I am a mother, social worker, therapist and lactation counselor. I never envisioned that lactation would become such a major aspect of my life following the birth of my daughter in 2017. The books I read throughout pregnancy made breastfeeding look relatively easy. By no means did it look comfortable; but it certainly looked relatively easy. Latch the baby on after birth and life goes on. Simple… Simple was not my story – I will spare the details for now. Let’s just say that I focused on one hour at a time in addition to living my life in three-hour increments. We were the little engine that struggled for a variety of reasons.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendation1 of exclusive breastfeeding for six months was a stretch. The continuation of breastfeeding for one year or longer was indeed asking too much of me at that time. I would have laughed if I knew then that I would still be breastfeeding three years later! Yes, three years and counting! There is no foreseeable end in sight and my little one is living up to the meaning of her name – one who succeeds.
I bring the above experience with me in the lactation work that I do with parents. “Have you ever done this?” is the question that I am almost always asked by those experiencing challenges early on. Being able to say “absolutely” makes me proud. I get it – been there and still doing it!! My testimony is proof that the journey may not mimic the textbook. And guess what? It is ok!
My name is Salimah (she/her/hers). I am a Certified Lactation Counselor (CLC) and I run MaziwaTribe. Maziwa Tribe is a safe space that provides breast / chestfeeding support and brings attention to maternal mental health matters. My interest in lactation came following the birth of my daughter in 2017. Stay tuned because I plan to chronicle our journey in a future blog.
I am also a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) specializing in individual, family and group therapy. I have provided counseling in a variety of settings including private practice, in-home, hospital inpatient / outpatient psychiatry, collegiate and various community environments. I work with adolescents, adults and families. Mental health is a career switch from the corporate arena (most thought I was absolutely insane). In my past life I worked as a Packaging Engineer for a number of years with several major consumer products companies. Navigating corporate spaces taught me the importance pursuing my passion and taking charge of my personal happiness. I exited the corporate world almost 10 years ago and I haven’t looked back.
I ventured into private practice in 2014 and established S.N. Turner and Associates (SNTA). Maziwa Tribe, the extension of SNTA that offers lactation support, was born in 2018. Its purpose is to inspire parents to embrace their breast / chestfeeding journey through empowerment, education and support. Maziwa Tribe operates under the mantra that parents have the power to choose how to approach their breast / chestfeeding journey. Of course the integration of mental health, self-care and overall wellness is at the core of Maziwa Tribe.
Motherhood was a major life transition and I had no idea that it would bring forth Maziwa Tribe. During the first year of motherhood I reflected heavily on my journey and the things that I needed along the way. I am excited to bring my personal experience to Maziwa Tribe because it allows me to continuously walk in my purpose. This blog will detail some of my personal breastfeeding / motherhood experiences (I am human) sprinkled with motivation (this is a must) and evidence-based information (I am not a layperson with a laptop and an opinion). My professional life and my personal life have collided and this is the final outcome. Mental health, motherhood and breastfeeding is a way of life for me and I invite you to join me along this journey.