I began the breastfeeding journey with my daughter in 1980, and I didn’t have the help of a lactation consultant. There weren’t any. A lack of support and too much well-intentioned misinformation brought an early end to what ought to have been years of happy breastfeeding.
Of course, I now know that when a baby isn’t breastfeeding well, the answer is better breastfeeding, not bottles of formula.
My passion for teaching about breastfeeding was born out of my own breastfeeding experience. I founded N.Y. Nurse for New Mom and Newborn in 1986, a postpartum doula practice. I became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 1993 and as such, I began dedicating my time to lactation consulting.
I am a Registered Nurse, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from New York University. My clinical experience, at St. Luke’s Hospital, was in the Newborn Nursery, Labor & Delivery, and Postpartum departments. I have been a pediatric nurse in a private practice in Manhattan for more than 25 years and am proud to say that I am currently teaching my second generation of breast feeders.
The wisdom that I have acquired through experience is an invaluable tool, and I am thankful for all the breastfeeding mothers out there who taught me a thing or two. This wisdom is a combination of knowledge, experience, understanding, and tolerance for the uncertainties and ups and downs in life. It also requires awareness of the way in which experiences play out over time.
This combination gives a sense of balance, which allows me to remain calm in the face of difficult decisions because I am optimistic that problems can and will be solved. Psychologists agree that while intelligence is a part of wisdom, it isn’t sufficient alone without the ability to see the big picture and maintain a sense of proportion. (For more on wisdom see: www.psychologytoday.com/basics/wisdom)
When my daughter recently gave birth to my first grandchild, this combination of traits that I collectively call “wisdom” was needed in a more intense way than ever before. It can be very challenging for a first-time mother (or second- or third- or sixth-time mother) to find that tolerance for uncertainty and maintain that sense of calm and optimism that her breastfeeding challenges will be resolved. Helping my own family to meet those challenges and seeing my daughter and grandson thrive after a difficult start has furthered my dedication to the work that I love.
It would be my pleasure to share my breastfeeding wisdom with you.
—Paula Zindler, BSN, RN, IBCLC