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Balanced Breastfeeding. IRL.

In real life, not screen life, the Balanced Breastfeeding community is a real thing. We know and love each other. We have become lifelong friends. We laugh and cry and grow as humans.

We are real people in the little state of Delaware with an IRL amazing network of Women’s Health Specialists.

IRL, I, Katie Madden, RN, IBCLC see lots and lots of mamas and babies every week. I only recently made myself some clones by training Gwynne Borsello, RN, IBCLC and Corinne Daut, RN, IBCLC from scratch. They are really good.

IRL Balanced Breastfeeding has what we like to call a “Wolf Pack” of badass Women’s Health Care professionals: Dr. Jessica Apel OB/GYN; Nicole Black, CNM; Malina Spirito, PsyD specializing in PMADS; Elizabeth Napolin, LMHP cognitive behavior therapist; Anne Duch, Women’s Health Physical Therapist, to name just a few. They are “Delaware famous” for being the best of the best, not just in skill, but in their passion for their work and their compassion for their women.

IRL, Katie Madden is living her purpose and doing her life’s work by building and maintaining the Balanced Breastfeeding community. It is her unique brilliance and her passion. She can’t not spread the message: breastfeeding must be safe, realistic, and kind.

IRL we teach in-person classes all the time. Breastfeeding Basics, Back to Workshop, What’s Next workshop, and Weaning Workshop are all versions of programs we offer live and in person. The online classes were born from offering these classes dozens of times in person first.

IRL 20+ mamas with their babies and sometimes bottles and pumps in tow climb up two steep flights of stairs to breastfeeding support group every Friday. We share and laugh and cry and learn. Every week is powerful. It is my favorite part of my week IRL.

IRL I watch women grow into mothers. I am in it with them. I love their babies and snuggle them a lot. (Jealous? You should be.)

IRL I work with women who tirelessly worked for months to make breastfeeding work. Some get there, some don’t, but IRL I make the hard decision with women to stop breastfeeding when it is in her or the baby’s best interest. I see her through it. I see her after it.

I created Balanced Breastfeeding in 2013 on a computer screen first as a sounding board for my loud-mouthed opinions. At the height of the Baby Friendly Hospital debacle not just in our state, but in places around the world, I didn’t like what I was seeing. I didn’t like broken shells of women with crying, underfed babies walking into my office. I gently picked up the pieces, but I was getting more and more angry. When I get angry, I start formulating solutions. My solution is better education.

The more I educated about appropriate use of breastfeeding tools, the better I felt and the better moms felt about breastfeeding.

You know, like how I say, “Breastfeeding tools rock”? And then I am sure to mention, “No, you shouldn’t feel guilty for using a tool. That’s why we have thumbs.”

I seemed to be able to make mamas feel better IRL, so I tried to get those “lessons” I taught them down on paper. I wanted to tell all the mamas of the world:

“Breastfeeding is hard!!!”

“No, breastfeeding isn’t natural! It’s learned!”

“Of course you feel like you don’t know what you are doing! You’ve never done it before!”

“Pain isn’t normal!”

“You matter!! A lot!!”

So I did. Then I started changing the IRL prenatal breastfeeding class to include practical information about safe and strategic supplementation. Then I realized there was zero information on working and pumping, so I made Pumpin’ Mamas Blueprint. Then I realized moms felt sad and conflicted about weaning, so I made a program for that. Then solids. Then What’s Next workshop. And I blogged every week. I was creating solutions, with humor and flexibility and life lessons I had personally just learned the year prior.

Balanced Breastfeeding is honest and raw. It is funny and friendly. It is passionate and inclusive.

It is safe. It is realistic. It is kind.

If you can’t be with us IRL in Delaware, be with us online at BalancedBreastfeeding.com