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Meet Katherine Havener of Elea Press and Lactation Services

Today we’d like to introduce you to Katherine Havener.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Katherine. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My passion for breastfeeding started when my second daughter was born at our home in Santa Clarita more than 11 years ago. I had made the decision, before she was born, to exclusively breastfeed her, because I had mixed fed her older sister and wanted to do more this time around. Like many moms, those early days of breastfeeding were challenging as I dealt with cracked and painful nipples. Even with the support of my fabulous midwife Davi Kaur Khalsa, I knew I needed more help. Gathering my courage together, I attended my first La Leche League (LLL) meeting. I found other like-minded mothers who were there to receive information and support.

The breastfeeding challenges soon dropped away, and I began loving breastfeeding. I loved how close it made me feel to my baby, and how my nutritious milk was helping her grow and thrive. Months passed, and then years. When my daughter was 22 months old, she was still waking to nurse every two hours at night. And even though we co-slept, and I could just easily roll over to nurse her, I was still desperate for uninterrupted sleep. I wanted to night wean her, but it was really hard – she didn’t want to stop nursing at night. “Night” and “day” and “no” are challenging concepts for a toddler.

One night inspiration – a gift from God – struck. The title and words for a children’s book on nightweaning poured out of my soul and onto the paper. Nursies When the Sun Shines was born. I began researching my publishing options, and ultimately decided to create a publishing company and print the book myself. I found that traditional children’s books publishers are not keen on printing books that feature breasts or breastfeeding; and that by self-publishing, my profit margin per book would be higher and I would have all creative control, including selecting my own illustrator.

I was blessed to find the uber-talented Sara Burrier to illustrate the book with her gorgeous, sleepy watercolor work. Paul Emerson, LA-based actor/director/artist/all-around genius, art directed the book and helped bring the vision to life. Once published, I was blessed to connect with actress Mayim Bialik and celebrity LA pediatrician Jay Gordon (at an LLL conference!) who were kind enough to make mention of the book on social media. And from there, book sales took off, nearly entirely on word of mouth. Nursies is now selling almost 5000 copies a year in countries all over the world, has a Spanish translation, and is one of the top selling “sleep disorder” books on Amazon.

My passion for breastfeeding goes beyond the book. Being so blessed by my early experiences with La Leche League, I became a leader and co-led my own very active group. And the more I learned in my breastfeeding support work as a Leader, the more I wanted to learn. I first became a Certified Lactation Counselor, and then a few years later, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I am now in private practice providing expert breastfeeding support and nightweaning consultations to women both in my local area (I now live east of San Francisco) and in LA and worldwide via Zoom.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has been smooth, I am grateful to say. I think that’s because I kept my expectations in check. At the outset of my business, I knew the most important goal was to put out a high-quality product that meets a need. And I knew that I had to be patient – that businesses take time to grow as more customers start sharing their good experiences with the product.

Elea Press and Lactation Services – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
My publishing company, Elea Press, publishes the children’s book Nursies When the Sun Shines, and its Spanish translation Lechita Al Amanecer. Nursies When the Sun Shines was the first-ever book to focus on night weaning. Its goal is to facilitate communication between parent and young child, thereby making the process of night weaning as gentle and easy as possible

I also provide lactation and nightweaning consulting online, worldwide, via Zoom. I do more than help with latch and positioning. I have advanced training in recognizing and assessing tethered oral tissues (tongue and lip ties) and structural issues that can impair breastfeeding. I believe that the gold standard for success in helping moms and babies with breastfeeding challenges involves support of a skilled IBCLC, infant bodywork (e.g. craniosacral therapy, infant chiropractic), and when required, a doctor or dentist experienced in releasing tongue and lip ties.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am always proud when I hear a midwife, doula, fellow lactation consultant, or mama recognize me online and say “We have your book at home!” or “I refer my clients to your book all the time!”

Pricing:

  • Nursies When the Sun Shines, available online from Amazon and other retailers, $10.99 USD.
  • Nursies When the Sun Shines, available PDF (nonprintable) at nursiesbook.com $9.99
  • Lactation and nightweaning consults via Zoom, $70/hour

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Brianna Ramos

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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