In August 2017, I entered the seminary at Meadville Lombard Theological School in Chicago to begin a three year process of becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister. I will continue my work in the lactation field during this time, gradually transitioning to full-time work as a minister.
Breastfeeding my own three sons was a deeply rewarding and enriching experience, so my passion is helping parents discover the joy and fulfillment of parenthood through breastfeeding. It wasn’t always easy (in fact, sometimes it was pretty tough), but it taught me how to be a mother. The power of breastfeeding to positively transform families never ceases to amaze me, and it inspires me to help parents in every way possible.
I’m an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC) in New Jersey, USA, with twenty years of experience working with breastfeeding parents and babies. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. I began my work as a La Leche League Leader (volunteer breastfeeding counselor) in 1998, and then became an IBCLC in 2002 and recertified by exam in 2012. I opened my first lactation consultation practice in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in 2002, offering home visits in the Washington, DC, suburbs. After moving to New Jersey, I began a new practice called Mahala Lactation and Perinatal Services, LLC, with Elizabeth Myler, offering home and office visits in northern New Jersey. I left Mahala at the end of 2014 to concentrate my energies on writing and lecturing.
I own and manage an annual educational conference in Philadelphia, USA, concentrating on lactation clinical skills called LCinPP (Lactation Consultant in Private Practice) Clinical Day. I developed and market a collection of lactation consultation clinical and administrative forms. I’ve been on the Editorial Review Board for the Journal of Clinical Lactation and I’ve been a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) and Monetary Investment for Lactation Consultant Certification Board of Directors. I am also a certified childhood sexual education trainer. I was the Director of Media Relations for La Leche League International for six years.
I am the co-author or sole author of several books and publications:
Sweet Sleep: Naptime and Nighttime Strategies for the Breastfeeding Family (Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, 2014) Co-authored with Diane Wiessinger, Linda J. Smith, and Teresa Pitman
La Leche League International’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 8th edition (Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, 2010) Co-authored with Diane Wiessinger and Teresa Pitman National Bestseller
The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk (McGraw-Hill, 2008) Co-authored with Lisa Marasco
The clinical monograph Breastfeeding After Breast and Nipple Procedures (Hale Publishing, 2008) Co-authored with Dr. Elliot Hirsch
ILCA’s popular Clinician’s Breastfeeding Triage Tool (International Lactation Consultant Association, 2007-2014) Co-authored with a team of international lactation professionals Three editions
Defining Your Own Success: Breastfeeding After Breast Reduction Surgery (La Leche League International, 2001)
I have been speaking at conferences in North American and around the world since 2001.
My first research paper with a team of researchers on a qualitative study about transmen’s birthing and chestfeeding experiences through the University of Ottawa was recently published.
I created and owned Lactspeak.com, a lactation speaker listing service, from 2004-2014. I own, developed, and manage the popular BFAR.org, LowMilkSupply.org, and MakingMoreMilk.com, LactForms.com, and LC4.me websites, as well as this one. I developed and currently manage DutyandDuty.com and LactationEducationConsultants.com. I’ve also developed and managed other websites over the years, including previous versions of the LLLusa.org and IBLCE.org websites.
Once upon a time, back in the late dot.com era of the 1990’s, my ex-husband and I developed the technology for a website called Mothers’ Online Thrift Shop, a virtual (online) consignment shop for mothers to sell family clothes and products online, paying us a commission of the sale for the service. This was an innovative technology then, predating Half.com (an online used bookseller that was huge at the time and later purchased by eBay). We filed a patent application for the technology, but it was rejected because it was not “innovative” — a reason that did not make sense. But we couldn’t afford to appeal, so we had to let our dot.com dream die. Ebay, didn’t, though. They filed several successful patents based on our failed attempt. Oh, to be a big dog with deep pockets.
Mom, Daughter, and Granddaughter
All of the these many activities have been woven around the busy lives of my three nearly grown sons (Alex, Ben, and Quinn) in the picturesque mountains of northwestern New Jersey in the United States. Finally, I’m the proud daughter of Davis Duty, Jr., a Fulbright Scholar at the London School of Economics and currently an esteemed Social Security attorney in Arkansas, and the late, much-missed Mary Ellis Duty, a licensed psychiatric social worker and a champion of women’s and children’s rights. I’m also the proud granddaughter of Clyde T. Ellis, a two-term US congressman (1939-1943), who began and was the first general manager (CEO) of the US National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, was author of A Giant Step (Random House, 1966), and was a prominent proponent of rural electrification throughout the world (see page 12 of this magazine for a great article about his accomplishments).
For a less exciting account of my life, see my Wikipedia page.
* Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Plus including Queer or Questioning, Intersex, Asexual