Today's episode we have another one of my favorite pages to follow and that is Rue the Boob Boss and Boss she is! Rue is an advanced registered nurse practitioner, a lactation consultant, a wife, a mom of two boys with a third on the way, and the CEO of The Perfect Push. One of the things she really enforces is helping parents not just survive but thrive in parenthood. There is so much that we covered that I split this into two parts so part two will be next week. let's just dive right into part one.
Christa: I’m so excited to have you on the show Rue. I know you are self-labeled as the Boob Boss which is so perfect for Mommy Knows Best. I first saw you through some of your reels so you have such awesome educational posts out there for moms. I think that's so helpful so just to get started, if you just tell us a little bit about who you are and your brand and we'll go from there.
Rue: Oh my god thanks Christa. It is such a pleasure to be here. You know I love your cookies a little too much but I absolutely love Mommy Knows Best Cookies and I’m Rue the Boob Boss, I’m a family nurse practitioner IBCLC. I own a lactation and parenting wellness clinic called The Perfect Push out here in Seattle Washington where actually our clinic is actually based in Redmond, and I’m literally obsessed with bumps, babies, and boobs. That is like my jam all day long and so the boob boss is somebody who's on Instagram and Facebook just disseminating information to new and expecting parents and answering questions because it's such a lonely world out there and I was just trying to find a fun and creative way to share information that sometimes can be a little blah or not always given to parents in ways that they can really wrap their heads around.
Christa: You do it in such a fun way that I think like learning about it is fun and it's exciting for parents that you know find your page. I think that's what we need too is like not just like handing them this manual and saying here read it but it's more just like fun exciting ways of doing that. You're from Zimbabwe and your kind of talk about your culture and how it really played into how important family and communal parenting was. Can you talk a little bit more about that?
Rue: Yeah, I was born and raised in Zimbabwe and one of the things that I would say long for being here and I’ve been here since my early 20s. It's just the sense of community especially when it comes to having a baby. Anytime a family welcomes a new child into their home, it's a family event. Everybody is excited about, everybody shows up for it, and there's so much support around. Something that I just feel like we don't get enough of at all in the United States. In our culture, there's definitely this sense of you all be fine, you've got doctors, you've got nurses, you've got pediatricians, midwives, you guys will be okay and you're supposed to be tired, that's what having a newborn baby is like. I am like I am so sick and tired of that notion. I preach thrive parenting and part of thrive parenting is this idea that with the right support. New parents can enjoy the newborn phase. You don't have to be tied to the point of your hair falling out or your teeth falling out, and losing your mind. In Zimbabwe, there's a practice called kugarira. Kugarira is when an older female family member actually moves into the home with you and they come in right before you have the baby. They get everything ready for you, get it all set up, and they stay with you up to six months after you have this baby and help take care of mom and baby but also teach mom how to take care of baby. Having that constant support and presence is like phenomenal and for me that was always my mom. Every time I’ve ever had a baby, my mom has been here with me and it has made a world of difference. I remember with my first son when he came and I was like I’m a labor and delivery nurse, I could do it all by myself, and I didn't want help and that ended up with me dropping my baby. This whole superwoman, you can do it all high-functioning, completely overrated. It's okay to ask for help, it's okay to want help, it's okay to want to sleep, and it's okay to get sleep. That's kind of my philosophy and we've tried with The Perfect Push to recreate that for new and expectant parents in the Seattle area.
Christa: We see all the posts that's like you have to be super mom, and do this and like get your body back and all these things that's like it's so quick and it's like that on the other hand it's like you need a village. It's so important that community and reaching out for help. How has your business changed because of covid and how are your kind of like adapting to help these moms in this kind of new crazy time we're living in?
Rue: Yeah! It's been insane. I’ve always been a big fan of prenatal lactation support. That's always been like the thing that I hope on quite a bit but then covid hit and then it's suddenly I was like oh my god this is critical because what ends up happening is mom has baby and the all these things that we could have caught early on in the while mom was still pregnant and figured out this is the kind of pump that you're going to need. You've got inverted nipples, let's try and see if we can get them to pop out. You've got insufficient glandular tissues, so you may have a low amount of milk supply so I need you to stop pumping from day one. So what does that really look like? And families where having a baby and then all of a sudden trying to get into lactation or find somebody to come to you and covid was close to impossible so everybody was like super super stressed out. I was like what if we got you ready ahead of time which is something that I’ve been saying over and over again. Breastfeeding begins the baby so let's get moms ready before baby comes. Let's get families ready, get everybody ready to how are we going to feed this baby. How are you going to keep this baby alive, and take care of this little human? That's one thing that we've pushed and we've been doing so much more of and the beauty of it is it can be done virtually. It is one of the things that I love doing virtually. We have a secure hipaa protected medical record, so a lot of times I’m like to moms, okay so go ahead and flash me so I can see the equipment. It's so weird how many things have become so normal to do on video because before you'd be like you want me to what on video? Is anyone else watching? Can I be sure this isn't going to be streamed somewhere? So we've had to make adaptations. We're so fortunate that the medical record we're using already had video conferencing calls in there, so it was a super simple switch but when it comes to actual lactation consults, I have tried to do them virtually and in a pinch I will but it's such a hands-on thing. It's really really hard to and we've had parents where they're trying to manipulate the video that can you see can you see I’m like no. I don't know what I’m looking at so we've increased our appointment times just to accommodate having just one family in the clinic at any given time, cut down our staff in the clinic again just so that we can you know limit exposure. We're using all the PPE just again to protect our families, taking temperatures, doing the covid questionnaires. We're super fortunate that our patient population generally is staying safe because they are either pregnant or they welcome a new baby. So most people are social distancing, most people quarantining anyway, so we've been really really lucky and knock on wood we haven't had any covid scares or any concerns in our clinic so far.
Christa: I kind of want to switch gears a little bit, I know you also talk a lot about fertility and it's a topic we haven't talked about on this show before so I was so interested when I saw you discuss it. So fertility after 35, so what advice or tips do you have for women that are reaching that age or thinking about having kids later on in life?
Rue: The struggle is real. That is what I will say about that. If you follow me on Rue the Boob Boss, you'll kind of follow my journey and I have two boys. I have 7-year-old almost 8 and one who's gonna be 4 next months. I know time flies and I’m 37 now. I had my first son and I was like I’m never doing this again and then it took me three almost four years to be okay maybe we should do it. As soon as I gave birth to my second son, literally as soon as he came out I was like I cannot wait to do this again and it was insane. My husband's eyes are literally like popping out in his head, he's like what have we done like this is a lot. The one thing that I will say is a lot of times especially with parenting when you've got two like really hands-on, really involved parents, you can try and out-parent each other. You as a couple can get lost in this whole parenting journey so I’m always talking about how do you baby proof your marriage. Fast forward about three, four years it took about that long for me to convince my husband that we need to have another baby because he was like yeah no we're not doing this again. We barely made it through after baby number 2 so why would we have another one. We finally got in this great place and he's like okay fine so literally I wore my husband down. And then I was like yeah first baby, it was one of those oh what we're pregnant. And then second baby I took my iud out and never got my cycle the next month I was pregnant. So third baby, I was like yeah we're just gonna get pregnant and at 37 months one, then month two, then three, four, five. I’m like wait hold on, this is not what happens to, like I just get pregnant. This is not a problem and then I started having to really pay attention to like what does my cycle look like and is everything normal, and went in for a fertility screen and only to find out that I have fertility problems and it was such a rude awakening and it's not that I didn't know how your fertility starts to decline from the time you're in your 30s. Your fertility really starts to decline and there's so many women out there. I’ve been busy with raising the boys, running a business, just being a boss babe, doing what I do, and you always take it for granted. Especially if you've had babies that when I’m ready to have another one it's just going to happen and the first thing that any woman especially if you're in your 30s or getting closer to 35 is you don't have as much time as you think you do. One of the first things that you want to do is just check on your baseline fertility. So if you're 35 for sure and you're like okay I’m gonna start having a baby, we normally say to you try for six months and then after six months if nothing's happening come on in and we'll run some labs. No, don't try for six months, just go on in when you decide you want to have a baby, talk to your OB and say can you tell me where I stand? So that you're not trying for six months in vain because if I had just gone in and got my life's checked, I would have known that I wasn't going to be able to get pregnant without a little bit of help. Like it was never going to be able to happen for me just because of how everything was falling. Second thing I would say, is know your cycle and I think a lot of women especially if you've been on birth control or you've got an iud, your kind of get lost like who tracks their cycle anymore. There's so many apps that can help you do this but this is something that's really going to help you figure out like when are you ovulating. Because you only have about 12 to 24 hours that that egg when you ovulate is when that egg is released. And it only lives in your body for about 12 to 24 hours so you have such a narrow window for you to get pregnant. Knowing when that happens every single month is going to increase your chances so that you guys know when you're supposed to be doing the baby dance. So when I started tracking my cycle, I found out it was only 24 days which really wasn't giving me enough time for me to even get pregnant and stay pregnant, which was the big issue. Fortunately for me, I started working with fertility and it's been mind-blowing. I’ve wasted about five months before I actually figured out what was going on because I was like oh no it's gonna be fine and I think in your 30s, especially late 30s you don't have the luxury of doing that because every single year that passes, your chances of getting pregnant without any help continue to decrease.
Christa: That's such a good point about really knowing your body and knowing what's normal for you and getting the fertility check too because I think, you're right, a lot of times people are like oh I got plenty of time. So when someone does get pregnant 35 plus, how does that pregnancy kind of differ?
Rue: You know there's the term that we also love, geriatric pregnancy. After 35, you're considered advanced to maternal age and high risk. We do know when you're born as a woman, you're born with all the eggs that you're ever gonna have. And so with time, all they're doing is aging and that's part of the issue that we have and so I always like to say you know I’ve got like scrambled eggs because it's just 37 years later my eggs are like tired. They're going to be a lot of genetic changes that potentially can happen so women in their late 30s are more at risk of having genetic disorders and which is why they do a ton more testing. You're also at high risk of diabetes, gestational diabetes, hypertension, developing preeclampsia, so needless to say, they're going to handle you, excuse the pun, like an egg and everybody is just going to want to keep you know hawk eyes on you and definitely make sure that the pregnancy is progressing that normally. It's not only harder to get pregnant and older it's also harder to stay pregnant. It's like this double whammy. Everybody is definitely keeping an eye on you a little closer, you're gonna be seeing your obstetrician, or your midwife a little bit more often. There's been a lot of talk I’m hearing now especially once you're in your late 30s getting into 40s and you're pregnant about not letting moms get definitely they're not going to let you go over 40 weeks. We know your plus is gonna age and they've had better outcomes when they start inducing moms which I’m not a big fan of but at like 39 weeks, trying to get moms to deliver about 39 weeks as opposed to letting them go all the way through to 40-41 weeks. Those are all the things that you know start getting pulled off the table so in your late 30s, your medical care is going to be just more medical.
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