Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathleen F. McCue.
Hi Kathleen F., can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
It all started in 1987, while working as an office nurse, in a pediatric practice. I very clearly saw the constant need for new mothers to get help with breastfeeding. Women needed help with latching, pumping, infant care, and specialized advice. One evening, I asked a local lactation consultant if I could accompany our patient to her visit; she agreed to allow me to be present for a fee. In retrospect, it was the best $50 I ever spent. I came away with a new perspective on how I could help new mothers but also realized I needed a lot more training, to become board-certified in lactation. After two years, a lot of studying, and hundreds of clinical hours, I was ready to sit for boards to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I obviously passed and have now been practicing for over thirty years.
I was so inspired, that I then worked to become a registered nurse and ultimately, a family nurse practitioner. In 2016, I received my doctorate in nursing. Along the way, I started Metropolitan Breastfeeding and it has grown exponentially. We now work from three offices (two in Maryland and one in VA) and have 15 consultants.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
There’s a saying that “a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor,” and I certainly agree with that. The pandemic was a real test for me as a small, woman-owned business. Many of my consultants needed to stay at home with their children, to home-school them, while others were understandably afraid to leave their homes to see people. Patients weren’t so keen on either coming to an office, or having a stranger visit their homes. Large insurance companies were not reimbursing adequate amounts for telehealth and I was very tempted to close the doors permanently. However, I felt an incredible responsibility to other women experiencing breastfeeding problems and after six weeks, donned full PPE and returned to the office. I never looked back, hired the most experienced and dedicated team I’ve ever had, and am proud to say we’re doing exceptionally well. Women rewarded our dedication by placing their trust in us and I’m incredibly grateful
We’ve been impressed with Metropolitan Breastfeeding, LLC, but for folks who might not be as familiar, what can you share with them about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Patients are our number one priority and we go the extra mile to make sure women meet their personal goals. As a nurse practitioner, I can diagnose and prescribe for patients. So, if a mom calls with a mastitis or low milk supply, we have more and better treatment options. The majority of our consultants are both registered nurses and board-certified lactation consultants, that alone sets us apart. All of the women working with Metropolitan Breastfeeding are incredibly passionate about helping other women. At the end of the day, we spend about an hour, as a team, reviewing care plans to make sure we’ve given the best advice.
One of our specialties, is increasing maternal low milk supply and inducing lactation. My doctoral research focused on lesbian couples and inducing lactation in the non-biological partner (the one not pregnant) prior to her partner giving birth. I then studied how women share the responsibility of nursing.
Most of our days focus on teaching breastfeeding positioning, calming techniques, latching, burping, holding, and plain ole basic infant care. Women come in both before they deliver and also any point along the way after they deliver. We fit women for bras, size flanges (for pumping) and also can show them the latest products on the market. We rent hospital-grade pumps and scales, which help us work on babies with low weight gain. We see families in our offices, as well as in their homes. Since the pandemic, we are also seeing many women via telehealth.
I am also the proud owner of Littlebeam Pillow Company, which manufactures a small, sturdy breastfeeding pillow (www.littlebeam.com) in the USA and am co-owner of Metropolitan Doulas, LLC which places post-partum doulas in homes (www.metropolitandoulas.com) for scheduled blocks of time, full 24-hour days or just overnights.
In terms of your work and the industry, what are some of the changes you are expecting to see over the next five to ten years?
More and more, I see partners (mostly, who identify as fathers) being very helpful with day-to-day responsibilities, and therefore offering women strong support. Over the past 48 years of my career as a nurse, I would say that is the biggest change. The support role was classically filled by a grandmother, aunt or professional nanny but the men are now stepping up and doing quite well.
The ability we have to research problems on the internet, seek solid advice and get support online is another big change that simply wasn’t available when I first started working in lactation.
Many companies are now offering better leave options for BOTH parents as well as in-house lactation rooms. Slowly but surely, women are beginning to make small strides.
In the future, it is my hope, that postpartum women will be given more flexibility and paid time-off from employment. I already see many big companies recognizing the importance of offering better benefits, to support families. Hopefully, as a country, we will further embrace and value the importance of motherhood.
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: www.metropolitanbreastfeeding.com
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Logos by Erin McCue