Kellie Eason is a passionate, caring Lactation Consultant with over two decades of experience as a former Nurse and Midwife, and as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She is passionate about sharing her wealth of knowledge and is dedicated to helping new mums and dads reach their parenting goals. Offering prenatal parent preparation, feeding, parenting and sleep support, at MILK early parenting support you will feel heard and supported, with comprehensive assessments tailored to your needs, along with education and planning to ensure success on your parenting journey. Here Kellie talks to The Natural Parent Magazine about the inspiration behind her business, the challenges she has overcome and her hopes and dreams for the future.
The passion: What inspired you to set up your business?
I grew up with a natural affinity and passion towards all things related to motherhood, family, pregnancy, birth and children. My grandmother was a Doula in Italy in the 1920s, so I think I was naturally born into supporting families with babies.
My journey led me into Nursing & Midwifery, then eventually to becoming a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). I worked within mainstream healthcare for 20 years and three years prior, had started MILK early parenting support.
In my time, I have also completed other university-based courses in early parenting, holistic maternal-infant-family health, development, psychology, infant sleep and Paediatric Oral Myofunctional therapy (suck training), infant bodywork, etc. I also worked for a few years as an IBCLC in dental surgeries providing high volume surgeries for lip and tongue tie release – which is what led me towards learning and managing more complex infant feeding issues where infant neuro-dysregulation, suck dysfunction, feeding refusal, fussiness and infant sleep-related issues are often seen.
I always knew that I wanted to work independently, but felt it important to ensure I had a well-rounded career of experience, knowledge and learnings to offer families. When it came to the end of my Nursing and Midwifery career, I knew that I was unable to remain true to my innermost passion and values in supporting families the way that they need – so I left mainstream healthcare in 2014. So this is where MILK early parenting support was born.
MILK stands for ‘Moments of Intimacy Love and Kinship’. This couldn’t be truer of what our business stands for. We support families from the prenatal period to baby’s first birthday.
Using a holistic family-centred approach, I use my diverse skills to support families during the prenatal period to prepare for birth, life with baby and breastfeeding. I support families after birth with a focus on empowering organic parent-infant connections, as well as providing gentle holistic breastfeeding, lactation and infant sleep support.
A lot of mums that I see have post-birth depletion and I consequently see a lot of babies with neuro-behavioural dysregulation (i.e. fussiness, settling difficulties). I provide a lot of support for this through dietary supplementation and neuroregulation therapies, which can easily be taught to parents for self and baby care.
Adoptive breastfeeding, induced lactation and use of infant bodywork and oral myofunctional therapies to support infant feeding issues are areas of special interest of mine as well. I work in collaboration with a great team of complementary health practitioners who are able to exert their therapies alongside mine for maximal benefits for families who are in need.
The launch: How did you start out in the beginning?
I first started supporting families alongside my regular job as a Nurse and Midwife. It was quite easy, because I love supporting families and meeting new people from all different kinds of backgrounds.
Working out all of the logistics involved in owning your own business, like getting my name out there, registering our business name, insurances, fees, healthcare practice software, networking – these were all new experiences, which was both exciting and challenging at the same time.
There is no manual to support you to start your own business, but working it out through establishing your business was a deep and lengthy learning curve.
The innovation: What was the biggest breakthrough for you with your business?
For me, the biggest breakthrough is when families recommend me to others and I have found out that the community knows who I am. This is the biggest complement, because to me, it tells me that I am recognised as trustworthy and able to serve others’ needs in the best way possible.
It’s absolutely amazing to empower families prenatally through parent and breastfeeding prep and then to hear of their journey afterwards.
The ultimate breakthrough is when you support families who are going through a hard time and then they turn the corner and no longer need you. It’s interesting because you want them to reach that point where they no longer need you, but then you miss them because you have formed such great relationships with them. The beauty is that they always know they can come back to me for any questions or support they need with their baby and future babies, which is great. I love our little MILK early parenting support village! To know that it was me that started the business, words can’t explain how privileged I feel to know that these wonderful families entrust their care with me.
Yin and Yang: How do you balance work and family?
This is the most challenging of all.
My family has had to make many sacrifices in order for MILK early parenting support to function. If it wasn’t for my husband Neil’s support, I honestly couldn’t do this. This has meant missed outings, getting phone calls 24/7, and missing out on family time for many years.
Now that we have been in business for 11 years, I am having to put more barriers in place between family and work, so I am narrowing my clientele so that MILK is more bespoke than ever. This gives me the time that I want to spend with my family and give them the parts of me that they need and I want to give.