Jessica Warner is an LPN who got her Bachelors of Science in Maternal and Child Health. She went on to get her IBCLC in 2016. Jessica is a single parent of 3 children she breastfed for an accumulative time of about 8 years. She began her journey into the field of lactation after becoming a teen parent who fell in love with breastfeeding.
While finishing her Bachelors, she got her foot in the door at Greene County Public Health as a Breastfeeding Peer in the WIC Program. She’s moved on to a Health Educator position at the Health Department where she runs an HIV Testing and STD Prevention program out of 3 counties (Greene, Clinton, and Fayette). With the support of her boss, Jessica is encouraged to continue promotion of breastfeeding with community involvement by running Breastfeeding Awareness Month events, doing physician visits, and with plans to implement the Business Case for Breastfeeding (a comprehensive program designed to educate employers about the value of supporting breastfeeding employees in the workplace) in Greene County, as well as push for more policies to protect breastfeeding in the county.
Jessica is currently working on getting a syringe exchange program open and running in her county that has been stricken with a high number of opiate related deaths. She’s working in a partnership with Equitas Health and developing educational materials for Hep C/HIV & Breastfeeding. Jessica has become a Trauma Informed Care trainer, TIC is an approach that explicitly acknowledges the role trauma plays in people’s lives and teaches organizations and healthcare providers to understand the impact of trauma on the individuals they serve and adopts a culture that considers and addresses this impact.
Jessica is very active in matters of social justice, not only in how it impacts all lives, but how it directly impacts breastfeeding success. She has special interests in combating stigma and making breastfeeding promotion and help more inclusive to all.
Mishelle Trescott, LPN, CLS was born in San Diego, California. Her family traveled a lot and settled down for almost five years in Zanesville, Ohio, where she graduated from high school and joined the U.S Army as an active duty soldier. She became a National Registered Emergency Medical Technician (EMT-B). She had trained and mastered giving care in extreme circumstances. After her active military service, she continued with Reserve services and went back to school to receive her Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) certification. As an LPN, she was able to gain experiences as a telemetry technician and critical care nurse on a critical care step down unit, emergency room care, scrub technician and care nurse on a labor and delivery unit. As she went back to school to further her nursing degree, she gave birth to her first child. She had a very hard breastfeeding experience and was unable to meet her personal goal. When becoming pregnant with her second child she was determined to reach her goal of one year. Even after her child was six months old, she went back to school and was offered a position as a WIC breastfeeding peer helper. She had the opportunity to gain knowledge from the Lactation Consultant she worked with and through school. The most knowledge she could gain came from her second experience as a breastfeeding mother, because she was very successful and surpassed her personal goal.
Mishelle continues to work with the Noble County Health Department where she maintains her position as a Peer Helper with WIC and works with the Ohio Department of Health's Maternal Health Grant. She has lead the way of normalizing breastfeeding in her community and helps develop an infrastructure in her Appalachian community.
"As a WIC Peer helper, I wanted to give mothers the same education and hope to succeed at achieving her breastfeeding goals. I have worked as a peer helper for six years, gaining certification as a certified lactation specialist. I have had many opportunities through experience and training to advance my counseling skills. I am hoping to complete my Bachelors of Science degree within the next year as well as move towards receiving my qualifications to sit for the certified health educator board. I am excited to help the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network to succeed with the mission and goals. I am honored to have been appointed Vice President and will do all I can to devote my time and passion towards this growing and dynamic group."
October's Member of the Month is split between two amazing members! Kate Tuttle and Olivia Moran - our ABN Scholarship winners who attended our 1st Annual Appalachian Breastfeeding Conference on October 6, 2017 in Beckley, WV!
Kate Tuttle is a 28 year old mother of a wonderful two year old son, Bennett. She has lived her entire life in Southeastern Ohio. Most recently in Racine, OH, the heart of Appalachia. When she started on her breastfeeding journey, she was a lone traveler. She had a husband and mother who were nothing short of great cheerleaders, although just as uneducated as she felt she was. Her mom never breastfed Kate or her siblings because “you just didn’t do that then. Doctors didn’t ever talk about it. They sent you home with formula and told you congratulations”. She had to learn on her own how to navigate through the sometimes rocky terrain. But she made it! She breastfed her son for 15 months and followed his self-weaning cues. She believes breastfeeding education is important in normalizing breastfeeding. The more women who view breastfeeding as the biological norm and the more they are encouraged to do it, the more common it will become.
Olivia Moran lives in Clifton Forge, VA. She is currently a La Leche League Leader, Midwifery Apprentice, Certified Birth & Bereavement Doula, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Educator, and a Certified Lactation Counselor. Breastfeeding is her passion! She believes that breastfeeding is more than nurtition, it's mothering the way nature intended. Breastfeeding meets all of the primal and emotional needs of children. Tailored nutrition that changes from one feeding to another, all day, everyday. Breastfeeding also keeps the Mom/baby/toddler dyad in close proximity regularly. Fully filling that primal desire of emotional and physical touch as often as possible from the mother to the child.
She has five incredible children and has found the joy and hardships that can come with breastfeeding. She has overcome poor latch, over supply, mastitis(many times), vasospasms, yeast/thrush, pregnant while nursing, and other common issues that can arise with breastfeeding. She had the privilege to find wonderful support from midwives, lactation consultants, and La Leche League. With out these passionate women, she would have given up with breastfeeding with her first baby. She wants to be there for other woman and children the same way she was cared for. It's her pleasure to serve my tiny corner of the globe and she looks forward to continuing for many years to come.
Michele Thacker is a CLS and a CLC for the West Virginia WIC Program. Her passion for breastfeeding began many years ago after the struggle to breastfeed her first daughter. She was a stay at home mom for 7 years when she had her 2nd daughter two months prematurely and she spent the first two months of her life in the NICU. It was then that she realized how important human milk is and the support she received from the staff led to her love of breastfeeding. Michele became a breastfeeding peer counselor for the WV WIC program in 2012 and then went on to become a Certified Lactation Counselor in June of 2013 and most recently a Certified Lactation Specialist in July of this year.
In April of this past year, in collaboration with HAPI (Helping Appalachian Parents and Infants), Michele helped to organize a breastfeeding support group. Mountain Milk Mommas meets twice a month in a fun and laid-back atmosphere and also maintains a Facebook page for online support.
Her newest project is to set up a Lactation Room at the local high school where young mothers can have a private and comfortable place to express milk during the school day.
Michele currently live in Buckhannon, West Virginia with her 3 daughters, Audra 14, Alexanna 7 and Maci 2.
Lisa is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and Breastfeeding Coordinator with the Zanesville-Muskingum County Health Department, WIC Program in Zanesville, Ohio. She is a member of the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association (OLCA) where she has served as President and is currently Publicity Chair. She is the founder and Co-Chair for the Southeast Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition (SEOBC) and a member of the United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA).
Lisa started her breastfeeding advocacy journey as a breastfeeding mom and La Leche League member, and then started her own breast pump rental/sales business, Mother Mates, 18 years ago in Northeast Ohio. From there, she got involved with a local breastfeeding coalition where she learned of the Breastfeeding Peer Helper Pilot Program that Ohio WIC was starting in select counties, with Ashtabula County being one of the first to implement the program. Lisa says, “Becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Helper launched a passion in me I had no idea I could experience.”
She continued her education by becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and then later when she moved to Muskingum County, she worked for Nationwide Children’s Hospital as a Breastfeeding Peer Advisor in the NICU, and also implemented a Peer Program at Muskingum County WIC. She didn’t stop there, “Deciding to become an IBCLC in 2011 was a huge step for me, but one I was ready for. Being able to help moms at that next level was challenging and very rewarding.”
Lisa continues her work today by helping moms one-on-one at her office, contracting with another county in our region who does not have a local IBCLC, hosting Breastfeeding Cafes twice a month, advocating for mothers in all aspects of breastfeeding, collaborating with local health providers and community members, administering Facebook pages: Muskingum County Breastfeeding Moms, Southeast Ohio Breastfeeding Coalition – SEOBC, and the Ohio Lactation Consultant Association, and being mom to her college-bound daughter and percussionist high school son, her inspiration. “Growing up in the far northeast area of Ohio and now living in the southeast region of Ohio, I’ve been able to see variables even within those Appalachian cultures. A lack of resources for families, and for breastfeeding advocates, is a huge issue so connecting with others and accessing the resources of the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network was imperative. Becoming a member was a no-brainer. The network is much appreciated.
Blending the fields of perinatal social work and lactation counseling, Kimberly Garner currently lives and works in the mountains of northwestern North Carolina in Boone at the local health department on a five-county maternal and child health grant called Improving Community Outcomes for Maternal and Child Health. The project focuses on reducing infant mortality, improving birth outcomes, and bettering the child health of 0-5 year olds through the promotion of reproductive life planning, tobacco prevention and cessation, and the Triple P Positive Parenting Program. Kimberly is also passionate about breastfeeding initiation and duration among historically marginalized populations, which is why she became a member of the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network. Kimberly is bilingual in Spanish and recently worked in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a certified lactation counselor in both a federally-qualified health center and local hospital.
Since childhood, Kimberly has been passionate about the perinatal period and has worked in her adult life alongside women and families to improve systems of care. Since 2012, Kimberly has been a volunteer and state coordinator for Postpartum Support International, an international organization that serves individuals, families, and professionals experiencing or desiring more information about perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Kimberly is also the North Carolina state representative for the National Association of Perinatal Social Workers and is working towards becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. After living in New York, Montana, New Mexico, and North Carolina, she is acutely aware of the inequities that persist in breastfeeding initiation and duration across racial and socioeconomic identities in Appalachia and beyond. Kimberly envisions devoting her life to addressing disparities through reciprocal community partnerships both domestically and internationally. In her spare time, Kimberly enjoys exploring the beauty and wonder of the outdoors both in the US and abroad with her partner and family.
Rebecca is a sociocultural anthropologist with specialties in East Asia, social movements, gender, motherhood, and breastfeeding. She teaches at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina.
Rebecca has done volunteer mother-to-mother breastfeeding support and advocacy since 2006 and earned the IBCLC credential in 2010. She currently volunteers as a Breastfeeding USA Counselor and is planning to open a private practice as a lactation consultant this year. She has served on the Breastfeeding USA Board of Directors since 2014.
Rebecca writes: "Transplanted Appalachians are all around me in the Piedmont of North Carolina, and many of the structural barriers to breastfeeding that Appalachian families face back home are as well. In my volunteer work, teaching, and research, I am committed to improving breastfeeding advocacy and creating cultures of truly effective support for all families. I joined the ABN to learn, and I look forward to contributing to its mission however I can."
Rebecca has been married since 1995 and has a grown stepson, a soccer/piano-playing teenage son, and a former Shanghai alley cat named Calvin. When her hands aren't busy with all the above, she knits.
Appalachian Breastfeeding Network member Kailey Littleton speaks on behalf of our May Practice of the Month: "I work for Family Medical Care, a federally qualified health center through CHANGE, Inc, which is based in the Northern Panhandle of WV. Family medical care offers pediatric services at both its Newell, WV and Wintersville, OH sites. Because I am also an IBCLC, I am able to see both my primary pediatric patients and their mothers for breastfeeding difficulties, as well as consults from elsewhere in the community. I do revise both tongue and lip ties. Our FQHC is also one of the largest OBGYN practices in the area, so I also see many mothers prenatally to address their specific breastfeeding needs/concerns. Finally, because we are an FQHC, nearly all insurances (including all OH and WV Medicaids!) are accepted. Link to our website: http://www.changeinc.org/fmcchc/pediatrics/"
Leigh Anne O’Connor is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with two decades of experience working with breastfeeding families. She is the past President of New York Lactation Consultant Association (NYLCA), a member of International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA), United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) and a past member of the Bank Street Head Start Health Advisory Board. She has been an accredited La Leche League Leader since 1997.
Leigh Anne lectures for professional organizations, consults with companies to set up Corporate Lactation programs, teaches breastfeeding classes, leads support groups, and sees private clients all over New York City.
Leigh Anne has appeared on television, radio and in documentaries internationally as an expert and advocate for breastfeeding, promoting its importance as a health issue for babies, mothers, families and society at large. Most recently she appeared on Fox New York, Bravo's Pregnant in Heels and CNN's John King USA, The Doctors, TLC’s Bringing Home Baby and is seen regularly on the Newborn Channel. Other appearances include: Montel and Runway Moms on Discovery Health, Good Morning America, WCBS News and WOR radio.
Leigh Anne has written many essays on parenting and breastfeeding at www.MamaMilkandMe.com and at Bundoo.com. Leigh Anne lives in New York City with her husband, Rob, and their three children.
"I live in New York City but grew up in North Carolina. I see the disparities in breastfeeding rates and support in many communities as well as for my extended family. When the Appalachian Breastfeeding Network came my way I saw this as an opportunity to make a difference. I love supporting families on an individual level but as I have grown in my knowledge over the years I would like to support on a global level. I want to make a difference for up and coming breastfeeding supporters. I never stop learning and I love the opportunity to network."
JoEllen Noble is an IBCLC and Certified Labor Doula. She is the Breastfeeding Coordinator for Clermont County WIC and offers private consultations through her business, Southern Ohio Birth Services. JoEllen grew up in Brown County, Ohio and still resides there with her husband and gang of little boys.
"I remember walking into my local WIC office when I was 21 years old and pregnant with my first son. The health professional I met with that day REALLY pushed breastfeeding- to the point that it turned me off! I was still trying to wrap my head around being pregnant! It also felt like she was trying to tell me what to do, which doesn't go over well with me. The maternity magazines and books made breastfeeding sound nice and all, but that it could be difficult and also that formula was basically just as good, so it didn't seem like such big deal to me whichever I chose. Like most of the other women in my community, I knew I would be returning to work as soon as physically possible after giving birth. From early on I viewed breastfeeding as something meant for more privileged moms.
The decision to breastfeed was made very last minute. I figure it was worth a try and if it didn't work out, so be it. Only it surprised me when we had some nasty latch problems and I didn't WANT to stop. My mom and a few other women I talked to said to stick it out. My stubbornness and need to problem-solve carried us through and after six rough weeks, we were on easy street!
I became a Breastfeeding Peer Helper when my son was 10 months old and immediately fell in love with this work. I made a decision from the start to listen to participants first and meet them where they are- I didn't want to make them feel pressured as I had! I live in tobacco country and many women feel uncomfortable using tobacco and breastfeeding. It's necessary to listen to each mother's concerns and develop a plan to support her before rushing to educate and rattle off a list breastfeeding benefits. Families might need problem-solving and resources to even get to a place to consider breastfeeding. It has been rewarding to be a cheerleader for other moms facing difficult situations and pushing on through to meet their goals."
Each month, our ABN board uses a random number generator to pick our member of the month. In an effort to showcase our many different members in many different fields from all over Appalachia working towards the same goal: transforming breastfeeding culture in Appalachia.