Lactation Consultants

allgaier cropAmber Allgaier

Amber Allgaier, BA, PCD(DONA), IBCLC, is a certified postpartum doula, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and mother of four.  She understands the needs of the new mother and enjoys the privilege of offering skilled support to new and experienced parents during this time of transition.  She has worked professionally with new families since 2008 and specializes in latch, positioning, slow weight gain, and low milk supply.

 

axelrod croppedLeslie Axelrod

Leslie D. Axelrod, MS, RD, IBCLC, has worked in the field of Maternal and Child health for the past 20 years.  She has been a certified Lactation Consultant since 2004.  During her career she worked as a pediatric dietitian at the Mayfair Medical Association.   She was also a nutrition educator and worked with a culturally diverse population for the Fairfax County Health Department in the Women, Infants and Children Program.  Leslie’s calm spirit and confidence building attitude make her an effective Lactation Consultant.  She enjoys her practice and welcomes follow up conversations with her clients.

Gina Boling Gina Boling, BA, IBCLC, truly embodies the term “multi-tasker.”  She has three boling croppedchildren and spends most of her free time attending their various sporting events, scouting activities and volunteering at school.  Gina began helping breastfeeding moms and babies as a volunteer counselor in 2004 and later formalized her training, completing her clinical practice hours under BCGW’s Pat Shelly and at a local hospital. As a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Gina enjoys working with moms and babies of all ages–from newborn to toddler.  In addition to meeting with breastfeeding families one-on-one, Gina also teaches the Center’s popular Breastfeeding Basics for Fathers and Partners and Breastfeeding Your Toddler.

Laura Emmons

Laura Emmons, RN, CNM, IBCLC, has been working with pregnant, laboring, and breastfeeding moms since 1990. She has “caught” (delivered) over 2000 babies in her career as a nurse-midwife, most recently at GW Hospital. She now loves focusing her attention solely on helping moms during the amazing but challenging postpartum period. Breastfeeding is a normal and natural process, but like birth, can benefit from extra support along the way, and can sometimes require expert help.  Laura benefitted from the assistance of an IBCLC after the birth of her first child, and she knows what it feels like to be overwhelmed when your baby is struggling to feed. Laura especially enjoys working with newborns. She lives with her husband and their two entertaining teenagers.

forester croppedJenna Forester

Jenna Forester RN, BSN, IBCLC has been working in the field of women’s health since 2009.  Upon graduating nursing school, she started her career in Labor and Delivery nursing, eventually moving to an OB/GYN office to help care for all aspects of women’s healthcare.  She was brought to the lactation field after breastfeeding her oldest daughter and seeing how much of breastfeeding is having a good knowledgeable support system and desiring to be that for other women. She enjoys helping women find the joy in breastfeeding as well as being a support to them through their entire breastfeeding journey, no matter how long that may be. Jenna lives with her husband, and two daughters.

holson croppedSuzanne Holson

Suzanne Holson, IBCLC, has been a certified Lactation Consultant since 2005. During her career she worked with many new families at George Washington University Hospital for more than 27 years in the field of maternal and infant health, as a breastfeeding specialist, and certified Lactation Consultant for over 7 years. Suzanne has worked with multiples as well as both term and high risk families and she specializes in newborns under 2 weeks old. She also works with new families at a pediatrician’s office in WDC. Suzanne feels every baby and family has their own unique rhythm and is pleased to be working with the Breastfeeding Center team as we assist each new family with their breastfeeding goals. Suzanne has three grown children and a beautiful granddaughter, Kendall. When she is not at the Breastfeeding Center, she enjoys spending time with family, watching her granddaughter grow and enjoying all of life’s daily miracles. She lives in Montclair VA with her husband and Scottish terrier Lacey.

Isabela Lessa

Isabela Lessa first earned her bachelor’s in Psychology at the University of Maryland and then went on to earn her Master’s in Public Health, with a concentration in Maternal and Child Health, at the George Washington University. There she developed an interest in breastfeeding, which became the topic of her masters’ thesis. After becoming a mother and experiencing her own breastfeeding struggles she joined La Leche League where she found help for herself, and soon discovered that she also enjoyed helping other mothers. She then went on to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She values evidence based practices and believes empathy and active listening are the bedrock of a successful consult. In her spare time she enjoys playing with her vivacious preschooler and sewing.

lopina croppedMaureen Lopina

Maureen Lopina, BA, IBCLC, has served growing families since 1991.  She was a Bradley Method childbirth educator for 13 years in Northern Virginia; has been accredited since 1993 as a La Leche League Leader, and was board certified as a Lactation Consultant in 2002.  She has trained staff from hospitals in both DC and Virginia in becoming “Baby Friendly.”  Never one to shy away from her passion, Maureen has advocated for breastfeeding at the local, state, and national level, but she is most satisfied when teaching and working with new mothers and babies. She has a daughter and two sons, all grown, and all happily breastfed. Maureen considers it a joy and an honor for her to support mothers at this crucial time in their lives.

 

mallin croppedNancy Mallin

Nancy Mallin, MA, IBCLC is passionate about helping mothers meet their personal breastfeeding goals in real world situations.  She began counseling nursing mothers in 1997 through La Leche League.  Leading Mother-to-mother support groups in suburban Maryland gives her a strong appreciation of breastfeeding behavior from the newborn period through toddlerhood and the pre-school years. Before motherhood led Nancy to breastfeeding, she enjoyed a career in Public Communications with experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.  When not reading, teaching, talking and thinking about breastfeeding Nancy is most likely to be singing.  She performs with several local groups.  She lives in Maryland with her husband, Monte; their two children; and a fuzzy dog, Kizmet.

Torey Potter

Torey Potter RN, BSN, IBCLC has been in the field of Maternal Child Health since 2002. After graduating from nursing school she worked in High Risk Obstetrics at a large hospital in Arizona. Upon moving to Washington, DC in 2005, she continued her career in Labor and Delivery at GW Hospital. She became more interested in the specialty of lactation after visiting the Breastfeeding Center as a client after the birth of her first son in 2006. She especially enjoys helping new families navigate challenges in the early days and weeks of parenthood and breastfeeding. She lives in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of DC and enjoys hiking, cooking, and travelling with her husband and two energetic sons (and their dog, Ollie).

shelly croppedPat Shelly

Pat Shelly, RN, MS, IBCLC, has over 30 years of experience in women’s and children’s health. She came to the world of lactation when nursing her sons, who are now grown. After working as a hospital breastfeeding program coordinator and running her own private practice for several years, Pat founded the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington in 1998 in order to expand the scope of breastfeeding-related services in the area and offer a centralized location to address breastfeeding moms’ varied needs. She lives in Annandale with her husband and her dogs.

 

Melony Teague  teague cropped

Melony Teague RN BSN CEIM IBCLC has been working in maternal child health for over 20 years. First in a mother baby unit and then in labor and delivery in CA, VA, and GA. After unexpected breastfeeding difficulties with her first child , she found La Leche League and soon became a leader. Her enjoyment of her experiences, in the US and overseas, helping mamas find their own nursing paths with information and support led her to become a International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She knew that this was the gold standard for professional caregiving in the field of lactation. She is passionate about helping women meet their breastfeeding goals using current research and active listening skills as the cornerstones of her practice.
She welcomes Spanish specking clients.
When she is not teaching or helping clients she enjoys reading, very often breastfeeding related books, knitting and studying Spanish. She lives in Fairfax with 3 rapidly growing children, one fence jumping dog and a patient and loving husband.

Margaret Wills Bio to come.wills cropped

Staff

 

caruso croppedGina Caruso (Deputy Director)  Gina has worked with the Breastfeeding Center since 2007 and is currently the Deputy Director for Breastfeeding Outreach for Greater Washington, our nonprofit arm. She oversees daily operations at The Center, manages the administrative staff, monitors and evaluates the success of programs and plans expansions of The Center’s services. In her free time, Gina loves exploring DC’s museums and parks, experimenting with new recipes and practicing or teaching yoga at Yoga District. She lives in NW DC with her boyfriend and their two cats.

 

Katie Shamp (Shop Manager)  Katie started work at the Center in Fall shamp cropped2012. She brings to the table years of nonprofit and retail experience. All of our breastfeeding products and apparel are carefully chosen by Katie to ensure the highest quality possible. Katie enjoys vegan cooking and running, and in the spring participated in the Tough Mudder, an obstacle course race that tests your endurance and athleticism.

 

 

steph headshot

Stephanie Sieswerda (Program Coordinator) started working with the Breastfeeding Center in the spring of 2015. She coordinates the Center’s many and varied classes. Through her studies with Jim McKenna and Darcia Narvaez at the University of Notre Dame, Stephanie has become a passionate advocate for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. When she’s not at the Center, Stephanie enjoys thinking about babies, reading about breastfeeding, riding her purple bicycle, and watching Notre Dame Football. She lives in NW DC with her boyfriend and their 4.5 bicycles.

 

 

 

Adrienne Cuffley (Administrator)

Class Instructors

Class Instructors

Classes are offered by Breastfeeding Outreach for Greater Washington.

clarke croppedAlleah Clarke – Mom and Baby Yoga, Prenatal Yoga, Babywearing Bio to come.

 

 

 

 

proctor croppedHannah Proctor – Cloth Diapering Basics Bio to come.

 

 

 

 

shelly croppedPat Shelly – Breastfeeding Basics, Breastpump Basics, Return to Work, 0-4 Month Group

Pat Shelly, RN, MS, IBCLC, has over 30 years of experience in women’s and children’s health. She came to the world of lactation when nursing her sons, who are now grown. After working as a hospital breastfeeding program coordinator and running her own private practice for several years, Pat founded the Breastfeeding Center for Greater Washington in 1998 in order to expand the scope of breastfeeding-related services in the area and offer a centralized location to address breastfeeding moms’ varied needs. She lives in Annandale with her husband and her dogs.

 

mallin croppedNancy Mallin – Sleep Basics, Baby Basics, Expectant Parent Sampler Class Nancy Mallin, MA, IBCLC is passionate about helping mothers meet their personal breastfeeding goals in real world situations.  She began counseling nursing mothers in 1997 through La Leche League.  Leading Mother-to-mother support groups in suburban Maryland gives her a strong appreciation of breastfeeding behavior from the newborn period through toddlerhood and the pre-school years. Before motherhood led Nancy to breastfeeding, she enjoyed a career in Public Communications with experience in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors.  When not reading, teaching, talking and thinking about breastfeeding Nancy is most likely to be singing.  She performs with several local groups.  She lives in Maryland with her husband, Monte; their two children; and a fuzzy dog, Kizmet.

boling cropped

Gina Boling – Breastfeeding for Fathers and Partners, Breastfeeding the Toddler Gina Boling, BA, IBCLC, truly embodies the term “multi-tasker.”  She has three children and spends most of her free time attending their various sporting events, scouting activities and volunteering at school.  Gina began helping breastfeeding moms and babies as a volunteer counselor in 2004 and later formalized her training, completing her clinical practice hours under BCGW’s Pat Shelly and at a local hospital. As a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, Gina enjoys working with moms and babies of all ages–from newborn to toddler.  In addition to meeting with breastfeeding families one-on-one, Gina also teaches the Center’s popular Breastfeeding Basics for Fathers and Partners and Breastfeeding Your Toddler.

wills croppedMargaret Wills – Breastfeeding the Infant Bio to come.

 

 

 

 

teague cropped

Melony Teague – Baby Basics, Sleep Basics, Expectant Parent Sampler Bio to come.

 

 

 

 

lopina croppedMaureen Lopina – 0-4 Month Group

Maureen Lopina, BA, IBCLC, has served growing families since 1991.  She was a Bradley Method childbirth educator for 13 years in Northern Virginia; has been accredited since 1993 as a La Leche League Leader, and was board certified as a Lactation Consultant in 2002.  She has trained staff from hospitals in both DC and Virginia in becoming “Baby Friendly.”  Never one to shy away from her passion, Maureen has advocated for breastfeeding at the local, state, and national level, but she is most satisfied when teaching and working with new mothers and babies. She has a daughter and two sons, all grown, and all happily breastfed. Maureen considers it a joy and an honor for her to support mothers at this crucial time in their lives.  

allgaier cropAmber Allgaier – Breastfeeding and Pumping Basics Amber Allgaier, BA, PCD(DONA), IBCLC, is a certified postpartum doula, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, and mother of four.  She understands the needs of the new mother and enjoys the privilege of offering skilled support to new and experienced parents during this time of transition.  She has worked professionally with new families since 2008 and specializes in latch, positioning, slow weight gain, and low milk supply.

 

Jennifer Graham LMT, CIMT, CPMT – Infant Massage

Jennifer is a nationally certified licensed massage therapist in MD and DC, a Certified Pediatric Massage Therapist, as well as a Certified Infant Massage Teacher through the Liddle Kidz Foundation. Jennifer received her Associates Degree in Health Education from Montgomery College. In Jennifer’s private practice, Soft Shoulders Massage, she enjoys creating a nurturing environment for her clients and believes that feeling cared for will help them toward deeper relaxation and greater body awareness. Jennifer is currently building a new private practice that is specifically designed for pediatric clients. Jennifer is also trained in Touch Therapy for children diagnosed with cancer, as well as children with trauma. Jennifer loves helping introduce healthy touch to children of all ages and seeing the positive impact it can have on a child and their family. When not teaching, taking classes, or studying, she can be found learning to speak Dutch, preparing for her next traveling adventure, reading, or hiking. She lives in Maryland with her son, Gareth, her dog, Angus, and her cat, Reggie.

 

Student Interns

Student Interns

 

We are lucky enough to have The George Washington University just blocks from our office, which means we get to work with their fantastic students every semester. These student interns help the staff with everything from stocking the shop to improving classes to fundraising. We are so grateful for their hard work!

Board of Directors

of Breastfeeding Outreach for Greater Washington

cooper cropped

Deborah Cooper  (President)

When Columbia Women’s Hospital closed (where The Center used to be located), a group of women (including Debby) banded together to keep The Breastfeeding Center going. So she and some other moms got to work setting up The Center’s nonprofit educational arm, Breastfeeding Outreach for Greater Washington (“BOGW”). Debby is a lawyer by training, but is in the process of becoming an interior designer. Like all of the busy volunteer Board members, she is committed to this cause, and loves to create successful breastfeeding relationships. She have been on the Board for seven years, and looks forward to working with our clients and supporters on the next chapter in the life of The Breastfeeding Center!

rief croppedMichelle Rief (Treasurer)

Michelle Rief is a former college professor and non-profit manager turned stay-at-home mom.  She discovered the Breastfeeding Center while pregnant with her first child in 2007 and attended the Center’s introductory classes.  When Michelle later encountered breastfeeding challenges as a new mom, she found consults with Pat Shelly to be invaluable.  The Center also provided Michelle with an introduction to babywearing, infant massage and baby’s first solids.  She is now the proud mother of three children and has served on the board of Breastfeeding Outreach for Greater Washington since 2008.

 

silver croppedLinsey Silver (Secretary) Bio to come.

Linsey Silver is principal of Element 47 Design, a design and communications firm on Capitol Hill. Linsey first fell in love with the center hours after her first child was born in 2006. Linsey is a former professor of Graphic Design who believes strongly in normalizing the breastfeeding experience through the community and expertise the Center provides. Linsey is proud of her role in establishing the visual presence of the center and looks forward to seeing it grow as an educational and community institution.

 

 

 

Kendra D. Link

Kendra D. Link currently serves as Senior Advisor for Policy and Operations at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), a foreign assistance agency of the U.S. government that supports priority development projects in emerging economies.  In this capacity, she provides comprehensive counsel, policy guidance, and strategic advice regarding agency activities.  From 2005-2010, she served as an Attorney-Advisor and Assistant General Counsel at USTDA.  Kendra has also served as the Director of Contracts and Procurement and subsequently, Special Advisor, for one of the largest 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Florida providing early care and education services to over 50,000 children annually, with a focus on children whose parents are economically disadvantaged, children who have been determined to be at risk of abuse, neglect, or exploitation, and children with special needs.  As the mother of 2 young children, she is passionate about helping children and families achieve early and life-long success and is committed to amplifying the impact of this invaluable resource to advance breastfeeding in her local community.

Dr. Nicole Lang

Dr. Nicole V. Lang is a board certified pediatrician with over 22 years experience in caring for children in the Washington metropolitan area.  She is the Founder, President and CEO of both Washington Pediatric Associates and the specialized extension of her practice called, Premier Pediatric Concierge Care.  The Concierge Service provides an even more personalized convenient and comprehensive approach to health, education and wellness.

She is recognized locally as one of Washington DC’s Top Pediatric Doctors according to Washingtonian, Washingtonian Mom, Washington Parent and the Washington Post.  She also serves as a National Trainer for Dr. T. Berry Brazelton’s Touchpoints Approach to pediatric medicine.  She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the AAMC Humanism in Medicine Award and the Dr MLK, Jr Medal for Outstanding Service in Human Rights.

Dr. Lang is a former Assistant Dean of Student and Curricular Affairs at the George Washington University School of Medicine (GWUSOM) and currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.  She is committed to medical education and teaching the next generation of pediatric healers.  To this end, she supervises students from the medical, nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs of GWUSOM.

Dr. Lang graduated from Trinity University where she earned a BS in Biochemistry.  She received her medical degree from the George Washington University School of Medicine and completed her pediatric residency at Emory University.  She has worked with Indian Health Service on the Crow Native American reservation in Montana.  Additionally, in the past, she spearheaded a partnership between GWUSOM, Physicians for Peace and Orotta Medical School in Eritrea, East Africa. Her areas of special interest include advocacy, cultural competency, pediatric literacy and spirituality & medicine.

She is married with one daughter, two dogs and resides in Washington, DC.

Dr. Lang actively volunteers in her community, at her daughter’s school, and has served on numerous boards.  She enjoys yoga, meditating, traveling and spending quality time with family and friends.

Hagar Palgi-Hacker

Hagar is an attorney focusing on health policy, with a strong interest in accessibility and affordability of health care, as well as women’s health issues and reproductive rights. Addressing social failures and supporting communities has been the motivating force in Hagar’s career and volunteer work. Prior to turning her focus to health policy, Hagar practiced law in criminal litigation and legislation in Israel. Her volunteer activities include counseling in a youth emergency shelter, providing legal aid in community centers and care-giving for children in Tanzania.

Hagar was first introduced to the Breastfeeding Center in the days following the birth of her son and continued to enjoy the various services offered by the Center in the years that followed. With the strong belief that every mother should have the support she needs in order to enable herself and her child to thrive, Hagar joined the Breastfeeding Center’s board in 2016.

Guest Instructors

Claire Bowe, M.Ed., PT, Cert. MDT

Claire has nearly 20 years of experience in healthcare. She is certified in Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (MDT) by the McKenzie Institute and is an Ergonomic Assessment Specialist under the United States Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Claire is certified to provide Active Release Techniques (ART) physical therapy and is an Ironman level partner and sponsor with ART.  Additionally she holds a master’s degree in Special Education with specialties in early intervention and teaching children who are blind or visually impaired. She has extensive experience in orthopedic therapy for athletes, is an expert in spine and back dysfunction, and in early intervention therapy for children. She has a B.S. from Oregon State University (Corvallis, Oregon), a Master’s in Education from the Portland State University (Portland, Oregon), and a Masters in Physical Therapy from the Governors State University (Chicago, Illinois). Claire Bowe, M.Ed., P.T., founded Rose Physical Therapy Group with the goal of providing a higher level of patient care. She believes in one-on-one therapy in which each therapist teams up with their respective clients to find an answer to the problem at hand. She believes in providing clients with state-of-the-art knowledge to help them recover. Outside of work, Claire enjoys hobbies that involve two wheels. She is an instructor for the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF) and teaches courses for Northern Virginia Community College and Apex Cycle Education. She also enjoys endurance riding on her vintage Honda Goldwing and track riding on her Triumph Daytona. She is also an avid bicyclist and is a member of the D.C. Randonneurs and the Washington Area Bicycle Association (WABA). She and her husband live in Capitol Hill.

Photos by Julie Kubal

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