How to Balance Infant Feeding with Parental Mental Health with Victoria Facelli, IBCLC



00:00:00    Alyssa

You're listening to Voices of Your Village, and today I get to hang out with Victoria Facelli, the author of Feed the Baby. And I want to let you know that we recorded this episode back when I was still pregnant. And so you'll hear some of that in this of like, what does it look like for me in this season? It's a pretty personal episode. Victoria took me on a ride and we got to chat about how to balance infant feeding with parental mental health. This is such a huge topic. I personally have been through this and just feel like every time friends of mine are having kids, those first few weeks and months are so wrapped up in feeding and there's such a focus on it and really we can lose ourselves in it. Our mental health can suffer. I think this is such a key conversation to be having because we know that it is so much more than what we are feeding or how we are feeding and that our mental health as caregivers really matters. Victoria's book is my favorite feeding book that I've ever read. It's full of so much truly useful content and I'm super jazzed to get to share this convo with you. It's been one that we've had in the arsenal for a while and I'm excited to get to release it to you finally because it is, yeah, like I said, truly personal and you get to hear about my journey with Sage and things I'm thinking about at the time when I was pregnant with my little girl. I'm so excited to hear your thoughts and your takeaways. Take a screenshot and then come on over to Instagram and share with me what's coming up for you and what you want to dive deeper into. Also 10 out of 10 would recommend her book. All right folks, let's dive in. 


00:02:05    Alyssa

Hey there, I'm Alyssa Blask Campbell. I'm a mom with a master's degree in early childhood education and co -creator of the Collaborative Emotion Processing method. I'm here to walk alongside you through the messy, vulnerable parts of being humans raising other humans with deep thoughts and actionable tips. Let's dive in together. 


00:02:29    Alyssa

Hello everyone and welcome back to Voices of Your Village. Today I get to hang out with someone that I got to meet on Instagram that has become a fast friend and I'm super personally interested in this topic right about now. And for the last few years, actually, I get to hang out with Victoria Facelli. She's an IBCLC, is a graduate of the Global Breastfeeding Institute's Lactation Program, and not the kind of lactation consultant who hates formula, which I'm super jazzed about because I think that so often this conversation around feeding is, in fact, actually you wrote something at the beginning of the book and I'm like, what was it? It's, hang on, now I have to like find this quote. Yeah, right in the intro you said, "this is a book about feeding babies, nothing more, nothing less. It's easy in the early days of parenthood to confuse feeding with parenting." And I love that because I think it's so true and there's so much tied to it. I think we see it with birth and we see it with feeding. And that it is, and we see with sleep as well, actually, of like, this is what this means about you as a parent. And your book that we were just referencing, Feed the Baby: An Inclusive Guide to Nursing, Bottle-Feeding, and Everything In Between, gives families more tools to really be able to navigate this consciously and intentionally. And it is the book I wish I had with Sage and that I'm so jazzed to have going in to this baby. So thank for writing it and for being down to hang out with me. 


00:04:06    Victoria

You're welcome. I'm so excited to be here. You're on my dream podcast list. 


00:04:11    Alyssa

That's so funny. Yeah. Anytime, sister. 


00:04:16    Victoria

Here we are. 


00:04:16    Alyssa

Here we are. That first sentence in that intro or the first two sentences of the intro just hit home for me so much because I feel like we do confuse those two. They get interwoven and it becomes a part of not just like our worth and our value, but our identity. 


00:04:36    Victoria

Absolutely. And it's a particularly rough one. I agree with you that birth also has become that litmus test in our culture right now. And they're similar in that we've taken the onus of some areas of medical practice that slid too far one way and put it on parents.  And we were like, you have to save yourself from this medical system that went too far that way. Instead of being like, hey, ACOG, which is like the oversight of OB/GYNs, like, can we pull back on the cesareans? Like maybe come up with some better protocols to like assess that. We were like, $1,000 for a doula, you got to like arm up, you got to take nine classes, you got to hypnotize yourself. You got to not listen to anyone who's ever had a bad outcome. Let's do this. Right? And that sort of became the culture where it was like, we're going into the big game. We're going to prep. I'm like charging through this. All providers are my enemy. Here we go. And that's not actually helpful, but it has created a lot of resources to prepare for birth, which is helpful. So I happen to get an incredible birth class where, because I say I'm like belly button up. I do a lot of birth work, but I think birth itself is nasty and horrifying. So I don't care for that. But my illustrator and very close friend, Ada Love, is a trained midwife and taught my birth class. And her perspective is very much like, here are the tools. You get to decide when and how you use them with your provider. And understanding the tools allows you to do shared decision making. That is really helpful. But this sort of like adversarial I have to win at birth is not true to what birth is, which is a natural process that's often like it can be impacted by your providers, absolutely. But there is there is no control group, there is no one for one, it is always a unique experience. But at least now we are preparing to have tools around it. And it usually caps out at around three days at most of the experience you're having, and then however much time it takes you to unpack that. Meanwhile, feeding is a year plus of a whole other gauntlet that we seem to have forgotten to prepare for. 


00:07:05    Alyssa

Yeah, in fact, like actually going in, so much of my therapy going into Sage's birth was like, I really wanted to be able to breastfeed, And it felt for me, I also went in with body trauma around miscarriages and a lot of work has happened in the last few years around trying to trust my body and that my body can do this. And that felt like another step on that ladder of my body can do this, right? So step one was, can I carry a baby past the first trimester? Can I carry a baby to term? Can I birth a baby? Another rung on that ladder for me of like body trust was, can I breastfeed a baby? 


00:07:47    Victoria

And what would it have meant if you couldn't? 


00:07:50    Alyssa

And that's what my therapy was. 


00:07:51    Victoria

Which I could not. And I had not gotten there in therapy yet, so I got the wallop of a lifetime. And I would say, I'm the IBCLC who couldn't feed her kid. I'm the peak of infant feeding expert. And that just was not going to go. It was not going to happen. 


00:08:14    Alyssa



00:08:14    Victoria

And I was so leveled by that failure. And then I made it my superpower. Because when I walk into a room and I say I am an international board certified lactation consultant. And I gave my kid formula. 


00:08:32    Alyssa



00:08:33    Victoria

The whole room just goes like---


00:08:36    Alyssa



00:08:37    Victoria

It's like, now we can like work from a level playing field, because I know this person isn't coming in trying to gauge if I'm good or bad. 


00:08:46    Alyssa

Yeah. With shame or judgment or like with a goal in mind, right. That like, and I think this happens in so many things in parenting where it's this idea of like, this expert coming in has a goal, whether they're expressing it or not. And am I going to meet their standard? Not what's my goal? And am I gonna meet my standards? But like, will I live up to this other person's? 


00:09:14    Victoria

And can we unpack that goal, because reproduction isn't college. And so a lot of us who are very used to being very good at things, and get A's and study for finals, and if we study enough, we will get the grade. And that's not how reproduction works. There is no amount of preparedness that keeps you from having a miscarriage. There is no amount of goodness that keeps you from having a bad birth outcome. And there is no amount of hard work that can overcome not having enough gland tissue in your chest to make milk for a baby. 


00:09:56    Alyssa

Totally. Or in Sagey's case, he never took a bottle, right? So what I wished for was to be able to nurse, but what I envisioned was to also be able to bottle feed, right? To have both. Never once. And I had been an infant teacher. 


00:10:13    Victoria

So what you needed was tools and ideas for how to navigate that. 


00:10:16    Alyssa

A hundred percent. Instead of just sobbing and being like, okay, I have to present or I have a podcast interview coming up and when was the last time he ate, but he's napping. Do I wake up to feed him again because I'm not going to be able to feed him while I'm on stage or while I'm in this interview and so much math that went into he doesn't take a bottle. 


00:10:36    Victoria

Yep. And I would also say that is a really difficult conflict that you were having that was internalizing an inappropriate structure. 


00:10:46    Alyssa

Hit me with what you mean. 


00:10:48    Victoria

That you going back to work at that point is not biologically appropriate. Whether or not you want to. 


00:10:55    Alyssa

But it was what I wanted though. 


00:10:56    Victoria

Yeah, totally. 


00:10:58    Alyssa

I had the, that's something I feel really grateful for that, like, because I run this and I have an incredible team, I got to choose when I went back and there was a point where I was like, okay. And that first year with so much privilege, I didn't work more than 20 hours a week. It was incredible and like loved it. And he was home with me, with the nanny. We had so much privilege and it was still so hard, but I needed something outside of him for my mental health. 


00:11:24    Victoria

And I love that. And I think that's an amazing choice. And for most people, that's structural. 


00:11:30    Alyssa

Yep. Correct


00:11:31    Victoria

Most Americans have to return to work in those circumstances. And in your case, you had that choice, which is awesome. So I love that in your case, it wasn't structural.  And it is then a question of tools, strategies to achieve your goals that sounds like you needed more of and our ability and willingness to change the plan based on the person in front of us. 


00:12:03    Alyssa

Yeah, totally. When it's like the person in front of us, it sometimes felt like a choose him or me, right? And choosing me also didn't always mean choosing me because I had to choose him. Like I had to feed him, right? And so--


00:12:19    Victoria

 And that stuck feeling?


00:12:21    Alyssa

 Oh, it's brutal. 


00:12:23    Victoria

Is traumatic, it's traumatic. 


00:12:25    Alyssa

It's brutal. I said like going into this baby, I have two goals. One, to protect my butthole at all costs. And two, I had an anal fissure that lasted for four months and I like couldn't sit. I could only lay down to nurse. I couldn't sit in a car, it was brutal. So that 


00:12:43    Victoria

 I will see your anal fissure and I raise you a still five years later and permanently torn rectum. 


00:12:51    Alyssa

Oh no. 


00:12:52    Victoria

Birth is wild. Yup. 


00:12:54    Alyssa

Oh, but so that is goal number one, protect my butthole. Goal number two,  have this baby take a bottle, which is so interesting because I'm now at the point where I, Sagey's birth, all I wanted was to be able to breastfeed. This baby, I'm like, in this moment, would rather give them a bottle of formula than not be able to give them a bottle. Does that make sense? 


00:13:19    Victoria



00:13:19    Alyssa

Whereas with Sagey, that's not how I felt. 


00:13:22    Victoria

No, it's not at all. But you know more now about what your needs are. 


00:13:27    Alyssa



00:13:27    Victoria

So this is something I actually wanted to walk you through. So this is something that's pretty unusual about my work. So like I said, we do all this birth prep and then we don't really prepare for feeding. And part of that is that we sort of assume that we are regular mammals. So we're like, okay, giraffes and crap like immediately like fall to the ground, run around, nurse, eat some grass. So like how hard could it be? What we don't realize is that in order to get our giant smarty smart giant headed babies through our teeny tiny upright pelvises, is we have them so early. Most mammals have their babies at where our babies are around one or two. Our babies come out so dumb and so early that it relies on our smart primate selves and our opposable thumbs and the help of the people around us feeding our babies and working in groups as primates to feed our babies. 


00:14:33    Alyssa



00:14:33    Victoria

And so we're sort of working with this assumption that like, it's natural, it'll just happen, which is actually probably more true of birth than it is the breastfeeding. 


00:14:43    Alyssa



00:14:44    Victoria

And there haven't been great tools to prepare anyway, right? Most hospital breastfeeding classes, you like hold a doll up to your chest, and someone tells you like 500 benefits of breastfeeding and like why it prevents cancer and cures all colds, which is not true, by the way. Okay, so that's not actually very helpful. So one of the things I really set out to do in the book is set up something where people could sit down and read or listen to the book up to a point and come in with a good amount of preparedness. So part of that is being able to like actually see what nursing is like and bottle feeding actually for that matter. So most people have sort of like a movie picture of what all that's like, or people on the internet are like doing with adults, you can't put nipples on the internet, like all of them. So what I did... 


00:15:36    Alyssa

Unless they're male. 


00:15:37    Victoria

 Oh, yes. Exactly. So what I did is I made videos of real people nursing real newborns, and QR coded them through the book. So I would love if prenatally people who it's their first go around, really watch what does look like to correctly bottle feed a baby, which is not sort of the like nine month old in the crook of your arm pointed down thing that you're kind of envisioning in many cases. And what does it look like for a baby to nurse? Like what does latching really look like? Sort of like really get some of that like mirror neuron understanding of what that's going to be like. And the big piece that I would actually love to walk you through--


00:16:24    Alyssa

Yeah, let's do it. 


00:16:26    Victoria

Is a self -assessment piece. So where I start that, which is a little different for you because you're going in with your second kiddo. So if you were having your first, and this is also like what I actually want for breast cancer awareness is for everyone to feel their chest. And the more familiar you get with your baseline and your chest now, the better and safer that is for your lifelong health. So what I want everyone to do, and in particular pregnant people expecting their first baby, and it might be a good refresher for you with your second, is to stand topless in the mirror and really get a good look at what we're talking about, and say to yourself, okay, have I had any surgery on my chest or near my armpits? Where do I have a lot of tissue? How has my chest changed in pregnancy? Where am I lumpy? Where am I soft? What color is my areola? Do my nipples point out? Do my nipples point in? All of these are things that are going to make a significant difference in how you feed your baby and getting used to holding your own chest and knowing what is normal for you. Do you have a really large chest? Do you have a really small chest? Are your breasts profoundly different sizes? Are they wide set? Are they long? Did you go through a trauma during puberty, or an eating disorder during puberty, or a hormonal interruption during puberty, that maybe caused your breast development to be different? Do you have very small, very soft breasts because size doesn't matter, but shape and texture can. So I have images of what all of these things can look like in the book and sort of walk people through. Because if in this moment you're able to look at yourself and you're like, oh, my chest looks like that one and that one might make less milk, just like physiologically. Prenatally, you can take some time to reconcile that and figure out what like nursing and supplementing or just formula feeding looks like for you and come to peace with that instead of when you're totally sleep deprived and there's a tiny human screaming at you and the pediatrician telling you your baby's failing to thrive, which is horrendously traumatic. 


00:18:45    Alyssa



00:18:45    Victoria

And so instead, like, can we preempt that? So then second time around, you have a lot more information, you're coming in with a lot more variables. So you get to assess two pieces of the puzzle, you get to look at yourself, and you get to look at Sage, right? Because that's the other thing, right? As we say, well, it's so important to me to breastfeed, I'm going to do everything to breastfeed, well, you're not accounting for the fact that there's another person there who also has opinions. And the other person in your case was like, no, ma 'am, I shan't with the bottles.


00:19:16    Alyssa

 Correct. And he'll tell you, he'll walk through it, mama, I came out and I was saying, I want a nurse. I want a nurse. And I said, I don't want any bottles. That's what he'll tell you. 


00:19:30    Victoria

He did not. He super did not, which I am excited to sort of puzzle through the bottles question with you a little tighter. 


00:19:37    Alyssa



00:19:37    Victoria

But that so that's a piece of it is like, okay, what were things that that kid was bringing to the party? That are likely to be different or malleable this time. And what things that your life, body circumstances were bringing to the party. So give us a little bit of like the history of what that nursing process was like for you. And what are the things that went great that you want to reproduce? And what are the things that didn't go well that you want to work to evolve if you can this time? 


00:20:12    Alyssa

Sure. I felt like the prep around nursing for me was really helpful. We did the Know Your Options, childbirth course through Bryn Huntpalmer of The Birth Hour. Uh, we've just had a relationship for years and my birth story is actually on The Birth Hour if people are interested in hearing it. And it came with a breastfeeding course that I found really helpful. It was like videos of real people nursing and it was really, really helpful. And Zach and I like watched that and then went back and like rewatched again, closer to birth. And then I had a home birth. And so I had also connected with the lactation consultant ahead of time prenatally to ask if she could come over on day two to just like, take a look. How are things looking? How's latch looking? Do you notice anything we're not seeing the midwives aren't seeing, et cetera? Which was like peace of mind for me. Those are things that I found very helpful. And she came over and she was like, you could be in your own nursing video. Like his latch is great. This is coming. Your milk will probably be in in next 12 hours and literally eight hours later, my milk came in and we were off to the races. 


00:21:31    Victoria

Any engorgement or issues with that? 


00:21:33    Alyssa

Oh, it's just such blurry days. I don't remember. I think some because I remember being like, oh my God, I'm rock hard. 


00:21:44    Victoria

But sort of like normal engorgement, not like days of pain or anything like that. 


00:21:49    Alyssa

Not like days of pain at all, wasn't like super, like, wasn't like really painful. Like people are like, you might have cracked nipples, whatever. Like that didn't happen for us. 


00:22:01    Victoria

I love this. Cause I never get to hear these stories, right? Like if you're talking to me, it's going badly. So sometimes I'm like, is, does this work? Like is breastfeeding real? Like that's the only people I see are having a really hard time. 


00:22:16    Alyssa

I will say some things that I also came into it, I personally just having, I don't know, worked with infants as an infant teacher, don't believe that kids all eat on the same schedule. And so that was something I came in with my own thoughts and perspective on, I'm just going to get to know this baby and see how often do they need to eat? What's that look like? Are they going to want one side or both sides or whatever? And really followed his lead. 


00:22:46    Victoria

And that actually scientifically helped you regulate supply. 


00:22:50    Alyssa

Ah, there you go. So he, that, and that just like felt right for me. And so he, yeah, he would often like nurse on one side at a time. And I, in the early days, Haakaa'd on the other side while he nursed, and I would get, I don't know, four to six ounces, which is nuts, on one side pretty early on. And he would just nurse on one side. But he nursed, gosh, in those early days, it was like he never made it to the two to three hours.  That wasn't a thing for a while for him. He would nurse sometimes every hour, 90 minutes, every once in a while, two hours, overnight he would do longer stretches. But during the day, just fed on demand and I was topless a lot and snuggling with him. And that it was also like early COVID days, so like we weren't going to things, like there were parts of that that were really convenient and didn’t have another kid to get out of the house. Uh, and yeah, he just, so like that was rad. We introduced a bottle a couple weeks in and he said no. He also said no to all pacifiers, um, and I had him assessed for ties by three different people. 


00:24:18    Victoria

I know that's where I'm wondering. 


00:24:20    Alyssa

Three different people said no. He is, now that I know more about him, like tactilely sensitive, and we see it now with food as well, like textures of food. He doesn't like a full mouthful of food. In fact, if he takes a bite and it's too big, he'll start to gag and he'll say, it's too big, I need to spit it out. And that has been true for him tactilely across the board. But also with eating, he's very tactilely sensitive. Like the other day he was like, mama, why you like cottage cheese? It's so bumpy. And I was like, totally buddy, it doesn't feel good in your mouth. And like that has always been true for him. So I've been curious about that of like, basically my basement, I have a box of bottles. It's like Target down there, like choose your own bottle. We did every temperature. I did it like fresh pumped right into a bottle. Like you name it. I had taught so many babies how to bottle feed as an infant teacher, and it was one of those things where I was like, I can't teach my own. 


00:25:25    Victoria

Mm -hmm. Relatable. 


00:25:27    Alyssa

I dropped him off at a friend of mine who's an infant teacher. I had a dentist appointment. I dropped him off and left him for like three, four hours, and I was like, here's a bunch of milk. Because I had Haakaa'd, so I had all this milk. I was like, here's a bunch of milk. Don't feel nervous about wasting it. I know like for a lot of people, that would be the opposite of like, please don't waste the milk. I'm like, waste the milk if you have to. Try any bottle, try any temperature, do whatever you want. Please just get this kid to take a bottle. And I came back and she was like, Alyssa, I've never seen anyone do this. He can get milk out of the bottle and then he acts like he's taking a shot of whiskey. 


00:26:03    Alyssa

Hmm. And I'm like, yeah. He's like, I hate it. I hate it. 


00:26:10    Victoria

So interesting. Yeah. No, I cannot find the point in your story that is obvious. 


00:26:16    Alyssa

Yeah. Thanks. 


00:26:17    Victoria

I think that was just your kid. 


00:26:19    Alyssa

Yeah. I think so too. And like. 


00:26:21    Victoria

And that's part of it. It's like babies are people. And sometimes kids come to us like with their own crap. And you're just like, oh no, that was actually just you. 


00:26:31    Alyssa

Yeah. Yeah. And I don't--


00:26:32    Victoria

And I think that was one of those. 


00:26:34    Alyssa

I do think it was. It's unique to him and his sensory systems and how he operates, which like for me gives me hope. Yeah. Yeah. 


00:26:45    Victoria

It's more than likely that a different baby will have a different sensory system. 


00:26:50    Alyssa

Yeah, he is very much my husband, who also, for the record, never took a bottle. 


00:26:55    Victoria

Interesting. How does he feel about cottage cheese? 


00:26:59    Alyssa

Not a fan. 


00:27:00    Victoria

Too bumpy. 


00:27:02    Alyssa

Too bumpy. Yeah, they have a very similar sensory systems. 


00:27:07    Victoria

Yeah, I do think that sounds like part of it. I am curious. The only thing I might have added if I had like been puzzling through this with you at the time, would have been trying different sensory environments for the bottle. 


00:27:25    Alyssa

Like different spaces? 


00:27:26    Victoria

So I might have tried like water running in a bathtub together, you and him doing a bottle, bouncing on a ball with Metallica playing on a bottle. 


00:27:40    Alyssa

Sure  he would have just screamed at Metallica playing. Sound sensitive as well. 


00:27:44    Victoria

Sound sensitive. Yeah. So like those different sensory environments of like, can we, do you want less sensory input while you're doing something hard? Do you want more sensory input while you're doing something hard? Which I do think people don't pay enough attention to baby's sensory systems. 


00:28:03    Alyssa

Yeah. I don't think we arm parents or teachers for that matter with how. 


00:28:08    Victoria

I don't think most people know they have a sensory system. 


00:28:10    Alyssa

Yeah, right. Right, right, right. Yeah, so we played with that a little bit because he is sensory sensitive and that was pretty clear early on. He's touch sensitive for sure. In fact, my lactation consultant was like, he's a power nurser. And I was like, right, because he wants to be on my body as little as possible. So he - 


00:28:31    Victoria

So interesting. 


00:28:32    Alyssa

Even snuggling, I would be holding him. We have pictures of him where his hand is just pushing off of my body. Like, and it's still, he's not touch seeking or proprioceptive seeking. He is sensitive and he seeks vestibular input. So like bouncing on a ball is typically helpful for him, being in a swing, especially if he's in a swing where he's not like tightly into anything. Dark spaces is sounds or the worst for him as a baby. Still now I sneezed yesterday and he was mama, that's too loud. He is sound sensitive. He has more sensory sensitivities than he has regulating and seeking systems. We played with that a little bit just because of his life. I had to do that even for nursing, where if it was loud in the environment, it was overwhelming for him. 


00:29:33    Victoria

So in the structure of doing this self -assessment, what I'm hearing is that physiologically, your body makes milk, not too much, not too little, pretty effectively, if your partner in nursing can effectively manipulate that with you, which Sage could, and that the bottle refusal really was him and his personality and his sensory system. 


00:30:00    Alyssa



00:30:00    Victoria

So you have already unpacked all that, which not a lot of people have sort of like gone back through and been like, okay, where did this derail? 


00:30:08    Alyssa

Sure. That's how my brain works. 


00:30:10    Victoria

Yeah. I think you and I might have the same brain. I think it might be why we wrote similar books at the same time. I've been joking that your book is the sequel to my book. 


00:30:18    Alyssa

I love that. 


00:30:20    Victoria

I'm like, okay, your baby has a sensory system. They're their own person. You're your own person. You also matter. Okay. 


00:30:29    Alyssa



00:30:29    Victoria

Now, we're going to be responsive. Now they're two, go talk to her. I don't have anything to say.


00:30:36    Alyssa

Yeah, totally. The responsive feeding I want to touch on, what does that mean for you? 


00:30:42    Victoria

So responsive feeding for me means that we are paying more attention to baby's cues than we are to the clock or to a book or to-- like they're going to be moments where you're like, Like, I have to record this podcast, I know that you are not hungry, but I am going to top you off because I got to go, right? They're going to be those moments. But by and large, whether we are nursing or bottle feeding, can we pay attention to these cues? And this is the thing that makes me absolutely batty about feeding apps. I actually was trying to make an app and it was easier to publish a book. 


00:31:27    Alyssa

Correct. I'm also trying to make an app. So cheers. 


00:31:33    Victoria

Um, we can talk about that another time. But yeah, so I was like, okay, I can't find someone to make my very simple, very boring app. I'll write this book instead. But the thing that makes me batty about the apps is that they are all timers. 


00:31:46    Alyssa



00:31:47    Victoria

And an amount of time tells me absolutely nothing about how a baby like, in particular with nursing, a baby, I know baby sounds like your baby is one of them, do a full feeding in two minutes. 


00:31:59    Alyssa

He's a power nurser.


00:32:00    Victoria

And then if you feel serious, like the book said, or the midwife said, or the lactation consultant said that I have to nurse for 20 minutes. You're going to sit there for 20 minutes while they sleep. 


00:32:14    Alyssa

He would have pushed away.


00:32:16    Victoria

And you're like pushing them to eat. And then they're upset. And you're like, my baby is starving. What's happening? We can't make it to 20 minutes. And then he's awake again in an hour, like something is terribly wrong. And actually it sounds like nothing was wrong. 


00:32:34    Alyssa

Yeah, right. 


00:32:34    Victoria

That was just like, that was where your two systems puzzled together best was frequent small feedings. 


00:32:43    Alyssa



00:32:44    Victoria

And because it was a pandemic and you didn't have another kid and you had lots of support, you were able to do that. It sounds like sustainably. And then he did like a blessed physiologically normal, but not all babies do it thing of eating pretty frequently and then giving you a four hour, four or five hour chunk of sleep and then resuming that pattern. 


00:33:05    Alyssa

Yeah. And then, but even a few hour chunk of sleep is glorious. Yeah. It was glorious. And then even the overnight after that would be like, he was typically, then he would do the two to three hours people talked about. And then during the day he'd go back to power feeding. 


00:33:20    Victoria

Yeah. And it sounds like that worked well for you. And I think another thing I want to point out in your story about about why that worked is to really pull out that four hour chunk. So that's what tells me that he could do full large feedings because he would at some point in 24 hours, even though he wasn't doing a three hour spacing throughout the day, which, by the way, is fake. So we're actually looking for eight to 12 feedings in a 24 hour period because when left to their own devices, babies will eat at different intervals. 


00:33:50    Alyssa



00:33:51    Victoria

As do we. 


00:33:52    Alyssa



00:33:53    Victoria

Um, and so watching that cycle and then your mood, your ability to be needed at that interval was regulated by that chunk of sleep. And so in cases where babies are not doing that long chunk of sleep, maybe you are navigating feeding issues. Maybe their personality really is that they wake up at the two hour mark around the clock, no matter what you do. That's where I want people to use tools to split feedings. 


00:34:25   Alyssa



00:34:26    Victoria

And to skip one to sleep. Because we have tons and tons and tons of research that shows that four to six hours of protected sleep, that means earplugs in, baby is in another room, another house, walking up and down the block, white noise, phone off, four to six hours of sleep, is curative to postpartum mood disorders, and where it's not curative, it is revelatory or diagnostic, where if you cannot sleep during that time, or you wake up and you don't feel better, that's when we need more mental health resources on board. That is probably the thing I care about more than any feeding thing, is helping parents figure out that piece, because sleep deprivation is actual torture. 


00:35:15    Alyssa

Yeah, it's the worst. 


00:35:17    Victoria

And when you're in the throes of really challenging problem solving or caring for this person who maybe has a dysregulated nervous system, you just, you can't, you can't move through that. And so I just really want to like draw that out and talk about that, about like that. I do think that was a big part of your puzzle. 


00:35:35    Alyssa



00:35:36    Victoria

And so if this baby perhaps is a bottle champion, but once every two hours, then we're going to need to shift the plan in those other ways. 


00:35:48    Alyssa

Yeah. And that was actually like what we went into it. That's what I went in envisioning. Right. It was like, this baby's going to need to eat every two to three hours overnight. Like I'm not going to get a long stretch and Zach, how do we want to tag team the night for that? Like that was my pre having birthed Sage vision. And then Sage came with his own agenda and own sensory systems and I-- 


00:36:11    Victoria

This part I can do. 


00:36:12    Alyssa

Yeah, exactly. And you will not split up the night. Like I, 


00:36:16    Victoria

Oh yeah. You couldn't bottle. 


00:36:17    Alyssa

Couldn't bottle feed. so there was no tapping out for me for that. And so like, thank goodness. He had that for - 


00:36:24    Victoria

And so if you had needed to tap out, a baby who is gaining weight well will not starve. 


00:36:30    Alyssa



00:36:31    Victoria

With an extra hour. And I might've just been like, you're about to walk this baby up and down the block for an hour while I get three hours of sleep. 


00:36:38    Alyssa



00:36:39    Victoria

And I do think there are ways, even for babies who won't take a bottle, to still, it will be more uncomfortable for everyone. 


00:36:48    Alyssa



00:36:49    Victoria

But to still prioritize that. 


00:36:52    Alyssa

Yeah. And I think for us too, like I, I'm a human who, when my world feels, when it feels like there's a lot on my plate, I immediately look for like, where can I take things off? Like it's my go -to. And so coming into this, I was like, what are the only things I care about right now? Right. Like I actually don't care to shower every day. That's not something that's rejuvenating for me. I don't care if dishes are sitting in my sink. I don't care if I eat grilled cheese and tomato soup every day. I want to make sure we have clean laundry to put on our bodies when we want it and that this baby is alive and hanging and that we can be as regulated as possible, are the things that matter to me. And so for us, we had a rule, I think in the first two weeks of you could have max one thing on your to -do list today, max. And it would be like, take a shower. 


00:37:54    Victoria



00:37:55    Alyssa

Like that, or like call the pediatrician to make that appointment. 


00:37:58    Victoria

Yeah, make the phone call. 


00:37:59    Alyssa

Yeah. And like, that was it. And that was like our, both for Zach and I, way that we were able to decrease task demands to increase our capacity for regulation. And - 


00:38:13    Victoria

So how are you bringing that into baby two, not in a pandemic, with another person who needs stuff, and a career that's exploding a little bit. 


00:38:23    Alyssa

I have an incredible team for the career, which is rad. So I can really tap out. I have a access to an incredible childcare program that I adore, that Sage goes to really like three to four days a week, and a mother -in -law who is around on Fridays and does Friday childcare. So typically that's our setup is like he's in childcare and then, and that will continue, so that I can continue to tap out from parenting that child to parent this child and myself. 


00:38:57    Victoria

So this is another thing I wanted to ask you about is something that I have noticed is there's sort of a like tendency in lactation land to be like, you buy specific toys that go into a basket that your kid can only play with when they're when you're nursing or like, whatever. Many of us turn the TV on, which I think is a great use of a tool and like 100 % sensory regulation for everybody, especially because many shows have episodes and content about the experience of having a new baby, right? Like, let's get Daniel Tiger, baby Margaret action going. But also, I think sometimes when we move just to distraction, 


00:39:41    Alyssa



00:39:41    Victoria

-There's something missing. And I'm just curious, like with your audience with your work about thinking about how do we, like use your method to really talk about and move through the discomfort of the change in identity that everyone goes through adding another baby to the family. 


00:40:00    Alyssa

Totally. My goal with Sage going to childcare is I get time to rest. If I have a kid who doesn't sleep in a four -hour stretch, if I have to heal from birth physically, that I have time where I can truly lay down and rest throughout the day, whether it's with a baby or not. And outside of that window, the newborn, it even really Zach's off for a month. So outside of that window where it's largely, there will be a number of times where it's me and Sage and a baby. And we have, first of all, done a lot of prep so far. We talk a lot about what it looked like for me to nurse him and how that works and the mechanics of it and what's possible for me in terms of tending to him and what isn't. We actually started this with the first trimester when I wasn't feeling well and saying like, oh yeah, my body's working really hard to grow a baby. Here's what I can do right now. And he'll say like, what can you do, mama? And so I'll let him know like, here's what I can do. I can snuggle with you and watch an episode of Daniel when I'm feeling sick on the couch. Here's what I can do. And even now, like in this third trimester, there are times where I have sciatic pain and can't pull him out of the crib. So I'll say, here's what I can do. I can sit next to the crib and talk to you and hold your hand. And when it's time for you to come out and you're feeling ready to come out, daddy can pick you up. And walking through what can I do and acknowledging this is a part of the process. My goal isn't that we have a kid and everything stays the same. That's not how life works. And recognizing he's also, there's going to be moments of grief for him of, man, what was, is gone, in parts, to make room for what is now. 


00:41:56    Victoria

Do you feel like you will experience that grief also? 


00:42:01    Alyssa

Totally. I think everybody does when a family system changes. 


00:42:04    Victoria

I think so too. We don't talk about that one. 


00:42:07    Alyssa

Yeah. I think everyone does. I mean, I think we even experience it like zero to one kid, right? Where it's like, oh, grieving the loss of like sleeping in on a Saturday morning or going to a mimosa brunch with friends or doing whatever the heck I wanted, because it was only about me. Just grieving the loss of that independence that you don't have when you're thinking about somebody else who needs you to survive. I think with every transition there, there's grief that comes up. Just allowing him to have it, to be able to say things like, yeah, buddy, it feels different now. Huh? I used to come in and do tubby time and bedtime with you every night. And now I'm going to feed your sister while dad is doing this, or I'm going to put her down and then I'm going to come in after tubby and help put you down, right? Like whatever that ends up kind of shaking out to look like at different stages. But just acknowledging like that feels different. And sometimes it's sad when something feels different, or sometimes it's just uncomfortable and we don't know what to expect, and allowing those feelings and that process to exist, knowing it's okay for him to feel hard things in this process. We all will. 


00:43:21    Victoria



00:43:22    Alyssa

That's my take on it. 


00:43:25    Victoria

I love it. That's great. Yeah. I don't know. There's something about the way that we're connected to our firstborns that shifting out of that is a unique grief, I think. 


00:43:38    Alyssa

Well, I think it's with them, you can really give undivided attention. Like it can happen in a lot of ways. And then beyond that, like, she's never going to live a life like he lived, right? It's just not going to be true. And I'm, I'm number four of five. And I am just like, yeah, I never experienced what my brother Eric experienced for his first whatever year on planet Earth, because there were always other kids. And that's not a bad thing. It's just my experience of being on planet Earth. And that'll be hers. She will not ever experience us just spending all day laying and looking at her as she lays on a blanket and does nothing like babies do. And we just talk about how everything she's doing is magical because I'm going to be a toddler, right? 


00:44:32    Victoria

And does Sage wear noise protectors? What's his plan for crying? 


00:44:38    Alyssa

Yeah, so he has headphones and he also has spaces in the house. So because we live in Vermont, like a chunk of the time in the year, we're inside. And so if people come over for dinner, if whatever, he has spaces in the house he can go to that are his like kind of quiet zones. He has like a spot in his room that he can go to where he has toys and books and things that he'll like go and retreat to. Like he literally left his own birthday party and was like, I'm feeling overwhelmed. I need to go take a break. And will go off and do that. And that's something we've worked a lot with him on is not just the accommodations, but also the regulating. So we have both - 


00:45:16    Victoria

And the interoception. 


00:45:17    Alyssa

Oh yeah. His interoception, like that's for us, that self -awareness component of like, what am I experiencing in my body has first and foremost, and anyone who reads Tiny Humans, Big Emotions will see like, I can't focus on regulation with him if he's not aware of what to regulate. And so we focused so heavily on that right from the jump. 


00:45:39    Victoria

I'm also going to say that he came with that. He has a sensitive interoceptive system. He was not going to let anyone override his oral sensitivity. 


00:45:49    Alyssa

Oh, no. 


00:45:50    Victoria

That was not going to happen. Like, there are kiddos who would have been like, I don't like this, I will do it. 


00:45:55    Alyssa

Yeah, but I would say then they're not. So on the range of like sensory sensitivities, we have like, I'm not a super sensory sensitive human. Like are there things that like add up for me, totally sensory wise, but I can filter a lot out and be like, I don't love that noise or I don't love that thing or I don't love that smell and I can work through it. I'm not a very sensory sensitive human. For him, there isn't a working through it. Like he will either need an accommodation or he needs a regulating activity to help kind of cancel that out. Right? And so that's where bouncing on the ball could potentially be helpful for some kids, and where you're going to pop in for him that vestibular input that's going to regulate while doing something with him that's dysregulating. Yeah, for him, we do a combo of there are some times where we're popping in an accommodation and sometimes where we're looking for a regulating activity. And for him, a regulating activity, like he has a hammock in his room, he can go and swing in a hammock and take that down regulation time. So he has a few different spots in the house where he can do that. And if he can control noise, this is true for most sound -sensitive humans, if you can control the noise, you're not sensitive to it. And so for him, he loves power tools. He has a spot in the basement, he can go and he can turn on a drill and play with whatever. People listening are probably like, in what world are you giving two -year -old to drill. We do. And so many other power tools. So buckle up. Weed Whacker. He can operate a leaf blower. And when he has that, it kind of drowns out the other noise too and acts as like white noise for him that he's in control of. 


00:47:38    Victoria

I am really loving the picture you're painting of this like Vermont family lifestyle where you're like home birthing while your child's like in the background working a drill. Like this is as a as someone who really loves my dear friend in Vermont and I like tease her about being very Vermont-y, this is really working for me.


00:47:57    Alyssa

 Yeah. Yep okay.  So funny I'm not Vermont-y—


00:48:02    Victoria

Are you making your own wool to crochet into a wool blanket to birth this baby onto it while someone makes porridge in the background?


00:48:13    Alyssa

It's so ridiculous. We--Hunter Clark-Fields. She has written a few books, but she has a podcast and I, right before I was being interviewed she was like, how are you feeling? She's like, I feel like you're probably a home birther. And I was like, hilarious. I am. But not for the reasons that I think a lot of people would expect. Like for me, I have sexual trauma. And so the idea of somebody being in or near my vagina that I don't know that's just on call at that point is terrifying. And so this feels safer for me. But he or she was like, Yeah, you just give off like Vermont vibes. And I was like, it's so funny. Because I like in Vermont I'm not crunchy enough. Like I we don't really hike. I don't make my own soap. Right? Like, I'd rather order-


00:48:58    Victoria

Do you harvest ramps?


00:49:01    Alyssa

Nope. I don't even like have a garden. Like we go next door and pick Monica's raspberries, right? Like, I'm not Vermont-y enough for Vermont, but then like step outside of Vermont and I'm like so crunchy. 


00:49:13    Victoria

I love that. It's not even crunchy like it's just so its own thing and it's so funny and so I have like this very good friend in Vermont and then there's two of us in this group of friends who are in the south, and we tease her that we will often mention something and she's like oh I read a New Yorker article about that. And so it's like this funny reverse thing of like her perspective of like what we hillbillies are doing down here. 


00:49:37    Alyssa

So funny. 


00:49:38    Victoria

And sort of like our perspective of like, I don't know, she only owns L .L. Bean and like historic wool items. 


00:49:46    Alyssa

Oh, it's so funny. No, I also grew up in a low income community where like my mom made every or did everything at home because she couldn't afford to buy or whatever. 


00:49:57    Victoria

In Vermont?


00:49:57    Alyssa

No, in Western New York. But a lot of that then like bleeds into Vermont, like, but in a like a bougier way in Vermont where it's like people are making their own yada yada because they think they should and my mom just like had to, right because she couldn't-- 


00:50:11    Victoria

We have some of that too. Like I think that is something that we actually leave out of the complicatedness of what I will now call Yankee culture, of sort of like hard Northeasterliness is like there is there is absolutely a like low class— 


00:50:30    Alyssa



00:50:30    Victoria

—have to have a garden element there, that I think is worth talking about, even if it's not in the New Yorker in the same way. 


00:50:37    Alyssa

Sure, or like my mom had to cloth diaper because they couldn't afford otherwise and knew that they were gonna have a bunch of kids, right? So like, that was it. I do not cloth diaper because I don't want to add to my task demands. So I do Hello Bello diaper subscription that I do not have to think about. 


00:50:57    Victoria

I love that. 


00:50:58    Alyssa

And try to offload wherever I can there. 


00:51:01    Victoria

That's beautiful. 


00:51:02    Alyssa

This is where I'm not Vermont-y enough. This is another not Vermont-y enough thing. 


00:51:06    Victoria

Would it be okay to circle back to what you mentioned about sexual trauma? 


00:51:09    Alyssa



00:51:10    Victoria

I'm interested. So there is, so statistics in my field are really complicated. It's hard to get good data about anything nursing related. There's a lot of really big holes. This is why I don't talk about like the benefits of breast milk and breastfeeding because I actually don't feel like we have the statistics to confidently say those things in the that like seatbelts and car seats do. But there is research around an increase of mastitis in people who have experienced sexual assault, which I think is interesting. And I am in general interested in and sensitive to the fact that for many people, nursing can be either reparative or very dysphoric or challenging because of a history of sexual assault. And I'm interested, did that impact you in any way, or was that just like a very different world for you entirely? 


00:52:04    Alyssa

Yeah, totally different. Yeah. I also feel grateful to have done so much work around my trauma before becoming a parent that had I... So it happened when I was 14. If I had had a kid at 18 or 19 or 20, 21, 22, it would have been a totally different experience for me in terms of triggers and trauma and all that. But I had him in my 30s and had access to a lot of incredible therapy and work prior to that that definitely shifted like my relationship to triggers and the trauma in general. And yeah, it's when I have to, it's specifically with birth for me was the like, I wanted to be able to relinquish control of my prefrontal cortex, right? To like not have to be in a rational thinking brain and to just allow. And the idea of allowing when it comes to my vagina is different for me than like, oh, I'm going to nurse and figure this out. That felt different. I actually was in my prefrontal cortex, I think, a lot in that time. And there wasn't a risk of a stranger who had more power or control than I did, being present with my body. It's like, for me, it was like, I have the power and control here, this is a baby, right? And so like, it didn't feel threatening. And I am tactily seeking. So I'm regulated by touch. And so actually like having a baby on my body, which is funny, 'cause Sagey and I are a sensory mismatch, but having a baby on my body is regulating for me. And so there were parts of nursing that I think were really regulating for me. 


00:53:51    Victoria

Hmm, that's really, yeah, that's really interesting. I think I want to mark here is--I do talk about this in my book and I talk about this publicly, I've already mentioned my butthole, as I do,  that I had an incredibly traumatic birth that needed to be in a hospital and was in a hospital and I live in a state that does not have a lot of birth choices and I think it's really easy to assume that me as someone who had an incredibly traumatic birth would be in some ways against home birth or resistant to home birth. 


00:54:29    Alyssa



00:54:29    Victoria

And I feel really strongly about the fact that everything has risks and benefits and that we deserve to make unique choices about that. 


00:54:40    Alyssa



00:54:41    Victoria

And that that is actually the system that helps keep our providers above board, credentialed, and safe. And that it is actually in that autonomous choice that keeps us safe. And so that is something that was very important to me in writing a book from a perspective where milks are neutral, is that if you are someone with trauma, that there are so many good enough reasons to do whatever the heck you want with your body.


00:55:12    Alyssa



00:55:13    Victoria

And that includes using formula. And that means that I, as an expert in infant feeding, need to know about formula. I need to be able to guide you to choose a formula that's going to work well for you and not be influenced by only the teachings of a formula company or another, to be able to really speak on that because no one's filling that gap. 


00:55:38    Alyssa

Yeah. Yeah. Such a good point.


00:55:39    Victoria

No one's doing that like fully informed, across the board feeding and somebody has to step up and do it. There are a few amazing educators on the internet who are doing that, but like in terms of a profession across the board, no one is doing that work. Pediatricians are largely taught by formula companies and not taught very much. IBCLCs are by and large either not educated about formula or incredibly off put in general. and I find that really unhelpful. 


00:56:08    Alyssa



00:56:09    Victoria

And so I just want to like mark here as we're talking about a really hard thing, that like my PTSD and my trauma impacts how I birth and how I feed babies. 


00:56:19    Alyssa

Yeah, totally. 


00:56:20    Victoria

Your trauma and PTSD impacts how you birth and how you feed babies. And they are very, very different from one another. 


00:56:28    Alyssa



00:56:28    Victoria

And we need a lot of space around that. And I hope that we're creating more of that and that conversations between folks like us who needed and have had different things, opens that up for other people. And just to say any reason you have is good enough for me.


00:56:47    Alyssa

I love that so much. And I also feel grateful to live in a state where I felt so supported in choosing home birth that like our home birth midwives are licensed, have to be covered by insurance legally. I, every ultrasound I had at the hospital, they were like, oh, you're with Peggy, you're in great care. There was a mutual respect between the hospital and my midwives. That's so important. That collaboration is so important. And so everywhere I went, I felt supported. And I went almost 42 weeks with Sage and I was requesting ultrasound and non -stress test and the hospital was super supportive. They're like, oh, yeah, you're doing well, Peggy's gotcha. Like there was no. Like, are you sure? Are you safe? Like, I didn't feel that from the hospital side. 


00:57:42    Victoria

And it sounds like it had been unsafe. They would have transferred you.


00:57:45    Alyssa

Yeah. And that's like same with the on the midwife side and the hospital, I think, would have advocated for both, you know, like both. I felt like I was in co -care, you know, between the two. 


00:57:55    Victoria

And that's all I want, for the whole continuum. 


00:57:59    Alyssa

Yeah. Yeah. And I feel so grateful for that. And I also just that I had a low -risk pregnancy where I had access to home birth and didn't have to make a choice where I felt like I was going to be in a triggering situation or potentially triggering situation for me and have to birth my baby. That was convenient and really out of my control. And actually in this pregnancy, there was a time I had low -lying placenta and she was not head down. Babies don't usually put their heads near placentas. And it was a waiting game to see, as my uterus grows, is that placenta going to move up? Is she going to flip? And she did. But there was a time where I was like, okay, I have to start to prepare myself for what would birth look like for me starting out in a hospital. I'd gotten to a place in last pregnancy of like, we're going to start at home and maybe we'll have to navigate a transfer and what does that look like for me and all that jazz. And this time I had to start, I was like, all right, what does it look like if I start there? And doing some work around that. And I, again, like so grateful for access to therapy and the ability to do some of this work of like knowing myself and my triggers. And I have pretty good interoceptive awareness, pretty heightened. I would say that is one of my sensitivities is interoception. And so I get a little bit hungry, I'm hangry. I get a little bit tired and I'm exhausted. We feel things in a more heightened way in the same way that Sage hears sounds in a more heightened way. And for me, that means I'm pretty aware of those internal cues of like, oops, something feels off. I'm starting to feel dysregulated. And it allows me now to like tap into regulation and get curious before I'm in distress. 


00:59:56    Victoria

Yeah. I love that. And I love the way that interoception is guiding your choices. And I think letting people have more complex choices, like I hear a lot of like, I'll breastfeed if it works or, well, my goal is to exclusively breastfeed for six months, adding complimentary solids for like for a year as mutually desired or like whatever the recommendation of the day is. And it's just like it's not curious about where you're actually at with this thing and where you're going to be when and yeah, when because the situation's going to change, right? When that situation continues to change and evolve on you. And I just like, I'm not interested in a conversation about benefits in a vacuum, because we don't live in a vacuum. 


01:00:45    Alyssa



01:00:45    Victoria

So when people talk about like the benefits of one kind of milk, I'm just sort of like, okay, but as compared to what? 


01:00:53    Alyssa

Yeah, and with what risks, right? 


01:00:55    Victoria

And so the benefit for your mental health with a low risk birth outweighs the risks that are still there in a home birth. 


01:01:06    Alyssa



01:01:07    Victoria

And you get to make those decisions. And so, like, I remember when you were talking about that, I was like, look, because I am I have so much birth trauma that any talk of that, and I'm like, no, plan C, plan just like, do you want me to schedule it? I'll call them. Like, I will keep you safe. I will go and call them for you, which is why I shouldn't be making your medical decisions. But it's the same thing with feeding, where I just want people to have that bigger risk benefit awareness. And how does our mental health and how does our history impact that? And that's, you know, that history of sexual assault would come up, hopefully, in a in that sort of like self assessment we did at the beginning, which you knew this time, from your past experience wasn't going to trigger you, right. And that's something that may come up in someone else's assessment and be a great reason to choose to bottle feed. And I want to say something about bonding, because this is like a bonding responsive feeding podcast, that it is my deepest, sincerest belief that the bonding is not in the method of feeding, it is in the responsiveness. And so that is what the responsive feeding is, is noticing when your baby is hungry, noticing their cues of what it looks like when they're full, what it looks like when they need space, what does it look like when they want to be close. And even when we're bottle feeding, not paying attention to the volume in the bottle so much as does your baby look like they've had enough to eat? 


01:02:44    Alyssa

Sure. It's attunement. Are we attuned to them? 


01:02:47    Victoria

Yes. And I think learning that attunement from the beginning is really powerful. 


01:02:53    Alyssa

I think so too. And this is actually like kind of my beef with even just like different I'm gonna call them like parenting categories, Attachment Parenting or whatever, like that it is actually, it pulls back from the attunement rather than like--I've had so many people I had it with Sage and I still have it now with this one. They're like, what are you gonna do for sleep? What are you gonna I'm like, oh, I just have to get to know them. 


01:03:17    Victoria

I don't know yet.


01:03:17    Alyssa

Like I don't know who they are. Exactly and so like with Sage I was like, I don't know who this person is. Like, we're open to a lot of different things. I'm gonna get to know them and see what works. And Sage is a touch sensitive human, hated co -sleeping. 


01:03:33    Victoria

I was gonna say, yeah, that's not a kid-- 


01:03:35    Alyssa

Hated it. He wanted to be by himself in a bassinet, was his dream. And it, for me, was just like, I just have to get to know who this person is. And so when we are prescribing like - 


01:03:47    Victoria

But also, you are not sensitive in those ways. And so you know that about yourself, because it would be equally valuable if you were like, I know that I am super touch sensitive. 


01:03:59    Alyssa



01:04:00    Victoria

Co-sleeping is super not for me, or I have a lot of anxiety about X, Y, Z, like room sharing is really important to me, right? Or like all of those things that are also really valuable. And you are so aware of your yes's and no's, that you are able to have a lot of space for what your baby's yes's and no's are going to be and letting them show you. Whereas like for me, I have I have some no's that like I would be bringing in. 


01:04:32    Alyssa

Totally. And to be able to say like, all right, then what else does this look like? Right? Like, say, for me, like, say Sage was touch seeking, maybe this next babe is like me where they're tactically seeking. And if I was tactically sensitive, and I was like, yeah, that's not going to work for me, then what does it look like when you're getting touched out things like that? This is where, again, things like the SNOO get a bad rap. I'm like, well, if that vestibular input from a bassinet that the SNOO can give, saves that parent's mental health and their regulation, because they aren't having to provide that vestibular input on repeat for a child who's craving it that much, then that's a win for me, right? And like - 


01:05:15    Victoria

Yep, no bad tools. I often say there are no bad tools. Well, I don't know, does your two -year -old have a circular saw that I might draw my line there, Alyssa. But outside of that, there's no bad tools. A tool that we use too much can have impacts, right? If your baby is in a SNOO 100 % of the time, they do not have a chance to develop their muscles in the way that they will need to for nice oral development. They may be at risk for a flat spot, which by the way does not come from laying on a surface, 


01:05:46    Alyssa

But that's going to happen in whatever you're looking at, right? 


01:05:49    Victoria

It comes from not using their muscles, right? So like any tool that we use to an extreme can be overused, but there's just no bad tools in birth intervention, in how we feed babies, in how we rear our kids. I was joking earlier about my Montessori iPad, that my kid's tablet, in my opinion, my daughter's disabled, and so she cannot move through, she's physically disabled, so she's not moved through the environment in the same way that other kids do. And I believe very deeply in the wisdom of Maria Montessori's follow the child, and her sense of the prepared environment. And so on my child's tablet, I have a prepared environment and my child will repeatedly do a task that she wants to do. She'll actually send me out of the room so that I don't help her because she knows that I get frustrated with her dysregulation and will try and intervene. So she'll actually send me away and work on that task repetitively. And when she gets too frustrated, will move to her Daniel Tiger app that plays the Daniel Tiger songs and watch the songs about being frustrated, down -regulate and try again. 


01:07:05    Alyssa



01:07:06    Victoria

There is her Montessori peace corner. There is her prepared environment. There is her work that she has autonomously selected. And it looks absolutely nothing like anyone would ever expect Montessori to look like. 


01:07:23    Alyssa



01:07:23    Victoria

Because that tool is not bad. 


01:07:25    Alyssa



01:07:26    Victoria

That tablet is not bad. 


01:07:28    Alyssa



01:07:29    Victoria

Because there are no bad tools. 


01:07:34    Alyssa

Yeah. And I think like when we're looking at this, so much of it, and you mentioned this a little bit ago is the like, you know, I envision this and I'm going to nurse until six months and then do like solids, blah, blah, blah, whatever you're like envisioning. I think the greatest, most powerful work we can do is to sit there and say why, right? To get curious with ourselves and say, what does this mean to me, about me? What if I can't breastfeed? What if my baby doesn't take a bottle? What if every single, maybe I'm envisioning baby led weaning and they start to gag and I start to feel nervous and it is a stressful time every time we're feeding. What if these things happen? And then getting curious with ourselves about what does this mean to me and about me? Because that I think can lead us to the like, what's actually driving me to choose this? What is it that makes this feel really important to me? And I think when we can get really down and dirty with that, then we can allow the curiosity in parenthood to allow these humans to unfold as they are, to allow our parenting journey to unfold as it will without us being like, no, I envisioned this thing. We are all going to be wearing matching outfits at Christmas and I don't care if I'm going to have a two -week -old And I'm going to be a disaster in whatever we're having freaking matching outfits on, right? Like if that's the thing for me to be able to sit and be like, huh, what's coming up here, Lyss? Like what, what feels really important about that? And when I can really get honest with myself about like what feels really important about that, then I can do some real work. And I think that not just for feeding, not just for birth, not just for feeding, but for parenthood in general, uh, is the greatest work that I do, like the most impactful work that I do. And it's constant because I constantly, we all have expectations at any given moment and things we're envisioning at any given moment. And when we aren't aware of them and we can't call ourselves in and say, huh, let's get curious about this. Then we find ourselves like doubling down or burning out or feeling like we're failing when we're just living. 


01:09:59    Victoria

Mm -hmm. Yep. You will laugh at a category that my, or a paradigm my spouse and I have created. We like putting things in categories, which is the tableau to bullshit ratio. So like when we do an activity, like going to like the pumpkin patch, it's like the tableau, like what goes on Instagram, the like beautiful moment where everyone's in their overalls and throwing corn in the air and like having a great time to like, how many tantrums did take to get there? We accidentally ordered the sandwiches to the location in South Carolina. Someone screamed in the car the whole way. And when we get to the end of a trip, or we get to the end of an activity, or we get to the end of something that we really wanted, that we had an expectation about, we're like, okay, where were we on the tableau to bullshit ratio? Was the bullshit worth the tableau? 


01:10:49    Alyssa

Well, and that's it. Because for me, it's about what's my actual lived experience of this. And we have learned for ourselves, especially with Sage's nervous system, I'm way more social than my husband and child desire to be. And so I would love to like, yeah, let's go over and have brunch at Francesca and Hill's house, let's do whatever. And I have learned that actually my lived experience with my family, when we do all things that feel easy for me to do aren't enjoyable and I don't have a good time then. Versus, yeah, we're going to have a slow morning. He's going to play in his playroom and we're going to hang and whatever. And then in the afternoon, we'll go and do a thing. But if I pack it in the morning and in the afternoon, then at some point throughout that day, my lived experience of what I envisioned actually isn't fun, and I'm not having a good time. And so when I can really look at what's my lived experience versus what am I envisioning will be, it's totally different. I think that came in with feeding for me too, is that when I went in with, I don't think that babies nurse every two to three hours all the time. I think what felt intuitive to me was responsive. When I went in with that, then it helped me, I think, just be in experience but it hasn't been two hours. Why is he crying? What could it be? We did use an app that I did find really helpful because I couldn't keep track of any data in my head and I love data. 


01:12:31    Victoria

Yeah. I want an app with timestamps. 


01:12:34    Alyssa

That's what we used it for. 


01:12:35    Victoria

And qualitative data. 


01:12:38    Alyssa

Oh, love that. Yeah. 


01:12:39    Victoria

I just don't want the timers. I just want you to be able to be like, baby seemed really satiated at this time. I was in pain. I was not in pain. I felt like my chest was well softened. I felt really uncomfortable and engorged at two hours. That's the information actually. It's able to assess how the feeding went, not how long it was. 


01:13:02    Alyssa

And that's kind of how we used the app was like, I could say, all right, is he maybe hungry or tired? Oh, he hasn't napped in an hour and a half. He's probably tired. He nursed to sleep usually anyway, but it would then be like, okay, I know as this sensory sensitive human, I'm gonna go nurse him in his room where I can lay him down in this crib because that's where he's gonna sleep best versus I'm gonna nurse him out here in the living room and he will stare at that light until he's in a dark room and just get more and more tired and then be overtired and then be a real bear. Versus I'm just going to nurse him in his room where it's dark and supports his nervous system and then he'll go to sleep and I can lay him down. And so like for me, it was just informative on like those sorts of things. But it was a tool that I found very helpful. Oh, we could do this forever. 


01:13:53    Victoria

Can we have a follow up once this baby's born? 


01:13:56    Alyssa

Yeah, let's do it. Let's do it. 


01:13:58    Victoria

I'm so curious to hear how she's different, how she's her own person, how the two of you puzzle together how she puzzles into your family. 


01:14:05    Alyssa

Same. And for the record, Sage is not going to be at the home birth unless something goes awry. He has expressed interest in not being here. He said, mama, it's going to hurt? And I was like, yeah, probably it hurt when you came out. And he was like, you're going to cry? And I was like, actually, when you came out, I screamed really loudly for a long time. And he was like, I not want to hear you scream. And I was like, it'll be loud. He was like, too loud. I'm like, totally. Do you want Nana to come pick you up? And then she can bring you back when I'm all done? He was like, yeah. 


01:14:40    Victoria

Does Nana have a circular saw? 


01:14:44    Alyssa

Not that she would ever let him near. That's for sure. Also for me, I think that for me to be in the space that works best for me for birthing, I can't have him here. 


01:14:57    Victoria

Yeah. I love that awareness. Okay. I want to say two more things before we go. 


01:15:02    Alyssa



01:15:03    Victoria

One, because you have a lot of teachers listening.  I just want to validate that teaching is the hardest job for pumping. 


01:15:11    Alyssa

Oh, yeah. 


01:15:12    Victoria

I have I have like thoughts and ideas on like the amazing in-bra cups we're starting to have. So if you're a teacher, like get thee to Be My Breast Friend and One With The Pump on Instagram and learn about like in bra cups and a pumpables pump that you can wear like a necklace, and pump with your clothes on. And also, if you don't want to pump while you are teaching and you-- like teaching is so important, and if you want, you deserve as much leave as, I would love to pay every teacher six figures to stay home.


01:15:49    Alyssa

100 %. Or to teach. 


01:15:50    Victoria

Definitely to teach. And it is incredible-- I have a friend who works in education advocacy, and she was like I just can't keep up with pumping and working and I was like, girl, the benefit to society of you going back to work is so much bigger than the benefit of that milk going into your kid. Like feel beyond free to make that choice. So I just like want to say, I see y'all out there, I see that your job is, I really do believe the hardest one--


01:16:20    Alyssa

It's exhausting. 


01:16:21    Victoria

To accommodate pumping-- 


01:16:22    Alyssa

And parenting for that matter, 


01:16:27    Victoria

--and you get to decide specifically around how you parent with your body while you are working. 


01:16:32    Alyssa



01:16:33    Victoria

Just like embolden you to choose whatever structure of that makes sense to you. And I love you. And I wish I could make it easier for you. And I just have to shout out school counselors. Because I'm on like a real school counselor bend right now, where I am just like, I am having an absolute field day getting to know my daughter's school counselor. And I just think school counselors are unsung heroes. So if you are out there and specifically miss Janine Harrell, I just am so endlessly grateful for school counselors. 


01:17:10    Alyssa

Rad, I love those shout outs. Those are two dope shout outs. Victoria, where can folks connect with you, follow you, learn more about your work and please repeat name of your book. 


01:17:19    Victoria

Yeah. So while you are out there buying Tiny Humans, big, big feelings? Emotions? I can never--


01:17:27    Alyssa

Emotions. That's fine. Whatever. Google anything like it. It'll show up. 


01:17:31    Victoria

Exactly tiny, big emotions, other stuff. Yep. Anywhere that books are sold anywhere that you find Alyssa's book, you'll also find mine Feed the Baby: An Inclusive Guide to Nursing, Bottle-Feeding, and Everything In Between. And then you can find me cutting up on my socials at Victoria Facelli, IBCLC. 


01:17:54    Alyssa

Perfect. Thank you so much for hanging out with me. 


01:17:57    Victoria

It was a blast. I can't wait to do it again. You finish shouting that book out everywhere, go on mat leave, and I'll see you after. 


01:18:04    Alyssa



01:18:06    Alyssa

Thanks for tuning in to Voices of Your Village. Check out the transcript at Did you know that we have a special community over on Instagram hanging out every day with more free content? Come join us at, S -E -W. Take a screenshot of you tuning in, share it on the gram and tag to let me know your key takeaway. If you're digging this podcast, make sure to subscribe so you don't miss an episode. We love collaborating with you to raise emotionally intelligent humans.


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