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Calani Lactation Services is founded in, nourished by and committed in spirit and person to the beautiful city of Knoxville, TN and it’s people. Calani was started with a vision to apply my breastfeeding experience and knowledge in a way that would have maximum, positive impact in my local community while allowing me the freedom to practice my profession ‘in the field’ instead of the office and at a pace and style that suits me.
I’ve lived most of my formative years in East Tennessee, growing up in Cleveland, TN. My personal life experiences along with my education helped to define the path that led me toward becoming a lactation consultant and breastfeeding advocate for mothers in this area. I have been privileged to have the opportunity to play a role in helping many new mothers find community, and enjoy success in their individual breastfeeding journeys.
I’d like to share a bit of my background which eventually culminated in my starting Calani Lactation Services. I graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Tennessee with a B.Sc. degree in Human Ecology specialized in Child Development. After graduating I spent several years teaching in both Montessori and Waldorf schools. It was during this time I began having children of my own. In 2008 after the birth of my second child, I began working as a breastfeeding peer counselor within the Women, Infants, and Children program. This position involved providing mother to mother support and encouragement to both breastfeeding and prenatal mothers. During this time, I completed the hours and competencies necessary to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
It was the birth of my own children and the amazing bond established while breastfeeding that drew me into the field of lactation. I enjoyed breastfeeding, babywearing, and also made lifelong friends through a variety of mommy/baby play and support groups during this time in my life. Nursing a baby with tongue tie while having the support of a close friend and breastfeeding advocate helped me to realize the vital role a good support system can play while nursing. I nursed all three of my children, Caleb, Caitlyn, and Ani. They were the inspiration behind the name, Calani.
I began working as a lactation consultant for a free standing birth center in October 2011 which included a breastfeeding center and accepted the position as The Director of the Breastfeeding Center in 2013 where I worked until 2016. This experience more than any other developed my skills in managing more complex breastfeeding concerns such as nipple trauma, low milk supply, nursing multiples, yeast, mastitis, and re-lactating or inducing lactation(for an adopted infant). I also enrolled in continuing education which helped develop my skills in evaluating infants for tongue and lip-tie. I am so pleased to have established a community based referral system for infants in need of oral evaluation for possible frenotomy. In September 2016, I started Calani Lactation Services and am truly enjoying my role as a home visiting lactation consultant.
In 2010, I worked closely with the Knox County WIC director to begin the breastfeeding support group, Knox Breastfriends. This group in my opinion plays a role in breastfeeding success of women in Knoxville by providing mother to mother support 24 hours a day. I think having that “village” of support can often be the difference for women when they are struggling with nursing. I love our monthly meetings when mamas come together to give encouragement and spend time together. This group has provided an invaluable resource for support and encouragement for breastfeeding moms in the Knoxville area. The group meets twice a month and has over 2,000 members within the private Facebook page. (See the Breastfeeding Resources Page for information on this group)
My mission is for every mother and baby to feel supported and empowered during their breastfeeding journey. I would truly love for every mother to experience the joy and bond of nursing her baby.
My goal is to provide care that accommodates each mother’s needs while giving the family the opportunity to grow and learn together.