I grew alongside my children.
I received great support and information from La Leche League Leaders, group meetings and from other mothers I met along the way. If I hadn't had their support, I might have still breastfed, but it would not have been as wonderful.
Breastfeeding my babies, and then, children felt comforting. And conquering my breastfeeding challenges felt satisfying and empowering. Breastfeeding helped me understand myself and three remarkable human beings.
I found myself helping others with breastfeeding challenges and I became a volunteer breastfeeding counselor in 1998, leading a New Paltz group.
As my children became more independent, I moved toward a career as a Lactation Consultant. I worked through the education and training and then took the International Board Certified Lactation Examiners Board Exam. I became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2010.
Breastfeeding has been the center of my life for more than 25 years. I consult, advocate, coach, and speak about breastfeeding. I’ve even arm wrestled to fund raise for the Breastfeeding Initiative of Ulster County!
Here's an outline of my education:
• International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) 2010 (maintaining this requires 15 hours of breastfeeding education each year and a certifying exam every 10 years.
• La Leche League Leader (LLLL), leading in New Paltz, NY since 1998
• Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) from Alfred University
• Human Relations Study with Dale Carnegie Institute, Tony Robbins, La Leche League and others.
Hi! I'm Donna Bruschi.
I always planned on breastfeeding my baby because of my mother's story.
My mother was breastfed and grew up in a breastfeeding community. When I was born, she assumed she would breastfeed me, but ran into difficulties almost immediately. By two weeks, I was bottle feeding and my mom was sad.
Two years later, my brother was born. Again she ran into difficulties, but this time a nurse helped her with her positioning and latch. With that education and with the support of her best friend, who was also breastfeeding, she happily nursed both my brother and sister.
I grew up watching my mom breastfeed. I watched when my friend breastfed. And she brought me to my first La Leche League meeting when I became pregnant. I saw a roomful of mothers nursing their babies and children. It was so normal and natural, I wanted to be a part of it.
This is the model of support and education that I embrace.
"Breastfeeding is an ever-changing relationship between two people nourishing each other."
The social-emotional-spiritual bond between a breastfeeding mother and baby is nearly always overlooked when making a final decision about feeding.
In the early days, most mothers have an inner drive to breastfeed. I often hear a mother say, "I don't know why I can't quit. It's so hard but something inside is telling me to keep going." That drive keeps them connected to their baby and to overcoming the challenges that arise.
After the initial shocking realization of how much time one is spent holding and breastfeeding a baby, parents realize their rewards. Each time, mama nurses, both she and the baby have spikes of oxytocin and they feel love for each other. If dad is present, he too will feel the flood of oxytocin. Breastfeeding calms and soothes babies and a calm baby helps a mother feel successful.
In my work, I hear many expressions of regret and loss.
There are SO many stories of why women end breastfeeding before they are ready. And just as many of women who painfully nurse for months and months just gritting their teeth so their baby will be healthy and happy.
I don't want you to be one of them. I really don't. That's why I do this work.
Meet a baby's needs when they are babies and they will grow out of them.
Babies are "needy," to ensure they meet milestones of normal child growth and development. They need to cuddle. They need to be loved and listened to. They need to make eye contact and mimic people's expressions and words. They need near-constant communication and stimulation to support their tremendous brain development.
They need space to roll, crawl and explore. They need structure and kind teaching. If these needs aren't met, the need lags on into adulthood. We all know someone who "acts like a baby," and not in a good way.
Breastfeeding is an integral part of normal human development.
People don't know, or don't think about this, but as you consider how breastfeeding meets so many of the needs above, you can see how this is true.
The decision not to breastfeed often comes down to, "Well, I bottle fed and I'm OK." Clearly, breastfeeding is not the only way to feed a child, but it's so much more than feeding.
Breastfeeding is important for everyone's health.
We know that breastfed babies are healthier, but many people don't know it's important for mother's health as well. Breastfeeding lowers risks of heart disease and and all reproductive cancers. It plays an important role in reducing inflammation, which is at the root of many diseases. It also protects a mother's mental health.
It also protects the health of our planet: Warm milk, served up fresh. No waste.
"Breastfeeding has to work for thE
Everyone has different goals and is at a different stage of life.
Many parents who come to me are discouraged. Some have an immediate and short term problem. Others are dedicated to breastfeeding at all costs. Some are in a last ditch effort to save any form of breastfeeding. Some people are hoping I will say that it's hopeless so they can quit.
I don't have an agenda. I respect your wishes and help you where you are at.
I help parents get up to speed with everything they don't know, in a matter of hours, days, or weeks.
Breastfeeding is a long game with a short, steep learning curve. Learning to breastfeed would be much easier for everyone, if breastfeeding were commonplace in our culture. But it isn't.
I meet you where you are and help you get to a place of comfort and contentment. I also understand you know your own child best. Everything I do centers on that principle.
I coach with empathy and gentleness.
I offer options. I try to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together and write out a unified care plan focused on breastfeeding. You will feel hope that all is not lost. You will forgive yourself. You will appreciate your strength and tremendous courage in the face of adverse circumstances.
I encourage breastfeeding in a supported way.
"Triple feeding" (when you breastfeed, pump, bottle feed your milk and maybe formula) is so popular among healthcare providers, but it's not sustainable. It's meant to use for a week to see if it boosts your milk production. And then, it's time to transition into more breastfeeding and less pumping. so, I teach breast compressions and other at-breast supplemental feeding.
I encourage to you to weigh your baby at home. If you have to measure something, and most people do, then I think you ought to measure the one number that really counts: your baby's weight.
I teach gentleness with your baby.
Your baby is a human being with their own life, personality and feelings. Please, don't tickle or put cold cloths on them. And for heaven's sake, refrain from thumping while burping: you are moving a tiny air bubble. It's not ketchup stuck in a bottle!
I support fathers & partners: the ones who are not breastfeeding.
Your partner is standing by, most likely feeling scared and helpless, while you are experiencing arguably the most extreme events of your whole life. What can they do? How can they help? How can they feel empowered as well? I spend time answering their questions as well.
I try to live my life in a joy filled way and that starts with my work.
"I love my work!"
In addition to lactation consulting, I own New Baby New Paltz, on online boutique that stocks ethical, sustainable and beautiful goods for babies, and those that love them.
I still put in a few hours a week bending neon signs and art for a local neon sign company because I went to college and learned it and it gives me pleasure. My grandma embroidered, my mom quilted and I make neon. ;-D
When I'm not working, I love being outdoors riding my bike, skiing, swimming and hiking mountains. I love to eat good food, so cooking big dinners, and enjoying them with my kids and family is another favorite.
I would love to be a part of your success.
I offer a comprehensive set of services to help educate you and your family, boost your confidence and provide support as you take on your breastfeeding challenges.