Plagued is our society with quibbles damning nearly every parenting choice. We know them all too well which is why it’s so refreshing to encounter a system that empowers all women in their journeys as mothers.
It’s called Baby2Breast (B2B), an in-home breastfeeding support service founded about nine months ago by Tiffany Taylor MS, CCC-SLP, CLC and Stephanie Levenston MS, CCC-SLP, CLC, CD. Since its founding, B2B founders have made significant changes to the business’ platform based on feedback received from current and potential affiliates.
B2B is the first national organization to provide a platform that supports lactation professionals and mothers alike.
Taylor and Levenston were my first interviewees for Our Milky Way. I was so impressed with their enthusiasm and their readiness to answer any question I had. They were willing to share their knowledge in its entirety. They were patient with me (and my daughter in the background who grew increasingly irritated with me throughout the interview.)
Taylor and Levenston call B2B “business in a box.” They are equally as accommodating with their affiliates as they were with me.
Lactation professionals listed on the B2B directory receive access to the materials necessary to begin or expand a private practice.
- marketing guides
- photos and videos to use during in-home visits
- handouts for mothers
- template letters for physicians, hospitals and medical staff
- invoices for services rendered
- and a Breastfeeding Report
Provision of these materials allow lactation specialists to spend more time with moms and babies in need.
Taylor says their model quells concerns professionals might have about starting or expanding a private practice because she and Levenston take the prep work and research out of running a business.
A personalized business venture
Taylor and Levenston explain that B2B affiliates can personalize their business as desired, regulating their ideal client flow.
Affiliates include the following information on the directory:
- Business name
- Contact information
- Rate for service
- Typical response time to a visit request
- Location for services
Payment is collected at the time of service and affiliates retain 100 percent of the fee.
“Our affiliates are what makes B2B successful and we have a fantastic group of women who are highly committed to making a positive impact on our country’s breastfeeding rates and on the individual journeys of the mothers with whom they work,” Levenston says.
All affiliates are required to offer in-home services.
B2B founders feel strongly that the most effective environment for the assessment of current skills and the carryover of new skills is in a mother’s most natural environment.
“There are tremendous amounts of research indicating that the most reliable and comfortable environment in which to provide any intervention service is in the client’s home,” Levenston states.
Of B2B’s many services, affiliates, with the client’s permission, collaborate and correspond with other medical professionals such as OB/GYNs, midwives and pediatricians to ensure consistent support to mom and baby.
Taylor and Levenston say that when the mother is made the focus of the care model, it builds confidence in her own experience. In other words, the goal is for mothers to not become dependent upon an affiliate. Instead, women become empowered through working with the specialists.
The least invasive way to achieve the end result will always be the best result, they add.
Reviving the field
Both founders agree that this type of platform has been needed for years.
“Often we would meet someone long after their breastfeeding journey has ended and their common phrase was: ‘where were you when I needed breastfeeding help?’” Levenston comments.
The duo, both with speech language pathology backgrounds specializing in infant feeding disorders, took this as an opportunity long in the making to offer a platform which is easy to access for both mothers and lactation support professionals seeking to connect with them in an appropriate, timely and convenient manner.
If B2B specialists feel technologically competent, intervention through Skype is offered. Taylor and Levenston claim some clients prefer the virtual experience and agree it adds another level of timeliness.
Come one, come all
B2B accepts a variety of credentials to increase its outreach to moms and babies.
“Certainly there are some individuals that may feel threatened or opposed to our perspective that a number of credentials are qualified to provide lactation support to breastfeeding dyads,” Levenston says.
“But we do not view others’ perspective as a difficulty; rather we see it as a call to action to reach out in sisterhood to the many women who are committed to making a difference in the field of lactation support,” she continues.
“The true difficulty is experienced by the mother who needs support but does not know where to find it or cannot locate someone in her immediate area to provide her with the option of a home visit in a time sensitive manner,” Levenston concludes.
Taylor and Levenston both have a number of impressive titles to claim but Levenston says her favorite training has been the CLC course through Healthy Children Project’s Center for Breastfeeding.
“The women they send to do the training are funny and witty,” she says. “The information is so dense but they kept us engaged and laughing. That is a gift and a talent not everyone has.”
The transition from training to actual implementation in practice was natural and easy, the duo says in accordance. Because CLC training focuses on providing evidence based practice, current information and counseling and listening skills to assist mothers in their feeding goals, these ideals fell into direct alignment with what B2B founders believe as professionals.
“We ultimately believe it is a woman’s choice to determine what is right for her and her baby,” Levenston says. “We believe that the majority of women will opt to breastfeed if they are provided with current, unbiased information regarding the benefits of breastfeeding and the risks involved in formula feeding and if they know they will have the support they need when they encounter a challenge.”
For the future
The directory also includes providers qualified for complex case consultations like families dealing with prematurity, genetic disorders, medical issues and physiological feeding challenges like cleft lip and/or palate, tongue tie, etc. The hope is that mothers will have an easier time finding the right fit for their specific needs through the directory.
Lactation support professionals interested in learning more about listing their services on the Baby2Breast directory or referring prospective clients can learn more at www.baby2breast.com.
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