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Organic Southerner brings lactation, nutrition education to forefront

When McKale Fleming first opened the Organic Southerner in July, she saw an opportunity to help the community’s experience with  health and wellness. Whether it be nutrition, overall health, or lactation related, her goal has been to show people how these can work with one another to provide for a healthy family.
Upon opening, she made it her mission to ensure everyone who entered feel comfortable talking about their health, and how when brought into alignment, they could have a positive impact.
Fleming works with a variety of individuals, especially new mothers who are in need of lactation support. Fleming works as a lactation consultant and helps mothers learn the importance of skin-to-skin contact with their newborn and helps with breastfeeding challenges such as latching their baby.
Typically mothers who have taken a class at the Organic Southerner or had a consult with Fleming prior to giving birth face less issues; this is because they know what to expect and are prepared for the upcoming journey.
“When you don’t know what your milk is supposed to be like, and it’s uncomfortable, you start to worry,” Fleming said.
But, Fleming is there to offer support. She doesn’t want any new mother to feel uncomfortable or have to question if the baby is getting enough proper nutrition.
The Organic Southerner offers classes covering birthing and what to expect when breastfeeding after birth. The classes also discuss some of the obstacles breastfeeding families may face after the birth.
“Ideally, we would like to see skin-to-skin contact immediately after the birth, so they [mother and baby] can normalize the baby’s blood sugars, temperature, and experience the first latch,” Fleming said.
Fleming said that the classes offered educate the mother and show her that it is okay to voice what she would like to happen during the birthing process. This includes delaying the bath and having skin-to-skin contact immediately.
Fleming does advocate for breastfeeding because human milk is the optimal nutrition for babies, and she understands that breastfeeding after returning to work or even pumping can be difficult, so she respects what is best for the family.
“I genuinely try to work within the family’s boundaries and I really respect that,” Fleming said.
Recently, Fleming has seen a lot of mothers begin with breastfeeding in the hospital and switch to pumping upon returning to work due to inadequate maternity leave. Fleming works to support these mothers by helping companies build a lactation room and assist co workers with understanding what the mother is going through and why it’s important to have time to pump during the work day.
“Some companies have not had to walk through that and see what it’s going to look like,” Fleming said.
The lifestyle changes at work are usually just the beginning of what a new mother may envision. Upon returning to work, she may also return to Fleming for nutrition advice or to hire her as a health coach.
“Babies and mothers who are breastfeeding typically become more aware of what they are putting into their bodies and how it will affect them,” she said.
This realization really makes Fleming’s business come full circle.
She will teach them about nutrition and then as a health coach give them a plan that can work for them to take home to their family.
“The difference in what we do here is the communication [we have],” Fleming said. “It’s very important to me that I leave space for that person to highlight their own strengths; it’s a partnership, it’s not me telling you what you’re doing wrong, it’s figuring out how we can improve things that fit each person’s lifestyle.”
Fleming also offers a variety of plant based vitamins and gummies to make sure her clients are getting everything they need nutrition wise. An example Fleming gave was a woman who was trying to get pregnant came in for a nutrition consult so her body would be the “ideal vessel” for the baby.
Fleming hopes these services help whoever may need them; it is not just for mothers, she offers nutrition education and health coaching to anyone. However, she does invite any mother who wants to weigh her baby to come visit the office at 408 S. West Street if they want to make sure the baby is gaining the proper amount of weight; they do not have to be a client.