Today we’d like to introduce you to Thaneshia Newby.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Thaneshia. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Breastfeeding was my first choice when I was pregnant with my first child 15 years ago, and as a mom of three breastfed children, I encourage others to breastfeed daily. Before becoming a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor — and now a Certified Lactation Consultant (CLC) — I encouraged family, friends, and strangers.
I am that person who would see an expectant mom in the grocery store, mall, bus stop — wherever! — and I have politely walked up, asked how she was doing, her due date, etc. and then I would ask if she was considering breastfeeding or bottle feeding. Based on her answers, I would just tell her the benefits of breastfeeding and share my experience as a breastfeeding mom. I honestly believe every BABY deserves the benefits of their mother’s milk and the bond breastfeeding creates. And in helping raise awareness, I love being a Peer Counselor, and a voice for mothers and babies especially those in the community I serve. I not only promote, educate, encourage and share the importance and benefits of breastfeeding to our expecting and breastfeeding moms, but I also let them know that I am their support person, I am a mother just like them, I was once a WIC client, and I listen to them. I am here to support them in their journey through breastfeeding and also I am here to assist them and have referrals for others needs they may have, that may not be offered through our program.
Sometimes, our clients come in with a whirlwind of things on their minds, and a friendly hello can make a difference. I’ve often had clients come in and just want to talk. They may initially express concern regarding breastfeeding but quickly change to another topic. It is at this point I am their support and I simply listen. once they’ve gotten their concerns out, now I have assessed their needs and can make the referral needed to help, or they simply say thanks for listening and “I feel better since I’ve talked to you.” I’m just trying to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud daily. I’ve noticed a lot of our clients have the same struggles and daily concerns with providing for themselves and their families. I let them know I too have had struggles as they do and had to make adjustments and sacrifices as a mom and to support and provide for my family as well. I started couponing as a stay at home mom and looking for employment. I often encourage our clients to do the same and tell them my strategy and how it works.
As an avid couponer still, I often see and get really great deals on diapers and wipes etc. and after having a slew of clients come in and ask if we had any diapers at our clinic, I started couponing once again specifically for them. I get diapers and bring them into the clinic, and the first few moms I see, I just bless them with a pack, I also keep some for emergency situations that may arise. Things happen, life happens, I just want them to be encouraged and know there are people who care, and resources available. I am here to support our moms and babies and our community.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
In the beginning, as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, I wanted to provide my clients with the best support and resources available. I was an experienced breastfeeding mom, I lacked the confidence in knowing if the clients would trust me and allow me to help and encourage them and if I would be able to help my agency achieve monthly goals. As the days and months passed, and as I began to see smiles on client’s faces, and to hear them say “oh thank you, I’m glad I talked to you”, or to get an all or a random client to stop in to see me and say: I just came by to tell you breastfeeding is going well, I’m glad you encouraged me” has built up my confidence. I think my professionalism, and as a peer counselor, a former WIC client and mother of three, I can relate to a lot my client’s concerns and obstacles and day to day routines.
Now, four years later, I come into the office with the thought “let’s get to it.” How can I encourage my clients today, I hope I can be a rainbow in someone’s cloud today. I have become more knowledgeable, received even more extensive training, and reached promotion to Certified Lactation Counselor. Three years later, I am more confident as a Lactation Professional, but people often tell me I’m much more, and that my clients are blessed to have me, I offer more than lactation Education, I try and help clients with other resources to help their families, as an avid couponer, I often share coupons and tell mothers where to go to get diapers, toiletries, etc. for every economical price/free. After getting asked by many mothers if we offered diapers in our program, I started buying diapers and will give them to the first moms I see. Honestly, if I see a need even outside of work, in the neighborhood or anywhere, I try and help.
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into Roseland Community Hospital WIC Program, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, CLC story. Tell us more about it.
As a WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor, I educate pregnant and breastfeeding moms on the importance and benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby. I absolutely love being a Lactation professional!!! I go into the office every day with a goal to make someone’s day brighter, and make a positive difference and promoting breastfeeding as a natural and normal way to feed your baby. Breastfeeding is not always easy, it’s commitment and a gift that lasts a lifetime. I also work as the assistant to my mentor, best friend, sister from another mother, Tytina Sanders-Bey, not only is she a CLC (Certified Lactation Counselor), is also a certified Doula/Birth worker, Infant Massues, she is the Owner of Better Birth and Breastfeeding in Color(non-profit) and Tytina’s Better Birth and Breastfeeding, where she provides prenatal/birth and breastfeeding support. This is only a fraction of the wonderful layers of her dedication and work in community enrichment. Tytinas is an amazing single mother of six amazing children and has dedicated most of her career to improving the community and helping mothers and babies. I am so humbled and blessed to work with her. She is definitely someone the world should know about.
Do you have a lesson or advice you’d like to share with young women just starting out?
For anyone starting a career as a Lactation professional, I would encourage them to listen, encourage and motivate your clients. I have come to realize we are more than Lactation professionals. As we push to promote breastfeeding as the most natural nutrition one can offer their baby, which helps improve their lives by lower risk factors against a mother developing certain cancers, and other setbacks. We are advocates for moms and babies. As we improve the lives of moms, babies, we are improving the family dynamics and communities as a whole.