Natalie Marcus started her journey as a pediatric nurse at a high-risk facility. Once on the job, she saw firsthand the benefits of breastfeeding and grew passionate about educating her patients. Through a grant, she later started an award-winning baby program that supported patients throughout their pregnancy, birth, and finally, home with follow-up care.
Marcus started Maui Breastfeeding Support in 2015, while also working full time. It was a passion project at the time, visiting moms in their homes. A friend convinced her that she could make it a real business, and she took the leap and left her job toward the end of 2021. The plan was more home visits island-wide, but she saw an ad for space on Craigslist and decided to go all in. The office space opened its doors this past Spring in Wailuku town.
Services include 1 on 1 lactation visits in the office or at home, as well as lactation workshops in a group setting on Mondays from 10:30 am to12:30 pm. Providing access to everyone is important to Marcus and community support has been incredible with some patients sponsoring others who can’t pay. There’s also a group breastfeeding class where you can bring a support person with you.
She offers this tip to parents-to-be, “One of the biggest things I hear people say: I prepared so much for the birth and I didn’t prepare for the breastfeeding. Remember, you’ll be doing this 8 or more times a day. Babies have a natural instinct, but the finessing and learning to know how to do it takes practice. The biggest advice is to prepare for breastfeeding beforehand by talking to other moms, taking a prenatal class, and learning basic latch and positioning. A little bit of knowledge can go a long way.”
Finally, she shares, “At delivery, keep baby skin to skin as long as possible. That first latch really helps the baby imprint on the breastfeeding process. They are awake and alert, before going into 24-hour sleep. Weighing can wait.”
Maui Breastfeeding Support is located at 81 Central Avenue in Wailuku. Office appointments are available on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday with home visits on Tuesdays and Fridays. For more information or appointments, visit mauibreastfeeding.com.