The Open Arms experienced lactation support providers give no-cost, community-based lactation support to families.

Lactation Support Peer Counselors prepare families for their feeding journey by providing education during pregnancy. Once the baby is born the counselors and consultants provide lactation support within the first 24 hours of life, conducting frequent check-ins during the first eight weeks of the postpartum period. Families may continue receiving one on one support from their counselor through the first postpartum year. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, our lactation providers are currently being matched with clients and conducting visits via phone and video conferencing with urgent in-person support being provided on a case-by-case basis.

Please see our COVID-19 Resource Page for information and resources to help your family.

Meet our Lactation Support Peer Counselors

Elizabeth Montez, IBCLC

American Indian/Alaska Native and Latinx/e Communities

Elizabeth Montez, IBCLC, is the Lactation Clinical Co-Lead with Open Arms Perinatal Services, a postpartum doula, a perinatal mental health advocate, a retired professional chef, and eternal food justice advocate. She’s the mother of two sparkling humans, a member of the urban Native American and Latinx diaspora, a proud descendent of the Anishinaabe people of Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians.

After battling birth trauma, a failure to thrive diagnosis, a hidden tongue tie, barriers to care, and postpartum mood disruptions, she realized that birthing people and their families deserve more. Her personal journey includes actively decolonizing her life and restoring supportive community to families. Every time folks come together in collaboration and support, it creates strong medicine to restore the connection and strength that our families need to thrive; this work weaves us back together, and Elizabeth is honored to be a thread in this beautiful tapestry of humanity. “Food justice starts at birth, feeding babies can be a revolution.”

Shevonne Tsegaye, CLC

Black/African American Community

Shevonne Tsegaye, CLC is the Program Lead. She is a Certified Lactation Counselor, Pathway 1 IBCLC candidate, and full-spectrum doula who brings over two decades of community and professional experience into the work she does. During her own lactation journey with her three children, she nursed through tongue ties, persistent thrush, severe food allergies, perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, the preschool years, and sensory processing disorders. It was through these experiences that Shevonne recognized her passion for all things lactation.

As a lactation counselor, Shevonne’s cultural fluency allows her to support families from all walks of life — providing compassionate, trauma-informed care throughout their baby-feeding journeys. Trained in the ways of the traditional African American granny midwife and doula, she is passionate about reclaiming and restoring ancestral knowledge, traditions, and rituals. Her goal is to better support, strengthen, and empower families in her community. She is a healer, an advocate, an auntie, and a kind stranger to many.

“It is my mission to advance maternal health, amplify the voices of the most vulnerable, participate in deep ancestral healing to stop the cycle of intergenerational trauma within my family, and promote health in the Black community. I have the honor of being in this work during a time when, as a people, we are reclaiming our ancestral knowledge, leaning into the radical act of trusting our bodies’ abilities to create safe passages for our babies, and learning how to provide the best nourishment for our families.”

Markia Brinson, LSPC

Black/African American Community

Markia was born and raised in Seattle, Washington. She is a certified Lactation Support Peer Counselor and is trained as a Birth/Postpartum Doula with DONA. Markia also brings over 11 years of personal experience in raising and nursing three children of her own. Markia has a passion for advocating for breastfeeding/birthing mothers, especially in the Black community.

She is committed to aiding Black moms with the necessary lactation, birthing education, and resources in her community. Along with her passion for perinatal education and support, she also has an equal love for natural herbal remedies and supplements, which she incorporates into her everyday life. She loves to garden, hike, and hold tea parties (using her own herbal blends) with her children.

Amelia Martinez Martinez, LSPC

Latinx/Latine, Spanish speaking Community

Amelia was born and raised in Mexico City and came to Florida at 21 to reach her goal of becoming a doctor before the 2009 recession put that goal out of reach. After working in window installation, Amelia was inspired by women’s determination and strength to continue working to support Spanish-speaking women in some capacity. As a Lactation Support Peer Counselor for Spanish-speaking communities, Amelia continues to learn about the difficulties that prevent successful breastfeeding and impacts the well-being of families, as well as the health and development of our children due to the lack of support provided in Spanish.

She is excited to partner with Open Arms to provide breastfeeding support to the Latinx/e community and uses her voice to ensure that mothers are respected and listened to regarding their needs with breastfeeding. Amelia’s own experience with her 18-month-old daughter, as well as having family experience breastfeeding difficulties, has allowed Amelia to become familiar with common issues like congestion, short frenulum, torticollis, and mastitis. She has lived in Washington for the past nine years and loves walking through nature all year round. Taking walks inspires her and makes her fall in love with the incredible things our mother nature gives us to live.

Timeline

Let our Lactation Support Peer Counselors join you during your lactation journey…

Get connected with a Lactation Support Peer Counselor

Virtual Lactation Lounges

All families in need of lactation support are welcome to attend. Parents and caregivers can drop in during any stage of their lactating journey to ask questions and discuss challenges surrounding feeding. From pregnancy to introducing food, and the entire weaning process – our Lactation Support Peer Counselors are here for YOU!

Learn more

Are you pregnant?

Open Arms offers many services to serve pregnant families. You may qualify for our Supportive Pregnancy Groups, Birth Doula Services or Community-Based Outreach Doula services.

Learn more

Submit a referral

Our online form is the primary way to receive referrals. Clients are welcome to self-refer with this form. If you are unable to use the online form, referrals can still be made by submitting this printable referral form via email referral@openarmsps.org, fax 206-257-4146 or by calling the Intake Line at 206-866-0729.

Open Arms staff will usually reach out within five days to complete an intake conversation.

If you are a provider and would like to receive email updates about our Lactation Support Program please email lactation@openarmsps.org.