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Exploring Life & Business with Cara Riek of Arizona Breastfeeding Medicine and Wellness

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cara Riek. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Our story started in November of 2015 with a dynamic group of La Leche League leaders wanting to provide evidence-based breastfeeding care to families in the Valley of the Sun. Dr. Cara Riek started to realize this dream by becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2015. Cara was (and still is) very involved in volunteer breastfeeding support and has spent much time working to educate healthcare providers on the need for lactation-specific skills. With the loving help and inspiration of Rene Moore and Carol Kidd the vision of opening a centralized office that focuses specifically on breastfeeding medicine and holistic care of the mother/baby dyad came to be.

Arizona Breastfeeding Medicine and Wellness was founded in September of 2016 by Dr. Cara with the help of her supportive husband Brian to further expand the scope of care to help families with their feeding needs.

Cara’s journey into lactation began nearly 14 years ago with the birth of her son. She was a high school math teacher trying to inspire children to learn. With her son’s birth, the one thing that mattered to her was to be able to breastfeed him. Breastfeeding would be the single most difficult journey of her life. Lots of pain. Crack bleeding nipples. Lots of tears. Cara was determined not to give up. It was through her struggles with him that made her to leave her teaching position to attend nursing school with the only intention of having a breastfeeding clinic. Little did she know what this meant or what this would turn into. Along the way, she and her husband learned that their son was tongue-tied and this is which led her to delve so deep into restrictive oral tissues.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Our biggest struggle has been acceptance into the medical community. We are a breastfeeding medicine clinic and for many providers, they have never heard of breastfeeding medicine as a practice. There are MANY amazing providers in our community, but breastfeeding is not always touched upon in medical school. We strive to help give context to breastfeeding struggles to make sure families are heard, supported, and accepted.

We always meet families where they are at. Breastfeeding does not have to be an all or nothing activity. Breastfeeding can look very different for each family and/or circumstance.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your business?
Our cozy office has both a Family Nurse Practitioner and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs), providing counseling on common issues with latch, positioning, milk production, and infant cues, while also allowing us to care for all of your additional challenges: we can order and read blood work to seek answers to low milk supply; prescribe medication for mastitis and thrush if needed; provide rental breast pumps; perform CO2 laser tongue- and lip-tie revisions; and counsel on feeding therapy. We are here to meet families where they are and help families along their breastfeeding journey.

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?
As we are a medical practice, I would suspect that we will continue to grow with the needs of the community. There is an obvious shift in culture to support breastfeeding families. Our hope is that we are continued to be accepted and help families to meet their feeding goals.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Pictures by Colleen Adams

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