About the Speaker

Melissa Cole 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 teaching, researching and writing about wellness and lactation-related topics. Her bachelor’s degree is in maternal/child health and lactation and her master’s degree is in therapeutic herbalism. 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.

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 (presently retired), active member since 2001
  • Breastfeeding Counselor for WIC/County Health Department 2006-2010
  • Faculty at Birthingway College of Midwifery , taught advanced clinical lactation skills classes and more, 2011-2017
  • 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

Affiliations

  • International Lactation Consultant Association, member (ILCA)
  • United States Lactation Consultant Association, member (USLCA)
  • Oregon Washington Lactation Association, member (OWLA)
  • Professional member of several ankyloglossia (tongue-tie) organizations
  • Natural Institute of Medical Herbalists, member (NIMH)
  • American Herbalist Guild, member (AHG)
  • Nursing Mothers Counsel, professional affiliate member (NMC)
  • Birth Support Network, member (BSN)
  • Baby Blues Connection, professional member and past outreach Committee member (BBC)

Recent Publications

  • Cole, M. (2014). Placenta Medicine as a Galactogogue: Tradition or Trend? Clinical Lactation, 5(4), 116-122. doi: 10.1891/2158-0782.5.4.116
  • Cole, M. (2012). Lactation after Perinatal, Neonatal, or Infant Loss. Clinical Lactation, 3(3), 94-100.
  • Cole, M., & Ghaheri, B. (2012, 11/19/12). The Basics of Tongue and Lip Tie: Related Issues, Assessment and Treatment​
  • Ghaheri, B. A., Cole, M., Fausel, S. C., Chuop, M., & Mace, J. C. (2016). Breastfeeding improvement following tongue-tie and lip-tie release: A prospective cohort study. The Laryngoscope, n/a-n/a. doi: 10.1002/lary.26306
  • Ghaheri, B. A., Cole, M., & Mace, J. C. (2018). Revision Lingual Frenotomy Improves Patient-Reported Breastfeeding Outcomes: A Prospective Cohort Study. Journal of human lactation : official journal of International Lactation Consultant Association, 1(890334418775624), 0890334418775624.

Official Bio for Brochure

Melissa Cole 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 teaching, researching and writing about wellness and lactation-related topics. Her bachelor’s degree is in maternal/child health and lactation and her master’s degree is in therapeutic herbalism. 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.

Bio for Introduction

Melissa Cole 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 teaching, researching and writing about wellness and lactation-related topics. Her bachelor’s degree is in maternal/child health and lactation and her master’s degree is in therapeutic herbalism. 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.




Presentations

Oral Function: Assessment and Comprehensive Care for the Pre-Crawling Infant

Time-frame:
CERP: yes

This intensive workshop is designed for health professionals involved in the care of the pre-crawling infant. The course is designed to enhance the care provider’s understanding, assessment and management of oral function issues as they impact infant feeding and development. We will have case studies, interactive virtual activities, group work, discussion time, and more. Melissa and Michelle will help you level-up your assessment and clinical care techniques when it comes to supporting babies coping with compromised oral function and complex feeding challenges.

Who should attend? Any provider that wishes to become a more skilled clinician when working with pre-crawling infants! Body workers, lactation consultants, pediatricians, physical/occupational therapists, nurses, registered dieticians, speech-language pathologists, and any care team member working with pre-crawling infants should consider attending. IBLCE continuing education credits included.

Herbal Support for Lactation and Infants

Time-frame:
CERP: yes

An intensive workshop designed for birth and health professionals and those involved in the maternal-infant health community. The course is designed to enrich the professional’s understanding of how herbs can be used for lactation and infant issues. Plant medicine around the world has traditionally been an important part of postpartum care for mothers and babies. In this workshop, we will cover herbal care strategies for parental issues such as milk supply concerns, breast and nipple care ideas (engorgement, mastitis, sore/damaged nipples, etc). We will also discuss herbal support for infant issues such as digestive problems (colic, reflux, etc), teething, immune support, sleep, and more.

Beyond Fenugreek: An Individualized Approach to Dietary and Herbal Galactagogues

Time-frame: 60-120 minutes
CERP: yes

While some clinicians might roll their eyes when ‘lactation cookies’ are mentioned we know foods and herbs have long been used to nourish the postpartum parent and enhance lactation. Some topics this talk aims to cover: Does nourishment matter when it comes to breastmilk quality or quantity? How can we approach galactogogues for lactating mothers in an individualized way? How can clinicians evaluate evidence and determine safety regarding galactogogues? We know that parent coping with milk supply concerns are often desperate to ‘try anything’. Clinicians have an important role in helping families understand the risks and benefits of galactogogues. By helping parents identify resources and information around foods and herbs, we can help empower them to make informed choices.

Objectives:

  • Understand why foods and herbs may be needed to support optimal lactation
  • Understand the different ways that galactogogues support lactation
  • Understand a personalized approach to selecting appropriate galactogogues
  • 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!

Clinical Lactation Tools: Bottles, Tubes and Shields, Oh my!

Time-frame: 60-90 minutes
CERP: yes

There are many ways to love and feed a baby. Having in-depth knowledge about feeding-related tools should be a part of any lactation professional’s toolbox. In this session we will review a variety of tools such as shield, supplemental feeding options, bottles, and more. Tools may be needed for a variety of reasons. We will explore critical thinking strategies for tool selection. Clinicians that have a strong foundation in feeding tools can often help family’s find creative ways to meet their feeding goals faster than just a ‘wait and see’ approach. We will explore how certain tools fit, flow, work, and when to implement them. This session will have you re-thinking how you think about feeding tools and when to use them.

A Case Study Approach to Critical Thinking Skills for Lactation Professionals

Time-frame: 60-90 minutes
CERP: yes

There are many reasons infants struggle to latch and feed well. Critically thinking through a case involves assessing all the variables that may be impacting feedings. This is no easy task when we must consider what is happening on the parent’s side and the infant’s side. How can we put all the pieces of a complex case together in order to be an effective lactation detective? This session is designed to help providers implement critical thinking skills in order to think outside the box when it comes to difficult cases.

Session Objectives:

  • Identify key aspects of the critical thinking process within the context of lactation
  • Describe 3 infant-related factors to assess when feeding difficulties present
  • Describe 3 parental related factors to assess when feeding difficulties present
  • Identify the root cause(s) of the feeding issue at hand
  • Identify personalized care plans strategies for a dyad
  • Utilize critical thinking skills when supporting dyads through challenging feeding situations

Infant Oral Assessment: Exploring Anatomy and Function Beyond the Frenulum

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: yes

Is it a tongue tie? What else could be going on? Having a deeper understanding of the orofacial complex and functional oral motor patterns can help take your assessment techniques to the next level. Curious about jaws, tongues, palates, oral tone, suck patterns, and more? This presentation will focus on understanding the finer details and the bigger picture when it comes to infant oral assessment. We will cover the basics of infant oral anatomy, assessment techniques and optimal vs suboptimal movement, strength, and sucking patterns.

Objectives:

  • Demonstrate the basics of infant oral anatomy assessment
  • Describe immature vs. mature suck patterns
  • Identify at least three aspects of oral assessment

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

Time-frame: 60-90 minutes
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 minutes
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.

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

Time-frame: 90 minutes
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, and more. Many providers are frustrated when they are unable to help a dyad latch and feed successfully. Using case studies, we will review challenging situations and the assessment techniques and care plan strategies that helped. This session is designed to help providers implement critical thinking when it comes to difficult cases.

Prenatal Breast Assessment and Maternal Support

Time-frame: 90 minutes
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.

Note: This is a very popular session for birth and health care professionals working with mothers prenatally. So many times the only thing that gets asked of a mother prenatally in regards to breastfeeding is, “how do you plan to feed your baby?”. As professionals, we need to go beyond that and truly address potential lactation concerns in a meaningful way in order to empower mothers and optimize lactation outcomes. The ‘prenatal’ part of the title can be included or omitted depending on your target audience.

Placenta Medicine as a Galactogogue: Tradition or Trend?

Time-frame: 60 minutes
CERP: yes

During this presentation, we aim to explore the fascinating topic of placentophagy. Our discussion focus will be on placenta medicine as a purported galatogogue. For some parents, insufficient milk supply impacts their ability to fully breastfeed their infants. Many seek holistic options to increase their milk supply. Amongst some communities, placenta medicine and/or postpartum placenta consumption is a practice on the rise. What do we know about the benefits and risks of this practice? We will review historical and modern day evidence, the difference between mammalian and human placenta consumption, and discuss ethical considerations regarding placentophagy/placenta medicine as a galactogogue.

The Lactation Professional’s Role in Supporting Optimal Healing Outcomes for the Newborn Post-Frenectomy

Time-frame: 60-120 minutes
CERP: yes

A hotly debated topic among clinicians is post-frenotomy care. 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 lactation consultant’s role in supporting the family post-frenotomy. We will also discuss neonatal pain and pain management strategies and the impact of stress on wound healing. This presentation will help provide a well-rounded view of frenotomy aftercare strategies lactation professionals should consider when supporting families coping with post frenotomy concerns.

Note: This presentation could easily be expanded to a clinical practice day with actual post-frenotomy dyads.

Tongue and Lip Tie: A Comprehensive Approach to Assessment and Care

Time-frame: 90-120 minutes
CERP: yes

“Tongue tie” (clinically known as ankyloglossia) is of great interest in some settings and is still quite unknown in others. Tongue tie can restrict proper lingual functionality and mobility. These restrictions can cause significant feeding difficulties for infants. Feeding challenges can be complex and multi-factorial, therefore a comprehensive understanding of infant oral anatomy can help clinicians better assess and care for the patients they serve. The speaker will present on signs and symptoms of tongue tie, related health concerns, assessment and treatment strategies, and the status of the evidence base. This presentation is designed to meet the needs of anyone who clinically assesses infants, works with feeding issues, and/or provides lactation care.

Note: Melissa is a long-time member of several tongue tie professional groups and organizations.  She has been working for years to increase awareness and professional standards around the topic of oral restrictions such as ankyloglossia. While tongue and lip tie issues have been somewhat of a hot topic in recent years, there is much more to the subject that needs to be discussed.  Proper evaluation techniques, understanding oral anatomy and pre- and post-frenotomy support is vital in order for healthcare professionals to take their knowledge about tongue and lip tie to the next level.

Lactation Intensive for Birth and Health 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.

Note: This workshop will present the most current updates in the field of lactation, allow time for case study review and provide attendees will receive ample resources that they can apply to their own practice. The presenter, Melissa Cole, is a well-respected lactation consultant and clinical instructor in the Portland area.  One of Melissa’s goals is to increase the standard of lactation care amongst allied health care providers and foster awareness regarding key clinical issues.

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.

Note: The clinical skills workshop is always well received.  Participants gain valuable experience and knowledge observing and participating in the actual consultation process with real mothers and infants. The clinical skills workshop is an excellent addition to a conference.  Many conference organizers use it as an add-on day for participants that want more in-depth training from their conference experience.

Lactation After Loss

Time-frame: 45-60 minutes
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.

Note: Melissa thoughtfully and comprehensively covers the topic of lactation care after perinatal, neonatal or infant loss.  This presentation session is an excellent addition to conferences covering emotional, ethical and physiological lactation issues. This presentation is useful for healthcare professionals wishing to implement better policies in regards to lactation care after loss and allied providers wishing to improve their counseling and clinical skills in regards to supporting mothers that have suffered infant loss.

Common Infant Digestive Concerns: Dietary Sensitivities, Reflux and Beyond

Time-frame: 90-120 minutes
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 regard to stooling, spit up/reflux, colic/fussiness, food sensitivities, and more.  Many parents are coping with babies that are uncomfortable and unhappy due to digestive health concerns.  Dealing with a fussy, uncomfortable baby is emotionally and physically draining.  Having a basic understanding of infant gut health and care strategies can be useful tools for any type of practitioner working with infants.

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 digestive issues

Note: The topic of infant digestion is something parents and professionals alike are curious to know more about. Melissa explains the development of the digestive system and discusses gut healing and coping strategies for infants struggling with colic, reflux, food allergies, oral restrictions impacting proper swallowing, etc. Melissa is well-respected in her community and beyond for her work regarding infant gut health and digestion.

Melissa Cole, MS, IBCLC, RLC


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