Seeking a Lactation Consultant

Parent Q&A

Lactation consultant with virtual visits? Mar 28, 2020 (10 responses below)
Lactation consultant for new mom of twins Feb 12, 2020 (12 responses below)
Lactation Consultant Mar 16, 2019 (15 responses below)
Expecting soon and seeking a lactation consultant Nov 20, 2017 (13 responses below)
East Bay Lactation Associates for breastfeeding trouble? Feb 3, 2017 (9 responses below)
  • Lactation consultant with virtual visits?

    (10 replies)

    Hi, I have a 3 month old and we're having some new breastfeeding challenges. I'm wondering if anybody has a recommendation for a lactation consultant that does virtual visits in the Berkeley/Oakland area? I'd like to avoid close contact if at all possible given the coronavirus precautions. Thank you!

    I have a 2 month old and was looking for one myself.  My pediatrician recommended Janaki Costello and saw that they are no longer doing house calls but are taking clients with some COVID19 precautions—spacing clients out and cleaning in between, etc. Not a virtual visit, but I was desperate.  

    Molly Sims at East Bay Lactation is amazing.


    I saw East Bay Lactation Consultants (Molly) who was helpful. I had an in-person visit in my home but that was 2 months ago.

    She recently sent an email that she is doing remote visits and in-person if there's a medical need, and often with breastfeeding there might be. Sometimes you do need to be seen in person and based on her email they are taking the necessary precautions. They also have an office you can still visit if needed (that doesn't have much if any foot traffic right now) and scales she can lend you at home if weight gain is an issue.

    Best of luck with breastfeeding!

  • Lactation consultant for new mom of twins

    (12 replies)

    I'm looking for a lactation consultant to support a new first-time mom of twins. I'm especially interested in someone who will figure out what the right mix of breastfeeding, pumping, and formula feeding is, given the severe sleep deprivation that comes along with having twins, the preemie status of the babies, and the plan for going back to work in several months. Not looking for someone who will push breastfeeding as the be all and end all.

    I’m also a twin mom and worked with Carole Hansen, who is connected with UCSF and does private lactation consultation work. She came to our home and was fantastic. She helped us come up with a plan when my milk supply was low in the beginning that included breastfeeding, pumping, and supplementing that ultimately led to exclusive breastfeeding. She’s also a twin mom herself! You can google her to find current contact info. 

    Janaki Costello is the best. She helped me with my second baby, and I found her to be very kind and compassionate. 

    I had a great experience with Molly Brannigan with East Bay Lactation Associates.  At the time I saw her I was almost exclusively pumping and supplementing with formula due to nipple injury and supply issues.  She helped with my daughter's latch, but also worked with me to establish a pumping schedule and gave me advice on how best to bottle feed.  The comprehensive feeding plan she put together was a huge help and a big stress reliever.  I would highly recommend her. 

  • Lactation Consultant

    (15 replies)

    My wife and I have a 1 mo old baby girl who is having difficulty latching and requires a nipple shield. We are looking for suggestions on an East Bay lactation consultant that can come to our home in Oakland and work with us on this issue. Please only suggest certified lactation consultants. Thanks!

    RE: Lactation Consultant ()

    Georganne Walker is absolutely the best. Last I heard, she had office hours at Alta Bates. Good luck.

    RE: Lactation Consultant ()

    Amrit Khalsa, RN, IBCLC, is a certified lactation consultant and is amazing.  I saw her through bayside medical but I believe she also does home visits.  

    RE: Lactation Consultant ()

    I highly recommend Amrit Khalsa. She helped me along with several other friends. She’ll come to your home and offers support via phone and text, too. She works miracles.

  • Hi!

    Am expecting soon and am trying to get a lactation consultant set up.

    Does anyone have first hand experience with Happy Milk Lactation Consultant?

    Any other recommendations are helpful!

    Thank you!

    My recommendation is Molly Brannigan at East Bay Lactation Associates.

    She's amazing!!

    I don't think there is any reason to see a lactation consultant unless you are having problems after the baby is born. The hospital will give you basic instruction while you are there for the birth. People have been feeding babies for thousands of years without any troubles. Good luck!

    I highly recommend Paula Santi, IBCLC

  • Hello, 

    A neighbor of ours is having breastfeeding trouble with her newborn (poor latch/sore nipples). She is thinking about booking an appointment with Molly Brannigan or Janaki Costello East Bay Lactation Associates. Any feedback on them? 

    Thank you!

    Mom of a 5 year old, friend to mom of a newborn. 

    I have nothing but great things to say about Janaki. She helped me with a fairly complicated situation with issues both on the baby's and the mother's side, and could not have been more compassionate, knowledgeable and encouraging. And it worked out! Baby and mom managed to get the breastfeeding thing going with her fantastic help. Her neighbor should not go, but run to Janaki!

    Hello, I haven't used Molly Brannigan as a lactation consultant, but I did take a 6 week parenting class with her when I was pregnant with my son, over 3 years ago now, and she was wonderful. I also took a 1 time breastfeeding class with her (again, soon before giving birth) and she was SO knowledgeable, kind, honest, and calm. I remember looking at my notes from that session many times, when struggling with breastfeeding myself. I just looked her up on google to be sure that was her name (mommy-brain) and saw that she had 27 5-star reviews as a lactation consultant!!! I would use her in a heartbeat, if I had the need again. Hope this helps. :)

    She should contact the local chapter of La Leche League.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Lactation consultant for ''low milk production''

March 2013

Does anyone have any recommendations for a lactation consultant who specializes in helping women with ''low milk production''? I have had several appts at Kaiser, but want additional support from an outside source. I've been slugging away for months now with little changes and am beginning to lose hope. gina

Ami Burnham is a really well respected local midwife/ lactation consultant and helped me address my low milk supply concerns. Her website is Valerie

Ellen Schwerin; call her at 510.730.2154 or e-mail ellen [at] the Kyle

Call Amrit Khalsa! She is so great, has been a midwife for years and is a wondeful, insightful certified lactation consultant. She does house calls. I had multiple issues nursing and fired my first lactation consultant. Amrit saved breastfeeding for us. breastfeeding mama

I don't know any lactation consultants but I would highly recommend attending a La Leche League meeting. They happen regularly in Berkeley, Oakland and other nearby areas. The leaders have great advice for many breastfeeding issues. And, they're free! Good for you for sticking with it! Got Milk?

try the support group at Birthways. Berkeley Meeting Times When: 10 a.m. on the 3rd Tuesday of the month Where: Birthways Resource Center 1600 Shattuck Avenue, Suite 122

Good luck! Kathleen

I don't have a name to offer you, but wanted to give you some support. There is so much out there that would make you think every woman can breastfeed and it's a lack of will if they don't, but really truly, some women can't breastfeed at all or without supplementation. Thankfully there are options, and formula is not poison - children fed formula grow up to be smart and happy. Weaning at any point, early or late, baby or mama-led, has been linked to depression - hormones change and therefore you can expect some emotional times. But it gets better, your baby gets fed, and you did the best you could. I wish you luck increasing your supply, but please know that it's really going to be okay if that doesn't work. No shame, no guilt, just happy mama and baby. Take care. guilt-free mama

I strongly recommend Ann Haus. She's part of the Alta Bates lactation support group (, but I believe she'll see anyone (almost no insurance covers lactation support except for Kaiser's in house) and she costs a small fraction of what others do. Everyone else who saw me at Alta Bates thought my daughter was fine, and Ann immediately recognized that she wasn't actually getting any milk. She worked with me (doggedly) for 4+ months until we could nurse, and she coached me on building/maintaining supply during that time. She's truly exceptional, and I also appreciated that she's warm but very practical and no-nonsense (and responsive). anon

East Bay Lactation Associates. They are AMAZING. I liked many of the Kaiser lactation consultants, but the consultants at EBLA take the time to get to the bottom of the problem and develop sustainable and realistic solutions. I can honestly save that they changed breastfeeding experience entirely. Maria

Try giving Taryn a call, she was a lifesaver for me when I had a bad case of Thrush. She is oh so sweet and makes house calls! Her website is Laura

You should talk to Ellen! She has the highest certifications possible and is a really sweet person! Ellen H. Schwerin, MPH, IBCLC Board Certified Lactation Consultant HappyMilk Lactation Support Cell: 510.730.2154

I highly recommend Ellen Schwerin. I called her in a tizzy about severe breast pain after nursing and she was incredibly calm and kind, listened very carefully, and offered what seemed to be an accurate diagnosis and successful technique for easing the pain. Pain's gone! Ellen also sent me an email with a bunch of research on breast pain AND called me the next day to see how I was feeling AND offered to take a look. I really can't say enough good things about her. Give her a go. Sima

I'd like to recommend Ellen Schwerin of Happy Milk as a fabulous lactation consultant. I am an experienced mom having breastfed my first son for 14 months. So when I was experiencing pain as my second son was latching I knew that something had to change fast. I called her on a Sunday evening and she was at my house by 10am the next day. She quickly discovered that my son was not sticking his tongue out far enough and gave me some ''tongue training'' exercises. 2 days later my son was latching without pain. In addition to fixing my latching issues she also gave me a lot of breast feeding tips that I wish I had known the first time around. Calling Ellen was a great decision and it's the best money I've ever spent. Katy

Lactation consultant in Berkeley/Oakland

Sept 2011

Hi, I am looking for a lactation consultant in the Berkeley/Oakland area. There are a lot out there and I am having trouble figuring out who to reach out to. I am open to going to an office or home visits. I am also looking for someone who can help with birth through weening. I am at the weening stage with my first child, but I would like to build a relationship with someone who I can work with throughout for my next baby. Thanks!

I highly recommend Amrit Kaur Khalsa. She is a lactation consultant and also a midwife. She is highly experienced and super loving. We saw her through our pediatrician's office at Bayside but she also does house visits. Check out her website for more information: super important to get someone good!

I'm sure you will get many people offering the same recommendation: Janaki Costello. She is an amazing lactation consultant, and she was by far the most support professional I encountered in my post-partum struggles. Not only did she help with lactation issues (son ended up being tongue-tied and no one else caught it), she offered support on a variety of other issues. She is GREAT!!! cg

I went to Janaki Costello, who is simply wonderful -- very experienced and warm. I'd heard her referred to as the 'Lactation Goddess' and she lived up to the title! She's in Albany.

I encourage you to contact Amrit Khalsa (510) 235-4878, Amrit is a midwife as well as a lactation consultant so has a holistic perspective on breast feeding. She is based in the East Bay and happily conducts home visits. I attribute the fact that my daughter and I have never had any feeding related issues solely to our good fortune in working with Amrit since day one. Amrit has a warm and nurturing manner, yet has the unflinching precision and eagle-eyed attention to detail that is necessary to ensure that babies are drinking milk in a pain- free way for their mamas. She explains things clearly and is very hands on. She has guided my family through the immensely important first days of breastfeeding, helped my husband introduce the bottle, and has instructed me how to keep up my supply and how much and often to pump when I returned to work and as we began introducing solids. Amrit is tuned into the wisdom of the ages and channels all of that to her clients in a very straight-forward and grounded way.

Lactation services at local pediatric practices

July 2011

I am looking for a local (easy bay) pediatric office that has lactation services, preferably that are covered by health insurance (we have Blue Shield). I know there are many lactation consultants out there, but I am looking for someone who is skilled and has a lot of experience who I could access at my visits to the ped. Milk Mama

Hi- We had a great experience with the lactation consultant at Primary Pediatrics . Georganne Walker splits her time between the Oakland and Alameda office locations, and we found her to be extremely knowledgeable and patient when we were struggling. Can not recommend her enough! Cut and paste for her bio: Cara

We started going to the Pediatric Medical Group in Berkeley after the recent birth of our baby. Dr. Robin Meezan is great as are the other doctors in the practice (of the ones that we have met so far). They have a lactation consultant that you can make appts with after any of your child's dr. appointments. So helpful and timesaving! KT

My pediatric office, Bayside Medical Group in Oakland, has a lactation consultant. I did see her once and all I had to pay was my regular co-pay. Her first name is Amrit and she was helpful. Sorry, I cant remember her last name but if you call the office they will know who you mean. The office is at 3100 Telegraph Ave and the number is 452-5231. The practice has many doctors. laura

My two children are patients at Bayside Medical , where we get excellent pediatric care. We've also worked with an amazing lactation consultant there, Amrit Khalsa, as I had trouble with painful breastfeeding in the beginning. She was fantastic, and took the time to help me figure out what was going on with my baby's latch, what we needed to change, and also just reassured me and provided indispensable support when it seemed so hard. I don't know what i would have done without her, truly, in those first 6 weeks. I know that Bayside is now providing lactation services that are covered by insurance. Run, do not walk, and call Rebecca Dycus at Bayside at 510.452.5231 to make an appointment with Amrit. You don't have to be a current patient there. Rebecca will look into your eligibility for benefits and work with you on insurance info. You can also just call and leave a message for Amrit there. Good luck! here's to nursing!

Pediatric Medical Group on Telegraph in South Berkeley has an excellent lactation consultant, Joanne Rucker. She's on staff and has always been available to me when I've needed her, setting aside time at the end of a pediatric visits or responding to my calls promptly. I had a lot of fears/challenges when nursing my first child, who was premature so there were latching issues. Joanne took a real interest in me and my daughter and spent considerable time advising me and guiding me as I nursed. PMG generally is excellent. I've always been able to get same-day appointments with our doctor, Ralph Berberich. On occasion Robin Meezan has treated my kids. She's awesome too. Anon

I am a pediatrician at Primary Pediatrcs. We have a great Lactation Consultant who is also a pediatric nurse practitioner at our practice. Her name is Georganne Walker. She sees patients in both our Alameda and Oakland offices. She also works at Alta Bates and runs the breastfeeding support group there. The best thing about having her as one of our clinicians, is that she is covered by most insurances. Check out our website: or call the office for any questions! Laura Balestreri, MD

Amrit Khalsa is an experienced lactation consultant who works with us at Bayside Medical Group in the Oakland office (3100 Telegraph, 510-452-5231). Her services are generally covered by insurance. She is a loving, positive, and reassuring presence,and her skills at helping with breastfeeding are just amazing. Some of the mothers in my practice who have seen her for help with breastfeeding were already experienced themselves (having taught breastfeeding to others or breastfed previous children) and still felt that she made a huge difference in their ability to breastfeed comfortably and successfully. I highly recommend her. Katya Gerwein, MD

Lactation Consultant who can do home-visits

March 2011

I would love to have some recommendations for a lactation consultant who will do home-visits. I am due in a month and due to some previous surgery may have some trouble breastfeeding, and I'd like to have someone come and check on me at home. I am with Kaiser and they do have lactation consultants, but I have to drive myself over to the clinic to see them, and I'd prefer to have someone come to my home in Alameda. I would especially like someone who is experienced in breastfeeding after breast surgery. I looked on the database on BPN and the latest recommendations were from 2008. Just wondering if I can get some more recent ones. Thanks!

For home lactation visits, I highly recommend Julia Denniston and Amrit Khalsa. If you are able to go to Janaki Costello in her office in Albany, she is also excellent. a pediatrician

Katie DaMota is an IBCLC who makes home visits. is an excellent website for women who have had breast surgeries, as are and (not that you will necessarily have low supply - just as references). ''Motherfood'' by Hilary Jacobson is a wonderful book of foods and recipes that women around the world have used to support and increase their milk supplies. You might consider having an appointment now in order to have a plan in place as soon as you give birth. Also - I am an IBCLC candidate and have just started a free, drop-in breastfeeding support group in Alameda Monday mornings at 9:30 at Immanuel Lutheran, Santa Clara & Chestnut. This group is for anyone along the path: pregnant, working on nursing, nursing. Feel free to email with any questions. Good luck! peggy

She doesn't do home visits, but Janaki Costello is the be all and end all of all lactation consultants. I'm sure you'll get a lot of recommendations for her. She is seriously the best in the area (and beyond). I worked with her when I was in your boat, and I'm happy to talk with you as well. First child - very difficult time, little milk, hard to latch, had to supplement, etc. Second - relatively easy, plenty of milk,no supplementing. I think it's a combination of the baby and your breasts, so whatever happens, know that you're baby will be fabulous and fine (both of mine are thriving and happy). If you want to talk supplements, etc. I'm happy to. Ask the moderator for my info. Been There

March 2011

Re: Doula that specializes in breastfeeding?
I can't help much with a doula, but as far as breastfeeding goes, you want Anne Hauss. I was never able to breastfeed our first child, despite countless groups and individual help by lactation consultants. With our second child, I was lucky enough to have Anne visit at the hospital. She not just knows exactly how to work around every possible problem, she also makes sure that the mother knows what she is doing when Anne is not around. Meaning after she demonstrates how to get the baby to latch on, she takes the baby off and makes the mom try until she got it. This point was crucial for me, I had never a problem to have the various lactation consultants get our first to latch on, I just couldn't do it myself when they weren't around. I don't really know what's wrong with my nipples (something along the lines of extremely sensitive), but I was having difficulties breastfeeding for many months, and Anne worked with me until I had the technique down and was able to latch the baby on by myself at home. I went through a lot of pain and a few times came close to giving up but thanks to Anne, ultimately our daughter never had a bottle. I don't have her current phone number, but you can get in touch with her through the Alta Bates breastfeeding program. She runs groups through Alta Bates and is also available for individual help. Good Luck!

Seeking a lactation consultant

Dec 2010

Looking for a good lactation consultant ... LE

Lactation consultant: if you have Kaiser for either yourself or your baby, you have lactation consultants available at the pediatric clinics--for free! We're international board certified lactation consultants (IBCLC)as well as RNs. You can self-refer (don't need a doctor referral). In Oakland, call 752-7557; Richmond 307-2514; Pinole 243-4215. Wishing you comfortable, confident breastfeeding- susan

If you want the ''goddess of lactation consultants'' (as she was referred to to me), call Janaki Costello in Albany. She was absolutely wonderful with me and my baby in every way: warm, attentive, non-blaming, understanding, and highly skilled. Janaki Costello: 510-525-1155

Janaki Costello is the best. Find her info on her website: Shauna

I highly recommend Katie Bowman DaMota (510) 415-2193

Kaiser lactation consultants

March 2010

Any recommendations on which Kaiser lactation consultants you've found helpful for breastfeeding? I know that it's free to see them in the clinic as much as you need.

My son and I saw Paulette Avery at Kaiser Oakland last fall, and she was terrific. She was very thorough when trying to find reasons for a low supply and very encouraging throughout the whole process. She wasn't available one day and I saw another RN (last name Lunsford), who was extremely helpful as well. Anon

Try Susan Scholl (I think that is how its spelled). I was having a rough time with lactation and she was so gentle, open minded and mama focused that she got me out of my inadequate feelings and hopelessness. After a few weeks of regular weekly appointments, my stubborn and difficult baby was nursing normally by about 3 months and I'm just now weaning him at age 2. Rebecca

I cannot recommend Pat Ross, at Kaiser Walnut Creek, highly enough. She helped me diagnose and remedy severe pain when I was nursing my first baby five years ago; everyone else said the latch looked fine so nothing was wrong, but Pat doggedly got to the bottom of the problem. Without her help I would have quit--instead, my son and I went on to nurse for three years. Recently I had another baby, and some similar problems cropped up. Pat spent a couple of sessions with me making sure we had the latch right and helping me out. She is unbelievably knowledgeable, kind, caring and professional. I live in Berkeley, but the drive is worth it. Her number is 925-295-4368. Anonymous

Seeking highly experienced lactation consultant

March 2010

I am currently expecting my 2nd child and need to find a highly experienced lactation consultant who has worked with women with inverted nipples. With my first baby, I saw three different lactation consultants who never encountered this, and could only give me a lot of theory and stumped expressions when nothing worked. Rather than give up without even trying with baby #2, I'm hoping to find someone I can work with before the birth, while I am in the hospital, and in the weeks following birth to find a way to breastfeed. Thanks in advance for your input. A.

Janaki Costello really helped me. My nipples were flat, not inverted, but really, I think she can do anything. She was the 3rd lactation consultant I saw and really got it right. 525-1155. Anon

Janaki Costello is one of the best lactation consultants in the area. Her number is 510-525-1155. She is located in Albany. Christina

I don't know about her experience with inverted nipples specifically, but in general I would highly recommend Janaki Costello in Albany ( She has 30+ years of experience in breastfeeding support. I found her tremendously helpful and supportive when I was having nursing problems early on. Good luck!! Megan

I just wanted to recommend the Kaiser Richmond lactation Department. They are just wonderful, particularly Susan Lawrence.

I planned on breastfeeding but never realized how for some it can be a little challenging. I had great help at the hospital, was discharged and once home, felt really lost and concerned I was feeding my son more formula than breastmilk. Susan was very patient, kind, and reassuring in her approach. She spent a good deal of time making sure I was comfortable with the positions she suggested. She proposed different things to use, pumps, etc... I saw her weekly for the first month and felt so much more comfortable with breastfeeding.

That support continued through the initial months as well as when I returned to work and was finding pumping at work a great challenge. Susan was there again offering her suggestions and recommendations that made it all okay.

She continued holding my hand when I finally weaned my son after 13 months of breastfeeding.

I found the Kaiser Richmond Lactation Dept invaluable to me and my son's first year. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions. regkwo

Having a really tough time with breastfeeding

May 2008

My 5 week old baby girl and I have had a really tough time with breastfeeding. I've gone to see the Lactation Consultant at Kaiser in Vacaville 6 times now. She's been very helpful, and we seem to get baby Kayla to suck and latch right every time I'm there at the doctor's office but a couple feedings after we get home she starts sucking wrong again and I'm in excruciating pain. On Wednesday when I went to see Alice (the Lactation Consultant) I had a bleeding nipple and she had me feed Kayla on one breast (that was not bleeding) and pump the injured breast and feed her with a bottle. Today (Friday), I went back to see Alice and since my nipple had healed we tried again and got her to suck and latch on correctly. After the 2nd feeding at home I was in pain again. I'm following all the right latching techniques and don't know what else to do anymore. Alice told me to try finger feeding her the pumped breastmilk if I have problems over the weekend but I can't get Kayla to do the finger feeding either. I'm in desperate need for help and will pay a Lactation Consultant to come to my home and help me over the weekend. Does anyone know of someone that's available over the weekend? I live in Fairfield but I'm also willing to come to the Bay Area if needed.

Hi, We have a newborn (1 week old) and he sucks like a Hoover vaccuum cleaner. It's KILLING my nipples! He's our 3rd baby, so I know the difference. One of my nipples also bled and the other was severely cracked. Both became infected a few days ago and I ended up in the ER and am now on antibiotics.

My lactation consultant gave me great advice. Try nipple shields! I used them for our first child as well and actually ended up nursing her with nipple shields until she was 3 months. After that I switched her to nursing directly on me. They work wonderfully. I still let my son nurse on me directly every other day or so, but I am slowly letting my nipples get used to the strength of his sucking without him doing damage to them. We still have latching problems as well, but the nipple shield allows me to work on it without getting stressed out or being in more pain.

I have used Kay Goodyear as a lactation consultant in the past. She lives in Martinez. I'm not sure if she'll go to Fairfield, but she came to our home when we lived in Benicia. Her ph# is 925.313.8986. I received help from Catherine Mulcahy this time around; she heads the La Leche League in the Benicia/Vallejo area. Her ph # is 707.644.3599. I wish you much success with this! Nipple Shield Fan

I strongly recommend Julia Denniston. You can reach her at 925 683 1933. She was recommended to me by our pediatrician. Not only did she come to my home to help on a weekend, if i recall correctly, it was a major holiday weekend, too, when almost all the other consultants that we called were unavailable. I forget how much it cost but whatever it was, it was the best money we ever spent. nursing like a champion now

Doula & lactation consultant for a first time mom?

Jan 2008

Can anybody recommend a doula & lactation consultant for a first time mom? I'll be having my baby in May and would like to have the support of a lactation consultant in addition to a doula. I had breast cancer 10 years ago and I'm not sure if I will be able to manage breastfeeding (although I'd love to try). So far I only have found women with expertise in one of the areas, not both, and Janaki unfortunately is booked as a doula around my due date. Hopeful mom-to-be

I don't she's a doula but just in case I thought I'd tell you about an amazing lactation consultant that we found by accident at Alta Bates. After a parade of nurses and other consultants streaming through my room with different advice for four days, Ann Haus, was a dream. She focused on me (more than the baby, who was fine as opposed to me who was a wreck!) and quickly figured out a plan that worked for me. Then, we hired her to come to our house after the baby was born. In the end, I decided not to breast feed but her support and great ideas helped a really difficult decision to be okay. You can find her through Alta Bates at (510) 204-7701. thrilled with ann

Carol Shattuck-Rice was our post-partum doula, and she works with Janaki. While she isn't technically a Lactation Consultant, she saved us with the breastfeeding -- she really has a knack for seeing what's going on and helped us get it going well! We would highly recommend her - she's smart, kind, thoughtful, practical and really helpful! Laura

I would highly reccomend Ann Haus as a lacatation consultant. In fact, the breast feeding support group at Alta Bates is a wonderful service. One on one lactation consultants can be very expensive and through the breast feeding support group you can get advice from Ann or Michelle (who is also wonderful but I don't know her last name) for free the frist time and then $10 for other visits to the group. (It's also nice just to see other mom's struggling with similar issues.) My daughter is turning 1 and Ann still answered emails from me without charge last month when it looking like maybe my daughter was self weaning. I believe that for a higher fee you can also get one-on-one sessions with Ann. I'm not sure if Ann is also a doula. Best of luck to you! thank you Ann!

Lactation consultant experienced with twins

June 2007

I am a new mom of four week old twins. I am looking for recommendations for a lactation consultant who has experience with twins. My milk supply is good and the babies are getting all breast milk from a bottle, but, the babies were 5 weeks early and are still not latching well as their mouths are small and I have flat nipples. I really want to be able to get the babies to the breast and, though I am happy I am able to pump so much, I am worried that they will never really get the hang of breast feeding. Any recommendations very much appreciated! Natalie

I used go to the Twins by The Bay new parents support group and there were several moms who had the same problem. They highly recommened the Medela Nipple Shield which is geared to helping w/ latching on. Here's a link to their website: I've seen the nipple shields at Target, so they aren't hard to find. Good luck! mama of twins

Hello new twin mama...I would like to recommend a couple of lactation consultants. Denise Barkasy is wonderful 925-945-7100 and Tricia Soliz (a mother of twins herself) at 925-355-8199.
Karen Founder, DoubleTalk & Babies2Sleep and a mother of twins! Karen

Lactation consultant knowledgable about BFAR

May 2007

i would appreciate recs for a lactation consultant who is knowledgeable about breastfeeding after reduction surgery (bfar.) i also have no idea how much they charge, assuming it's pricey, a sliding scale would be helpful. in addition, if anyone has information about renting a hospital grade pump and/or purchasing a medela supplemental nursing system or lact-aid, i'd appreciate that, too. thanks! hoping to breastfeed

I highly recommend Janaki Costello as a lactation consultant. She is located in Albany and her phone number is 510-525-1155. I personally found her helpful, and have heard recommendations for her from many other people. I am an adoptive mom who breastfed my son from birth, initially using a supplementer and eventually developing a full milk supply. I found it a highly rewarding experience, for both my son and myself, and well worth the extra challenges involved. The experience of breastfeeding with a supplementer due to breast reduction surgery is similar to adoptive breastfeeding, although there are some differences. Sally

I also had a breast reduction and saw a wonderful lactation consultant in Albany. Her name is Janaki Costello. She worked with me to make a plan to increase production, and we kept in touch via phone to monitor how things were going. She is very warm, experienced, and knowledgeable and I recommend her highly! Her office is on San Pablo, not too far from Solano. Her phone number is 525-1155. She also sells supplemental nursing systems. As far as renting a pump, I rented a top-of-the-line one (Medela Symphony) from Alta Bates. Best of luck! albany mom

Hi - Pat Ross in Walnut Creek Kaiser is amazing. Also Apria Healthcare has hospital grade pumps you can rent. Good Luck!

For a lactation consultant, I would add my rave reviews to those already listed on BPN for Janaki Costello, in Albany at 510-525-1155. I don't know if she has experience with BFAR, but I'm sure she'd tell you whether she does. As for pumps, I have a Medela Pump In Style but I rented the hospital grade Symphony from the breast feeding office at Alta Bates, and I find it far superior. It is quieter, much more comfortable (it feels like it's sucking less hard), while at the same time actually pumps more milk. The downside of the Symphony (and perhaps all the hospital grade ones) is that it is much more cumbersome to tote with you. (Pump In Style is great for that.) You might want to start with the rental, since it's less money to start out than buying one. If you haven't had the baby yet, and you deliver at a hospital, you can try out whatever pump they have there. Also, if you do deliver at Alta Bates, check out the Breast Feeding Office -- they have pumps to rent and lactation consultants. The lactation consultants in the hospital might know enough about BFAR to get you started so you won't have to pay for a private one.

Once you have the baby, if you're needing more help, I think paying for a visit with Janaki, while pricey (though she may slide for you), may be a good deal. She is SO NICE. She has given me (free) advice over the phone NUMEROUS times since our initial consultation about all kinds of new questions. She remembers me and is eager to hear how things are going. Good luck! lg

A word of caution on the lactation support group at Alta's cheap ($9/session) and convenient, but the lactation consultants are obsessed with ounces. They weigh babies before and after a feeding, and make moms feel awful if the baby is not eating the right number of ounces at each feeding and exactly on the growth curve. The health educators make you feel guilty in a sweet, singsongy voice, and recommend formula if you're off the growth curve. So much for lactation support. My advice on the Alta Bates ''support'' group - let your doctor worry about the weight, and skip the weighing at the support group and focus on the support and latching techinques. - Anon

Earlier Recommendations

Feb 2005

I'm looking for a lactation consultant who has experience working with women with very large, pendulous breasts. I'm having problems finding a comfortable position to breastfeed my baby, avoiding crushing her, and having her latch and keep her latch, as my breasts are bigger and heavier than she is. Thanks! anon

Janaki Costello was a life-saver when we were struggling with breastfeeding our son. Though our issues were different than yours, you might just want to call her and ask her if she can help you. She is excellent all-around and can be reached at her office at 525-1155. Yours, Breastfeedingly-challenged

janaki costello - she did wonders for a friend in the same situation. anon

Janaki Costello is an absolutely superb lactation consultant. I did not see her for your particular problem, but I am sure she would be very helpful to you. I had many breastfeeding problems and saw a number of lactation consultants, and Janaki was by far the best. She's smart, practical, friendly, intuitive, generous with her time, and very knowledgeable. Her office is in Albany near Solano; her number is 525-1155. anonymous

Hi- Saw your post about having problems keeping your baby latched on. I have nursed two children for the past 4 years. I find that I must hold the breast while the baby is nursing, lifting it slightly. This makes a huge difference in keeping the milk flowing. Once you get used to it, you will find holding the breast is much easier than not, and the baby will nurse longer. I also want to suggest, as I always do, that you learn to nurse lying down. This is an absolute must for all nursing moms. If lying on your right side, you would extend your right arm, the baby would lie under your upper arm, and you would use your left hand to hold your breast. Vice versa for the left side. I can't overemphasize how important it is to learn to nurse lying down. You will be able to nurse very relaxed, even fall asleep with your baby easily. But you may need to take precautions so that baby doesn't fall out of bed later! Bed rails, moving the bed against the wall.... Check the La Leche website, for more hints on latch, also, search on ''breast compression'' I just found this on the web: Good luck- you are giving your baby and yourself a wonderful gift- hang in there! Nursing Mommy

I highly recommend Janaki Costello, located on San Pablo near Solano. I'm sure she's in the white pages or you can find her on the internet. I saw her after the birth of my son last year and she was very helpful. I don't have particularly large breasts but I know she's been doing this for a long time and has lots of experience. Good luck! Kim

I don't have a lactation consultant to recommend but I also have very large pendulous breasts and had similar issues - with 2 kids. Maybe my solution can help you. The most comfortable way for me to breastfeed my daughter is to lie on my side on the bed and have her lie next to me but on her back. I know they always say ''tummy to tummy'' but with her on her back, she's pulled away from my breast more and then it doesn't smother her. Also, the bed helps hold the breast in place so she stays latched on. I use my hand to support the breast also and push and flatten the top part of it away from my baby's nose. Finally, after she is latched on, I check to make sure her nose is clear and if not, I shift slightly down and away from her until it is. She doesn't seem to mind at all and is getting quite chubby so something is working. I did the same with my older daughter. Hope this helps. Big Boobs Too

May 2004

Hello to all and especially to those with whom I had the privilege to assit with breastfeeding challenges over the past 20 years. I thank you for the positive feedback. Yes, the BayArea Lactation Center had to close due to financial and personal reasons. I moved out of the area to Mendocino Cty, but still return once or twice a month to see clients in the Bay Area. Also, I still work at Alta Bates when I come down.

I give free phone (510-541-4000) and internet advice. Please feel free to contact me. If you need immediate home visit assistance, I will refer you to those that I trust and value their expertise.

Take good care,
Bonnie L. Bruce RN, IBCLC
bbruce AT

October 2002

Can anyone tell me if Kaiser covers in-home lactation consultant visits, and if so can you also recommend one or two? Leslie

I had horrible problems Breastfeeding my now 6 month old son and found the LCs at Kaiser to be really first class. As far as I know Kaiser pays for a home health care nurse after you are discharged from the hospital for free if it is your first. After that you need to go to Kaiser for the appointments (I went to Oakland.) Joanne Jasson (sp?) and Suzy (Can't remember the last name) but there is a Sue too who is different, were the ones that helped me the most. When my son didn't gain weight well, they saw me for 3x/week for about a month until he was gaining weight and all our issues were gone. They were so helpful and amazing and I never had to use formula (although they are open to it and non-judgemental) and I am still happily breastfeeding more than 6 months later problem-free. They also answer some questions via phone. They are understanding of the fact it is hard for new moms to come in and spend lots of time with you, however they are often running late so be prepared for that.

It is an amazing resource and you don't pay for visits. I gained huge amounts of respect for Kaiser for providing this free service while my friends with other insurance plans had to pay $80 or more /visit with their LC.

If you want someone at home not at Kaiser I know Janaki Costello (525-1155) makes house calls and is excellent. Hope this helps. ilfeld

I would call Kaiser Oakland and ask if Joanne Jasson can do a home visit. If she can't - pay her a visit at Kaiser. She has a magic nursing chair and a magical presence that helped me get my 3.5 month old latched on after three visits. This was after 3 months of working at it with other lactation specialists, all in my home. Debbie

I had great success with Evelyn, a lactation consultant at Kaiser in San Francisco. It took several visits to her office before my multiple problems were solved, but it was worth it. She was incredibly supportive and without her help I know I would have given up on breastfeeding. They do not do home visits at Kaiser, but they will spend lengthy amounts of time on the phone. Depending on your problem, this might help, but most likely they will want to see you nursing your baby. Best of luck! anonymous

The lactation consultant at Kaiser Walnut Creek is great - her name is Pat Ross. She doesn't (Kaiser doesn't) make home visits that I know of. Sharon

To my knowledge the lactation consultants do not visit at home (there's just the first home visit w/ in a few days of birth by an np or lpn; she did check on the nursing, btw). That said I really was helped by several lengthy phone conversations w/ lactation consultants at kaiser. Joanne in particular but Sue and others whose names I don't recall. They will also see you at their office. As many of my friends and I observed, the problem with going there is that they focus on achieving the best possible nursing right there at that time in their chair w/ their brest friend (the single most important nursing related purchase I made after soothies (which I learned of from this community)). So you can go home and feel completely incompetent at home all over again. I'd bring a partner or friend to take notes or even take a digital photo graph if it gets going well while you are there. And they will spend a lot of time with you at your appointment. I'd also go to the mommy group kaiser sponsers. The women I met there started meeting separately and we were passing nursing tips and nursing when we met and did some self help. JW

When I was having nursing problems (with the *second* kid, what a surprise), I found the lactation consultants at Kaiser very helpful indeed. But I had to go to the Medical Center, they didn't offer to come to me. This was in summer 2000. Avi

I don't know about Kaiser but I've recently had two lactation consultants do home visits and both were good. Tina Benitez phone number is 639-4845. She is sick right now so I also had Fritzi Drosten 652-1173. It is expensive but they were both quite available for follow-up by phone and spent a lot of time. Leah

What happened to Bay Area Lactation Center?


Does anybody where the Bay Area Lactation Center has gone? I noticed that the office across from Alta Bates is vacant, and when I called the phone number got no answer. They were so great when I had problems with baby #1, and even though I'm hoping I don't have problems with baby #2, would like to be able to contact them if needed, if they're still in business. Thanks, Jody

I hadn't noticed that they had moved/closed but you might want to try calling Alta Bates' maternity ward's nurses desk. Bonnie Bruce has been a lactation consultant and nurse at AB for years. They should know how to find her. Please post the new location if you find it. I was really grateful for their excellent help in navigating nursing after breast reduction and was hoping for their support w/ baby # 2 due in Sept. should we need! Colleen

Unfortunately, the Bay Area Lactation Center has closed. We just had a private breastfeeding class from Bonnie Bruce, and she told us that she is returning to private practice, so you would need to contact her on an an individual consultation basis. Karen

Bonnie Bruce's number is still 510-428-0791. She is still available for consults even though the center is closed. Sherry

Sorry, I do not know about the Bay Area Lactation Center, but there are a few resources still available to nursing mothers. La Leche League has groups in Oabland, Berekeley, Alameda, Walnut Creek and others. Call the referal line for location and phone nos of leaders closest to you. Women's Health Center in Walnut Creek has a big staff of fabulous lactation consultants, classes, and support groups. The new Nurture Center in Lafayette has pump rentals, support groups and friendly people. Hope you won't need help with baby #2, you are an old nursing pro by now, but as each baby is different, different issues might come up. Going to LLL meetings or other support groups could be of great help to review and connect with people and resources. Good luck. Ksenija

my understanding is that the bay area lactation center is closed permanently. if you would like a referral to a private practice lactation consultant, who will come to your home and work with you for a couple horus , and do follow-up, etc., i would be happy to give you some numbers! Lyla

About 1-2 months ago I went over there to look at some furniture they were selling. Surpisingly, they are not relocating. One of the two owners/operators was leaving the country (if my memory serves me correctly) and the 2nd one decided to move to a different type of work. Krystyna

The Bay Area Lactation Center has closed down. The Lactation Consultant who did private consultations there is Bonnie Bruce, IBCLC, and she still does consultations at her home in Oakland (510-428-0791). Prior to closing, Yvette Webster (who ran the Center) was referring customers to The Nurture Center in Lafayette. We provide referrals to lactation consultants and do breast pump sales and rentals, carry replacement parts and nursing bras and other gear. We can be reached at 925-283-1346 or info at

Oct 1999

I highly recommend Bonnie Bruce from the Bay Area Lactation Center--if it weren't for her, I would have given up! Bonnie was extremely professional, reassuring, supportive, and most of all practical. She phoned me every day after our meeting to see how I was doing and I still call her with questions (my daughter is now 3 and a half months old). I called a few other lactation consultants before I (thankfully) found Bonnie and the few I spoke with were a little woo-woo, and frankly made me feel worse than I already felt at the time. All is can tell you is that Bonnie is the best in my book--and I've since spoken to many other women who went to see her and got lots of sound advice for everything from problems with latching to going back to work. Hope this helps.

I just wanted to add my very positive experience of Bonnie Bruce to the recommendations already given. I had a very difficult post-partum experience 3 and a half years ago -- breastfeeding was difficult and on top of that I had serious medical complications. She was great in all the ways mentioned by others. In addition, I was very appreciative of her non-judgmental attitude about breastfeeding. Even though in the event I was able to continue breastfeeding despite the difficulties, I felt that she would have been fully supportive if I had decided to switch to bottle-feeding instead. That seems to me to be very important in a lactation consultant -- you don't want someone who is going to make you feel bad if you're not able to carry through with it. Hannah

I would like to put in a plug for the new Bay Area Lactation Center behind Alta Bates Hospital. While I have never done a full consultation with them, both Bonnie and Yvette have been extremely helpful during casual conversations while I was there to purchase Bravado nursing bras, Avent supplies and Pump-in-Style replacement parts. They do offer complete consultation services. It is a wonderful little store and resource for the community. Please help support them. It would be wonderful to see them thrive. Lisa

I highly recommend Bonnie Bruce, the co-owner of Bay Area Lactation Center located behind Alta Bates Hospital on Regent. The number is 209-9703 and the web site is . Bonnie is absolutely great! When I had problems she saw me on an emergency basis. She then made several follow-up calls to check up on me and baby. Bonnie has some 20 years as a L nurse about 17 years as a registered lactation specialist. She carries a wide variety of pumps and nursing equipment (such as pillows, tubing, supplemental feeders, tea, etc.). She also stocks nursing bras and premie clothes. Bonnie is great! I highly recommend her. I still drop by from time to time just to say hello! Jeanette

In response to the person looking for a lactation consultant to make house calls, I highly recommend both Bonnie Bruce and Janaki Costello as I have used the professional services of both. Bonnie Bruce operates Bay Area Lactation Center and is an R.N. at nearby Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley. I met Bonnie when my son was 2 weeks old because he was slow in regaining his birth weight. His (former) pediatrician was pushing me to supplement with formula, an action I wanted to avoid because I was concerned about nipple confusion, and the effect of supplementing on my milk supply. At my request the pediatrician gave me a referral to Bonnie, whose home visit was covered by our HMO (Healthnet) after much haggling with Alta Bates Medical Group. Bonnie was extremely thorough, professional and reassuring and her advice was very effective. Our son made tremendous gains in weight only 3-4 days after our initial appointment. Bonnie was always generous with free advice and support when I was in the neighborhood and stopped by to say hello (our son's pediatrician is nearby). I can't say enough good things about either of these caring, professional women. Paula

I can highly recommend Bonnie Bruce/Care After Birth: (510) 428-0791. Bonnie is an RN at Alta Bates as well as a lactation consultant who does home visits. She is knowledgeable, warm and reassuring, rents breast pumps (and sells used pumps too). She was also savvy enough to tell me to ask my OB or pediatrician to write a prescription for her services so that I could get reimbursed by insurance for her visits. jen (6/99)

From: Dylyn (6/99)

I used Joanne Bergeson (not sure if that's the right spelling) and highly recommend her. She came recommended by our pediatrician who coordinated everything from getting in touch with her to getting her set up with Health Net so that the visit would be covered under our insurance. Joanne is warm, friendly and is also a labor and delivery nurse at Summit Hospital. She came to my home the day after we got home from the hospital and was also very helpful over the phone.

Caroline 10/99
I highly recommend Janaki Costello who is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who is just passionate about her work. She has been helping nursing moms in the East Bay for years and is caring and very experienced. Janaki can be reached at 510-525-1155.

From: Paula (6/99)

In response to the person looking for a lactation consultant to make house calls, I highly recommend both Bonnie Bruce and Janaki Costello as I have used the professional services of both. Janaki Costello is also a certified Doula and a certified Childbirth Educator who lives in El Cerrito. Janaki was our back-up Doula whom we met one time before our baby was born. My husband and I had liked her immediately! When our son's weight began dropping at 6 weeks of age, her proximity to our home made her a natural choice. Following her initial lengthy visit, Janaki spent extensive amounts of time in person and on the telephone providing free instruction, encouragement and emotional support that helped us successfully weather a very challenging period. Our son is now 9-1/2 months old and still nursing and growing well. I can't say enough good things about either of these caring, professional women.

Janaki Costello is a wonderful lactation consultant. She can be reached at 525-1155. You can read recommendations about her doula work at the parents website (you'll be able to get a sense of how great she is to work with).
Laurie (6/99)

Janaki Costello is the best there is. She can be reached at (510) 525-1155.
MH (6/99)