In full show makeup, voluptuous red lips and all, Jennifer Cloer, CLC stood behind a pillar in a valet parking garage, slipped on her nursing cover and pumped for her baby. Ready for an audition at the Venetian in Las Vegas, she practiced her vocals accompanied by the whir of her pump.
In fact, Cloer says she’s pumped just about everywhere for both of her babies who were eager to be born. Andi, her first born, came earthside five and a half weeks early, but didn’t require any time in the NICU. Her son Rowan, born at 31 weeks and five days, spent 30 days there.
During her son’s stay, Cloer reports that “the support was amazing.” Her mom was able to fly into town for three weeks which allowed her and her husband to travel back and forth between their daughter at home and their son in the NICU.
Cloer also shares how important her husband’s support was too. In a Dignity Health article, she talks about her infant feeding decision as a joint decision between her and her husband.
“It’s very much a partnership,” she says. “It makes you family. You don’t feel so segregated from each other.“
In the perfect example of her husband’s support, Cloer was off to perform a show one night and forgot her breast pump.
“Oh my God, I’ll bring it!” she remembers her husband exclaiming, understanding the importance.
“My son was born and a few hours later, a nurse came in and said, ‘OK Hunny, let’s try pumping’,” she remembers.
She says she was grateful that the medical staff initiated the discussion, so that she didn’t have to ask.
Because Cloer’s body responded to a pump for the first 30 days postpartum, not her tiny newborn, she says her supply went crazy.
“I had an abundance of milk,” she says. “I would have never needed that amount of milk even if I went back to work full time.”
Cloer had “a ton” of stored milk from her daughter too, but she ended throwing it away because she wasn’t aware of her donating options.
The second time around though, Suzie Owens, a lactation consultant at St. Dominican, directed Cloer to the Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose, Cali.
Cloer was featured in Fox’s “Miracle Milk” coverage for her donating efforts.
The process to become a donor was simple, Cloer reports.
“It happened within a few days and it was convenient,” she explains. “They were so kind and they ship a freezer right to your door.”
Now, Cloer’s friends reach out to her for advice on donating their milk. She’s thankful for the opportunity to bring awareness to the importance of donating human milk.
Cloer recently completed The Lactation Counselor Training Course with her ultimate goal to become a NICU nurse and IBCLC. She is currently enrolled in the pre-nursing program at Nevada State College.
Cloer reflects on her CLC course: “One thing that really sat with me was the praise to give to people for the good job that they are doing. People get caught up in the problem and how to fix it, that they forget to commend the family for what they have been doing.”