So, “formula feeding consultants” don’t exist. It is a fictional label we have granted ourselves to succinctly summarize who we are and what we do. It’s not a certification, nor is it a college major. Contrary, we have been created, unintentionally, out of immense need and demand – our skills evolving and perfecting themselves over the course of the last 15 years.
We are Lauren and Shelia, a duo who quite some time ago began to recognize the devastation of the complete social and medical oversight of formula feeding caregivers and their formula fed babies. Formula feeding is about much more than a 2:1 ratio, shake, and feed. For some babies it will come very easy, but for others there will be a lot of questions about how to achieve the best feeding.
But alas, there are no formula feeding instructional books, trifold pamphlets, posters, classes, or support groups. Pediatricians often know very little about the mechanics of infant feeding, and while they staff lactation consultants to make up for their deficits in breastfeeding expertise, they provide no specially trained consultants for formula feeding families, who comprise the majority of the population.
So, think of us as the “lactation consultants” for the formula feeding population – we’re formula feeding consultants! We’re here to help you through the ups and downs of formula feeding, and answer all of your questions in a knowledgeable and caring way. We have formula fed all of our own children. Additionally, we have provided hands-on formula feeding (and breastfeeding) help to hundreds of families, many of them complicated cases. We know the formula market and its affiliated products from top to bottom. We can help you, one-on-one, in an educational, kind, “been-there,” supportive manner.
We don’t care about how or why a mother or other caregiver comes to formula feeding. Unless he or she wants to discuss it, it’s irrelevant.
We feel that the way in which formula feeding caregivers are dismissed and demeaned is wrong.
We also feel it is dangerous and that no information or misinformation harms babies.
We feel that knowledge is power.
Lauren Nicholas and her five children
Lauren is the founder of Formula Feeding Helpline, as well as an assistant professor and researcher in the field of social epidemiology. She obtained her PhD in 2013 and her unrelated work outside of the Helpline focuses on studying physician practices, access issues, and maternal screening protocol related to monochorionic twinning, twin-twin transfusion syndrome and twin anemia-polycythemia sequence. Lauren has been working hands-on with formula feeding caregivers since 2004. Though she will still take on the occasional in-person consultation, she now primarily assists via phone and email at Formula Feeding Helpline. Lauren has experience with unique cases such as high-order multiples, internationally adopted infants needing to transition to US formula, infants with multiple coexisting feeding issues, GERD, reflux, colic, malacias (laryngo, broncho, tracheo), MFPI, and others. There’s not too much that she hasn’t seen and navigated her way around! Lauren also specializes in assisting with formula supplementation and combination feeding.
Shelia has a background in surgical tech, but has been working in-home, providing hands-on infant feeding and sleep care, to clients for the past 20 years. She is a master of her craft and has worked with every scenario one could imagine. Shelia prides herself on her ability to help people so intimately, growing close with her clients and extending herself to help them in every way possible. She is thorough and a wealth of knowledge. Her skill set took decades to construct and she looks forward to sharing it with others. She specializes in the in the US infant formula market and feeding techniques. She is astutely aware of how every formula is uniquely constructed and thus how each one interacts differently with baby’s system. She is a master at making formula suggestions and finding the right formula for your baby. She can anticipate when a switch is needed and offer sound recommendations of what to try next, and why. While Shelia still works primarily hands-on, she does field phone and e-mail consultations for Formula Feeding Helpline on a regular basis. You can also find her at anewbornwaytosleep.com where she offers infant sleep care consultation services.