The first time Aubri Lutz of Lutz Lactation witnessed a live birth in a nursing school clinical rotation, she was moved to tears. “The power and vulnerability displayed while birthing a baby completely wrecked me. [It’s] so sacred,” she said. Throughout her time as an RN in the NICU, she developed a particular interest in the enchanting relationship between mother and child. She dove headfirst into learning about new dynamic attachments, skin-to-skin, breastfeeding and everything in between.
She fully shifted to lactation after a medical mission trip in Uganda, where the lack of resources for breastfeeding mothers led her to realize that a mother’s body is the blueprint. Seeing the joy and confidence these mothers had, even when lacking technology or scheduling assistance, brought Lutz a sense of peace that she now sets out to help other mothers achieve.
KC: What does your role as an international board-certified lactation consultant look like?
AL: My main role as an IBCLC is to find out what the main feeding goal is, then help families be successful in meeting their goals and feeding their babies. I accomplish this through a background of the birth, then I evaluate a feeding and the latching process. I also do a full physical assessment of the mom’s breast anatomy and a full assessment of the baby. Often in maternal health, providers are either solely focused on mom or solely focused on baby. In the lactation space, it is unique in that I evaluate the dyad as a complete unit. It’s such an incredible opportunity to really do detective work and to help educate families.
KC: What is the importance of mothers having accessible information and assistance from lactation consultants?
AL: I think it is so important for moms to have accessible and equitable lactation care. The majority of families report struggling with breastfeeding. It’s the one thing that happens 8-12 times daily, and if it isn’t going well, that can really shape your postpartum experience. We know that breastfeeding is linked to numerous benefits — but when you are struggling multiple times a day, you need professional support. I think the third trimester is a great time for a prenatal breastfeeding consult with an IBCLC and a breastfeeding class, then scheduling follow-ups to check in on breastfeeding as well as a pumping consult to get you set up for a potential return to work.
KC: You have a large online audience where you share everything from quick tips to myths and beyond. How did you get started in the digital space, and why do you think you’ve been able to create such a successful online presence?
AL: I didn’t have a grand plan to make this huge educational Instagram page; I had a sweet friend tell me I should start one to just post my tips and education. I wasn’t an IBCLC at the time, so I was a little hesitant to just go for it. I really felt this push through my growing passion for lactation, and the more I prayed about it I decided I should do it.
I started in September 2018 and made my page a place where I shared all the things I wish I had known when navigating the early days of breastfeeding. I remember celebrating when I had 100 followers and thinking, “Wow, I love that so many moms trust me.” Even now, five years and over 38k followers later, I share the exact same way. I’m talking to all my mom “Breasties.” I share facts, education, my personal life and even how my faith is deeply woven into my business. It’s such a beautiful community that’s been built. I think so many moms are looking for solidarity and encouragement to trust their instincts, and I’m just grateful they have found that on my page.
KC: What are some of the most common misconceptions about breastfeeding?
AL: I think many people think breastfeeding is natural and they will just figure it out. When I was a first-time mom, I assumed breastfeeding would work out just fine. However, it was not natural and was so much more complicated than I anticipated. I also think many moms worry they have low supply but that is actually not super common. Often it’s not enough education and common pitfalls that interfere with milk removal and lower supply.
KC: Most rewarding aspects of your job? Most challenging?
AL: The most rewarding aspect is without a doubt helping moms find joy in feeding their babies postpartum. Helping moms trust their bodies brings them so much relief and confidence. I will never tire of seeing moms believe in themselves and stepping bodily into their new postpartum body and journey.
The hardest part is that sometimes the answer isn’t straightforward. Sometimes it takes true detective work to find the root problem in each dyad. It might mean that we are waiting on lab work or a procedure for the baby before things improve with breastfeeding. Those are tough days, because I wish I could wave a magic wand and fix breastfeeding instantly. But that’s not an option, so instead I sit with the mom when she is overwhelmed in tears. Sometimes it means I hold a fussy baby a little longer for mom to catch her breath or take a break. I try to be present for the hard moments, and remind families they will celebrate joyful moments again.