In celebration of world breastfeeding month, we interviewed one of Levana’s favorite lactation consultants, Ngozi D. Walker-Tibbs. Ngozi is an amazing birth worker, mom of 5 children, and the owner of Sankofa Childbirth Education and Lactation Services. She graciously took time out of that busy schedule to answer some questions for us:
What is your role in supporting breastfeeding moms?
I am a lactation consultant in four different areas; in private practice, at a local hospital, for Healthy Start Pittsburgh and The Pittsburgh Black Breastfeeding Circle. I teach breastfeeding classes at Magee Hospital for new parents. I am the resident lactation consultant for Healthy Start and support new parents and staff with breastfeeding education and support. In private practice I see breastfeeding mothers at home for lactation assessments and observation.
What made you become an advocate for breastfeeding?
I fell in love with breastfeeding with my first son 26 years ago. I received such awesome support from my lactation consultant (Becky Ulke) that I became intrigued with the science behind lactation. Through Becky’s mentoring, I learned how the breasts made milk and how the baby’s suckling sent a signal to the pituitary gland. She invited me to co-lead a breastfeeding circle 23 years ago after the birth of my second born son. I have always been interested in human biology and breastfeeding medicine just peaked my curiosity even more. I saw other friends struggling with breastfeeding and it sparked a desire in me to help other mothers navigate through the joys and challenges of nursing.
What are some of the most common questions you get from new moms?
Many mothers have questions about increasing milk supply, nipple pain, night nursing and pumping.
Any tips for someone having difficulties with breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is like learning any new skill, it requires patience, practice, guidance and support. It is a natural process; however, both mother and baby are learning together and that takes a little adjustment time. I would recommend that mothers educate themselves prior to delivery by taking a breastfeeding class, joining an online or in person breastfeeding circle, find family members or friends who have breastfed, get familiar with their local breastfeeding resources including in hospital/birth center and local lactation counselors and consultants in their community. It is important for mothers to know that breastfeeding should not be painful and it’s ok to reach out for help if experiencing nipple or breast pain.
Do you have any favorite resources you can share for women that would like more information?
Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are wonderful resources for nursing moms that provide online advice on breastfeeding, recipes, nursing fashions and more. Global Health Media has some of the best breastfeeding videos in the world. They are short, evidence based, multicultural and informative. They can be found on YouTube under Global Health Media Breastfeeding.
Thank you so much for your time and dedication, Ngozi!