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.”
For more information on The Lactation Connection, call them at 982-5210.