About the Speaker

Melissa Cole, MS, IBCLC, RLC is a board-certified lactation consultant, neonatal oral motor assessment professional and clinical herbalist in private practice. Melissa is passionate about providing comprehensive, holistic lactation support and well as speaking and writing on these topics. She is dedicated to improving the level of clinical lactation skills for aspiring lactation consultants. Melissa provides lactation intensive workshops to healthcare professionals. She is also an adjunct professor at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, OR where she teaches advanced clinical lactation skills.

Some particular areas of interest for Melissa include: oral-motor issues, oral restrictions such as tongue and lip tie, structural issues, low milk supply, galactogogues, induced/adoptive lactation, lactation after loss, food allergies, gut and digestive health, clinical training, postpartum mood concerns, latch issues, respiratory concerns, managing complex lactation cases, and more.

Experience and Qualifications

  • International Board Certified, Registered Lactation Consultant (IBCLC, RLC), IBCLC#L-15109
  • Oral Motor Professional: Licensed Neonatal Oral-Motor Assessment Professional through NOMAS®., License #201312, certified Beckman Oral Motor Therapist, trained craniosacral provider.
  • Bachelor of Science degree in Maternal Child Health and Lactation Consulting
  • Masters of Science in Therapeutic Herbalism
  • Clinical herbalist with over two decades working with botanical medicine; specializing in women’s, pediatric and lactation botanicals.
  • La Leche League Leader since 2004, active member since 2001
  • Breastfeeding Counselor for WIC/County Health Department 2006-2010
  • Faculty at Birthingway College of Midwifery , teaches advanced clinical lactation skills classes and more, 2011-present
  • Thousands of hours providing direct breastfeeding support to many, many families
  • Active with several breastfeeding coalitions and organizations
  • A deep commitment to keeping up to date through evidence-based continuing education, conferences, peer-review and on-going study
  • Over 20 years experience studying and working with holistic and integrative health care, including extensive herbal and craniosacral therapy studies
  • TummyTime!TM teacher – TummyTime! TM is vital for babies and helps them develop, grow and thrive.
  • American Heart Association – Healthcare professional CPR certified
  • Experienced presenter, providing lactation education, lectures and clinical training to professionals


Official Bio for Brochure

Melissa Cole, MS, IBCLC, RLC is a board certified lactation consultant in private practice. Melissa has been passionate about providing comprehensive, holistic lactation care and education to parents and healthcare professionals for over a decade. She is an adjunct professor at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, OR where she teaches advanced clinical lactation skills. Melissa is active with several lactation and health care professional associations. Melissa enjoys living and working in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.

Bio for Introduction

Melissa Cole, MS, IBCLC, RLC is a board-certified lactation consultant, neonatal oral-motor assessment professional and clinical herbalist in private practice.  Melissa is passionate about providing comprehensive, holistic lactation support and improving the level of clinical lactation skills for health professional. She enjoys researching and writing, especially on topics such tongue tie and botanical medicine. Before pursuing her current path, Melissa’s background was in education and cultural arts, which has served her well in her work as a lactation consultant and healthcare educator. She loves living, working and playing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her 3 children.


Will it hurt? Frenotomy aftercare strategies to optimize healing outcomes for the newborn

Time-frame: 60-90
CERP: yes

There are a few emerging theories and clinical practice ideas when it comes to frenotomy aftercare for the newborn. Clinicians and families sometimes struggle with the idea of how to balance efficient post-frenotomy care while minimizing stress and discomfort of the newborn. While the evidence strongly points to the benefit of frenotomy for tongue-tied neonates, there is little published evidence regarding best aftercare practices. During this presentation we will explore the neonatal experience of pain along with pain management and oral healing strategies. We will also discuss the impact of stress on wound healing and focus on ways to help keep babies calm and happy through the recovery process. For families coping with a tongue-tied baby, it is often a physical and emotional roller coaster ride. This presentation will help provide a well-rounded view of frenotomy aftercare issues as well as clinical, care strategies to optimize healing and feeding for the newborn.

Bodywork: Another Resource for Breastfeeding Support

Time-frame: 60-90 min
CERP: yes

The purpose of this talk is to identify various types of manual therapy techniques that can support optimal feeding for breastfeeding dyad. Bodywork is not a fad, cultures around the world have used manual therapy techniques to support well-being for more than 5000 years. Bodywork is a general term that describes a variety of therapeutic, hands-on modalities.  Bodywork can be a resource for breastfeeding support because it aims to address or physiological issues that may be impacting optimal feeding.  Depending on the issue at hand, certain bodywork modalities may be more suited towards the problems than others. An overview of therapeutic techniques will be followed by actual case studies involving manual therapy as part of a care plan strategy to improve infant feeding issues. Presentation objectives include: *Identify various types of bodywork that can be used to support breastfeeding issues * Assess basic aspects of anatomical structure and function that may impact breastfeeding *comprehensively view structure as it impacts feeding ability and provide targeted care plan strategies *Identify resources for pediatric bodywork, including literature and qualified practitioners.

Note: Infants can present with anatomical issues such as plagiocephaly and torticollis that can greatly impact their ability to feed successfully. Various types of manual therapies can assist in optimizing structure which in turn can optimize function in feeding for the newborn. Several maternal breast issues may also be supported by manual therapy strategies. Practitioners will enjoy learning about the evidence around therapeutic intervention for feeding issues, learn ways to assess whether or not a feeding issue is stemming from structural causes, and discover how to create adequate care plan strategies and community resources that include bodywork.

Maternal Diet and Infant Allergies

Time-frame: 90
CERP: yes

The purpose of this talk is to provide an overview of about the topic of food allergies and sensitivities in breastfed babies along with assessment and management techniques. The presentation objectives include: *Understand the physiological process of how allergens can pass from mother to baby *Identify the differences between sensitivities and allergies *Understand the development and importance of the neonatal enteric nervous system *Identify care plan ideas for infants coping with food sensitivities/allergies Many of us work with babies coping with allergies, digestive issues and sensitivities. This presentation will help participants better understand the process of how breastfed infants get allergies. It will also cover assessment and management care strategies.

Note: Food allergies and sensitivities are rising epidemic. Providers working with mothers and babies need to be aware of digestive concerns including food allergies and sensitivities. This talk will give participants a solid understanding of the pathophysiology of allergy development as well as an overview of assessment and management techniques. Ample evidence that will help guide clinicians in their decision-making process will be provided.

Beyond the Basics of Latch: Support strategies for helping babies when the basics aren’t enough

Time-frame: 90
CERP: yes

In a perfect world, every baby would latch beautifully right after delivery and breastfeed happily ever after. In reality what we often see is that most moms and babies need a little help to get breastfeeding off to a good start. Many dyads need a lot of help. And a few mother/baby pairs need a miracle to breastfeed successfully. How can we best help those tough cases? There are many reasons babies struggle to latch and feed well. Some issues may include structural issues, physical discomfort, respiratory concerns, medical issues, digestive issues, poor feeding tool choices, prematurity, etc.

Note: Many providers are frustrated when they are unable to help a dyad latch and feed successfully. This presentation will covers some reasons why babies struggle to latch and breastfeed well. We will go over cases that portray challenging situations and the assessment techniques and care plan strategies that helped. This session is designed to help providers implement critical thinking skills in order to think outside the box when it comes to difficult cases

Dietary and Herbal Galactogogues

Time-frame: 90
CERP: yes

The topic of foods and herbs that support healthy lactation is near and dear to Melissa Cole’s heart. She works extensively with galactogogues and looks forward to sharing her knowledge with others. This presentation aims to discuss why foods/herbs are needed for healthy lactation, what options to consider and how to take an individualized approach to  galactogogues. Some questions this talk aims to answer:—Does nourishment matter when it comes to breastmilk quality or quantity? —Do you approach foods and herbs for lactating mothers in an individualized way or in a cookie-cutter way? —Do you know how to evaluate evidence regarding galactogogues and utilize meaningful resources? —Who are your go-to community resources for galactogogues and clinical care?

Presentation Objectives:—Understand why foods and herbs may be needed to support optimal lactation *Identify foods and botanicals that help support healthy lactation —*Understand the different  ways that galactogogues support lactation —*Understand a personalized approach to selecting  appropriate galactogogues *Understand how to locate resources on galactogogues and herbal safety

Note: This talk is a popular one and participants always come away learning something new. Foods and herbs for supporting lactation and wellness have a long-standing history. Participants will enjoy a colorful presentation that looks at galactogogues in an individualized way. Also, the foundational need for lactation support from a nutrition standpoint will also be covered. Conference attendees will enjoy hearing a fresh perspective on galactogogues!

Prenatal Breast Assessment and Maternal Support

Time-frame: 60-120
CERP: yes

This session will cover new thoughts on prenatal breast assessment and maternal support strategies in the prenatal period. Health professionals working with mothers in pregnancy have a unique chance to assess and discuss breastfeeding questions and concerns with clients in the prenatal period. There are many factors that can impact lactation success including certain health concerns, medications, breast development, endocrine issues, etc. Mother appreciate having thoughtful insight regarding these issues prior to delivery. In my clinical experience a resounding theme when breastfeeding issues arise from a condition that may have been identified prenatally is, “why didn’t anyone tell me?”. During this session, providers will learn how to assess breasts and nipples prenatally, identify potential red flags for lactation success and cultivate a meaningful dialog in order to discuss these concerns with the mothers they serve.

Placenta Medicine as a Galactogogue: Tradition or Trend?

Time-frame: 60-120
CERP: yes

For some mothers, insufficient milk supply impacts their ability to fully breastfeed their infants. Many of these mothers seek holistic options to increase their milk supply. Amongst some women, placenta medicine and/or postpartum placenta consumption as a purported galactogogue is a practice on the rise. There is some limited historical research, and more recently some phenomenological data, about the practice of placenta as a galactogogue. However little is truly known about the benefits and risks of placentophagy. Even less is known about whether or not placenta can be viewed as a galactogogue. This presentation aims to review the existing literature and purpose a further call for research in regards to placenta as a galactogogue.

New Thoughts on Infant Post-Frenotomy Care

Time-frame: 60-120
CERP: yes

A hotly debated topic among tongue tie professionals is post-frenotomy care. Infants may have varying degrees of suck dysfunction and tongue mobility issues even after release. In addition, the labial and lingual incision sites can be prone to re-attaching. Melissa Cole, IBCLC, RLC will present some post-frenotomy care basic she utilizes in her own clinical practice that have proven to improve post-frenotomy healing outcomes. Parents are often exhausted from the physical and emotional roller coaster that feeding a tongue tied infant presents and sensitive care for the whole family is needed. Melissa also recognizes that post-frenotomy care ‘best practice’ is still in its infancy and she proposes a call to research this subject matter further.

Tongue and Lip Tie: Related Issues, Assessment and Treatment

Time-frame: 60-120
CERP: yes

“Tongue-tie” has become quite a buzz word in some circles and is still quite unknown in others. Tongue and lip tie can cause restrictions in oral movement that can cause significant difficulty with breastfeeding and, in some instances, other health concerns like dental, digestive and speech issues. Melissa will present on signs/symptoms of tongue and lip tie, related health concerns, assessment and treatment strategies and aftercare. This presentation is excellent for anyone that clinically assesses infants, works with feeding issues, and/or provides lactation care.

Lactation Intensive for Birth Professionals

Time-frame: All Day
CERP: yes

A one or two day intensive continuing education workshop designed for birth professionals and those involved in the maternal-infant health community. The course is designed to update and enrich the professional’s understanding of lactation issues and provide strategies useful in assisting the breastfeeding dyad. Topics to be covered include: lactation concerns in pregnancy/birth/early postpartum, new thoughts on positioning and latch, milk supply and supplementation issues, maternal nipple pain, holistic lactation care ideas, gut health, tongue tie and more.

Clinical Skills Workshop

Time-frame: All Day
CERP: yes

Melissa is passionate about improving maternal/infant assessment and clinical skills for lactation consultants and allied healthcare professionals. This clinical skills workshop focuses on working directly with maternal/infant dyads. Traditionally, the hosting organizers will invite dyads from the community to come participate. Melissa will guide participants through an in-depth, comprehensive lactation consultation that involves maternal/infant assessment and the formation of comprehensive clinical care plan. Participants will learn about advanced clinical assessment and care strategies. Melissa’s goal for participants is that they view the breastfeeding dyad holistically, looking at lactation issues from a physical and emotional perspective. Melissa firmly believes that excellent clinical skills must go hand-in-hand with excellent counseling skills in order for lactation professionals to truly make a difference.

Lactation after Loss

Time-frame: 30-120
CERP: yes

After losing an infant, grieving mothers may still have to cope with postpartum issues, including lactation. This presentation reviews and addresses care options for lactation concerns after pregnancy, neonatal, or infant loss. Currently, lactation care and advice after loss varies greatly. Lactation consultants are instrumental in providing mothers with anticipatory guidance and evidence-based care. Implementing system-wide training and education regarding this topic will help families receive the information they need to deal with the physiological aftermath of infant loss.

Common Infant Digestive Health Concerns and Useful Support Strategies

Time-frame: 60-120
CERP: yes

This session will focus on common concerns regarding infant digestive health and useful support strategies that care providers can incorporate into their work with families. We will discuss what’s normal and what’s not in regards to stooling, spit up/reflux, colic/fussiness, and more. Many parents are coping with babies that are uncomfortable and unhappy due to gut health concerns. Dealing with a such a baby is emotionally and physically draining. Having a basic understanding of infant gut health and care strategies that optimize comfort and aid in overall digestive healing can be useful tools for any type of practitioner working with infants.

Melissa Cole, MS, IBCLC, RLC

Phone number: 360-830-6455
Email: melissa@lunalactation.com
Site: http://www.lunalactation.com
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