Melenie Duval

Nighttime Nanny & Lactation Consultant

Tree of Life Doula Care

Call 503-789-6900
Email treeoflifedoula.melenie@gmail.com
Website facebook.com/treeoflifedoulacare

Who do you work with?

“I have the pleasure of working with a variety of families during the postpartum period including first time parents, adoptive parents, and experience families who may be welcoming their second or even fifth baby!”

What do you do for them?

“It depends on the needs of the family. I have had the distinct pleasure of working with new families for the last 22 years mostly as a lactation counselor/consultant. I have learned so much from every family! With a variety of breastfeeding experiences, each family has not only taught me more about the breastfeeding experience, but has left a permanent imprint on my heart. Starting with education during their pregnancy regarding their personal breastfeeding goals and desires. Perhaps the family is adopting a baby or having a surrogate deliver their baby, We can discuss if hormone therapy during the pregnancy can help with lactation. Options such as donor milk and colostrum are available for families breastfeeding their adopted or surrogate born baby. We can talk about their hopes and desires for feeding and all of the options available. I assist families throughout their feeding experience from birth to weaning whenever that happens. As a nighttime nanny I have the distinct pleasure of supporting the entire family during the sleeping hours. From the moment I arrive, I'm active, alert and ready to help. I can assist a family with breastfeeding, formula feeding, creating a positive nighttime routine and I'm always happy to help with quiet chores such as dishes, laundry and dusting. While I would say that I do not sleep train babies or families, my goal is to help a family maximize their sleep and create a conducive environment to help babies fall in to their cicadian sleep cycle.”

Why do you do what you do, particularly as it relates to surrogacy/growing families? 

“For families welcoming their baby via surrogacy, I am happy to assist them in their breastfeeding endeavors. Whether that includes inducing milk supply (which is possible even without having ever been pregnant!) or their choice to feed their babies at the breast with the help of formula and/or donor breast milk. Many new parents are unaware that breastfeeding is an option! With support many mothers can produce some breast milk regardless of whether or not they have been pregnant recently or any time in the past. Supplementation at the breast is becoming more common with the use of lactation aids making it possible for many families to feed their babies at the breast from the very start. Working with an experienced lactation consultant is key for success.”

What is your favorite part of your job?  

“Working with new families is my passion! It is the very thing that feeds my soul and every family holds a special place in my heart. Seeing a family reach their goals and gain confidence in parenting their new baby warms my heart and drives everything else that I do.”

What is your favorite memory or story from working at your job? 

“I recently had an adoptive mom contact me to assist with breastfeeding her baby. She had partially breastfed her older child whom was adopted as well, While she felt this was a positive experience, she had not met her breastfeeding goals. She had been preparing for her second baby for more than a year and each adoption fell through for various reasons. He arrived with an unexpected phone call and if they were interested, they could pick him up immediately from the hospital where he had been born just the day before. The family was ecstatic but felt unprepared for breastfeeding. In conjunction with her doctor, she began taking medication and hormones to induce lactation. When I met them, baby was just a few days old and while eager to go to the breast, mom was struggling using the lactation aid and her nipples were very sore. We discussed all feeding options and supplemental aids and decided on one that would flow without much work from baby. We discussed pumping as mom could see colostrum leaking from the breast and were able to get mom started. In addition, I referred baby for an evaluation of his tongue and oral motor skills. This revealed a tongue tie making it difficult for baby to create the seal and vacuum needed for successful breastfeeding. With a revision in place, mom pumping several times a day and a new lactation aid, mom began feeding at the breast consistently when the baby was 10 days old. Her supply increased with stimulation at the breast and her need for donor milk/formula decreased. Within a few weeks baby was taking nearly every feed at the breast and mom was producing some breast milk. By the time he was two months old, every feeding occurred at the breast and mom and baby are thriving and breastfeeding six months later with the help of continued medications and supplementing at the breast!”

How do people get in touch with you/start working with you?

"For families in SW Montana, I am available for in person visits and consultations as well as nighttime nanny services. And for families outside our service area, I can now be reached via technology and I even do distance consultations and visits! Feel free to contact me via email or phone or even through our Facebook page at Tree of Life Doula Care."

If you’d like more information on Tree of Life Doula Care, give them a call at 503-789-6900 or visit their website at facebook.com/treeoflifedoulacare.