Opening Milk and Honey Breastfeeding and Postpartum Support Center is a dream that was a long time coming for co-owners Nina Isaac and Crissi Blake. The women met 15 years ago, after Isaac’s first child was born. “My baby was colicky and Crissi taught infant massage,” says Isaac. “It was something I could do with my baby and it empowered me as a mom.” Although their paths crossed occasionally over the years, it wasn’t until Isaac was doing an internship in lactation at University Medical Center, where Blake worked as a registered nurse in the postpartum unit, that the two realized that they shared the same dream. “Crissi was about to sit for her lactation consultant exam, and I told her to call me when she was done. The rest is history,” says Isaac.
Blake and Isaac are both internationally board certified lactation consultants. Isaac’s background as a speech-language pathologist also ties in to working with mothers and babies. “Interestingly enough,” she explains, “speech pathologists work with feeding and swallowing. So, I get to use both of my skill sets. “With our combined expertise, we can do tongue-tie diagnoses and work with babies that have suck issues and issues with gaining weight. We can also work with babies with special needs when mom wants to breastfeed, help women resume lactation or induce lactation, and even help moms come up with a pumping schedule,” says Isaac.
Although Milk and Honey has been providing consulting services for several years, Isaac and Blake wanted a building where consultations and classes could take place. A successful crowdfunding campaign made that possible. “The response from the community has been pretty overwhelming,” says Blake. “Not only from people who want to come and have individual consultations, or take classes or be part of the support group, but also from people who want to be a part of this. People who want to volunteer and help.”
Searching for a name for the business, Isaac looked to her Jewish background. “Israel is the land of milk and honey, and it means abundance and richness. It’s also equated to enjoyment. A woman’s body is just that: It is rich and abundant and very capable of sustaining life. Our job is to empower and nurture the mom [so] she will be able to have an enjoyable breastfeeding relationship with her baby and also feel empowered that her body sustains life.”
Located at 3844 E. Pima St., Milk and Honey offers free support groups, nutritional therapy for mothers, psychotherapy, and a variety of classes including infant massage, baby signing, birthing and prenatal breastfeeding, along with lactation consultations and feeding therapy. Some insurance plans are accepted for lactation consultations and feeding therapies. For more information, call 477-7752 or visit milkandhoneytucson.com.
Laura Wilson Etter is a freelance journalist, grant writer and artist in Tucson.