A holistic approach to gently bringing baby into the flow of Family life
Andrea Syms-Brown IBCLC RLC CIMI
Andrea Syms-Brown is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in private practice.
Born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, she is very well established and highly regarded in New York City having been an independent Newborn Care Specialist/Educator for several years, a private practice IBCLC for twenty years and a Certified Infant Massage Instructor for almost fifteen years.
Andrea has served as both President (2012-14) and Education Director (2008-12) of the New York Lactation Consultant Association. She is the founder of Baby in the Family LLC which offered popular prenatal education workshops in group settings around New York City for almost two decades and now provides the same education and support virtually! A strong advocate for breastfeeding naturally, Andrea’s dedication to breastfeeding families is obvious in her work; providing multi-level breast-feeding support to her private clients in real time from anywhere in the world. Facilitating twice monthly free virtual Breastfeeding Limes (breastfeeding support groups)and volunteering her time at a shelter for homeless mothers is her way of giving back!
Based in New York City, Baby in the Family LLC provides prenatal education for the whole family and continuous postpartum support to clients around the globe via the internet.
READ ABOUT THE EFFICACY OF VIRTUAL SESSIONS...
"My wife & I were lucky to find Andrea and learn breastfeeding techniques from her. She was absolutely fantastic, had amazing tips, and was truly a pleasure to work with. Our baby was born in July, so we had to learn breastfeeding techniques remotely, over Zoom. With Andrea, it was like she was in the room. She was able to see things on the video that I could not see, sitting next to my wife while she tried to feed our kid. As soon as we hired her, we were a team, and all Andrea's emails were titled Team [Baby Name]. That made us feel cared for and special. As for the advice--it was plentiful, specific, caring, and empathetic. She also followed up with us regularly when we were too tired to reach out ourselves. 100/100!/A+/Highly Recommend!"
"Andrea is the reason I am breastfeeding my son today and I feel indebted to Andrea -- she is amazing! Andrea is the third IBCLC with whom I consulted. My first two experiences left me in lots of pain while nursing and upset and frustrated. I had already moved to pumping for all feeds, and only decided to take a chance on a third IBCLC because my son got sick on formula. I am so happy I did. I got Andrea's contact information through a new mom's network in NYC and reached out. My son has a tight jaw, and all other IBCLCs always focused on his latch. But Andrea totally changed the game. She taught me a whole new technique for breastfeeding -- new positioning, freeing his head to be independent and his jaw to work with gravity instead of against it. So the chomping, the biting, the pain -- it disappeared. I love breastfeeding my son now, and I owe that to Andrea.
Andrea is kind, patient, and very instructive. She's been very available to me via text, and followed up several times during our initial meetings to ensure I was doing ok and provide her advice. I had three sessions with her which were complementary and all necessary -- first to teach, second to 'tweak' (and she fixed some mistaken habits I had fallen into that made a big difference) and third to check-in and add in a new position. She is humble about her success! Because she does what so many others have failed to do for moms who would like to breastfeed but are being challenged."
"Trying to put into words how I feel about Andrea and the gratefulness I have for my decision to hire her virtually is almost impossible. I wouldn’t have made it without her! From the moment my husband and I first met her over FaceTime, my breastfeeding journey has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Leading up to reaching out I was struggling to get a good latch and with pain and in a matter of minutes she adjusted my hold and we were off to the races. And to top it off, Andrea has been a constant source and shoulder to lean on these last 11 months...always there to answer my questions, encourage me or hop on a virtual call to help us work thru any concerns or issues. Forever grateful my path lead me to her and could not recommend her enough!"
"I called Andrea after I went to my daughter, India's, 4 month check up and she wasn't gaining enough weight. I was so surprised that she hadn't gained enough weight from months 2 to 4 because before that she was right on track. I guess I just had it in my mind that that first few months were the most critical and would be the time something would go wrong. I started to get so stressed that I was driving myself crazy with pumping to see how much I was making and constantly trying to feed her. I was at the point where I was ready to start using formula because I was so worried my daughter wasn't getting enough to eat. I was talking to my best friend about all of this and she swore that if I called Andrea she would be able to help me. She was right.
After my initial virtual consultation with Andrea, she immediately saw from examining my nipples and watching my daughter nurse that her latch wasn't deep enough. Also, I was feeding her in a really awkward position for both of us, so she helped us learn natural breastfeeding. Not only has this way of breastfeeding helped India with her reflux, but it is so much more comfortable for me as well. Our first video call was just about 2 hours and since then we have had 2 more video calls and I have asked her numerous questions via text. I am much more confident breastfeeding now, but the best part is that India is also more confident. She knows that all she needs to do is turn her head and I will know she is hungry. It takes off so much of the pressure with scheduling and guessing when she is hungry because now she can just tell me. As Andrea says, India is the boss!
I am so grateful to have Andrea in mine and India's life. We would never have been able to have such a successful breastfeeding relationship without her expansive knowledge and gentle guidance. Thank you!!"
Working with Andrea has been so incredibly helpful, it's hard to put into words! A quick summary though -- life-changing, wonderful, kind, and so grateful for her support!
We first met Andrea at her Newborn Care class at the recommendation of friends. The class was incredibly relaxed, friendly, and super informative -- it felt like accessible information that we could actually recall and use once the baby arrived. I took 5 pages of notes in the class which we actually referenced and used once our baby arrived! And rented her Vimeo video as well -- a gem!
Our baby boy was born on Thanksgiving (!), and from the start, breastfeeding was quite painful -- my husband eventually would grab my ankle or knee forcefully to distract from the pain each time our baby latched on. I met with multiple nurses and LC's during my 2 days in the hospital and each had different suggestions, but all agreed that the latch looked good so the pain should subside with time. Unfortunately, the pain and discomfort continued, and during the December holidays, I realized I really needed help.
I kept looking at photos and articles about the correct latch, and one of the elements that was mentioned consistently, and seemed to be missing from the advice the hospital staff shared, was that the baby's head should be tilted back with their neck extended and nose free. The positioning they had suggested for me all had my baby's nose and chin tucked in versus extended back; my mama instinct (which I feared I might not have!) kicked in and I realized I needed to meet with an IBCLC. Because it was the week between Christmas and New Years', I realized that many IBCLC's would be unavailable, so I emailed a few in the hopes of finding someone who could help before the second week of January! I was overjoyed when Andrea replied saying she was available to meet -- I had already met her in person at the newborn care class and really felt comfortable with her, so was hopeful she was available! We setup an appointment for the following day. She was away from NY at the time, so we had to meet virtually -- when she told me this, I was a bit disappointed as I wasn't sure it would be as effective as an in-person session, but hopeful that it would still prove helpful.
Boy, was it life-changing! The call started with Andrea guiding me through a physical exam of my breasts, where she was able to identify clogged ducts visually, and then we moved onto the natural breastfeeding session. It was a bit awkward at first to change position, but I could immediately see a difference, and the first full feeding following her call I experienced fully 'drained' breasts for the first time since our baby arrived (people had asked me if the feedings were fully draining my breasts, and I didn't know what they meant until it actually happened). It was such a relief!!! My arms were a bit sore (only for the first 24 hours or so, as she promised!) with the new position, but quickly got used to the new position! Additionally, our baby, who used to nurse for 3-7 sides per feeding -- tiring himself out but then waking again shortly after, still hungry -- was now easily sticking to her easy feeding schedule of appetizer, entree, and dessert! It was like someone flipped a switch and we had a different existence!
She had us record multiple parts of the session so I would be able to reference back to positioning suggestions and tweaks, which has proven really helpful. We covered multiple nursing positions, as well as some help with pumping. Additionally, since our initial call as our baby has grown and made developmental leaps, Andrea has been accessible on text and email for feeding questions as they arise.
The session with Andrea was completely invaluable, truly the most helpful experience we've had throughout pregnancy and postpartum. We're so grateful to the friends who referred us to her, and happily recommend her to anyone who is about to have a new baby! I can't overstate how her support has improved our every day since meeting! Breastfeeding is a lovely experience now! And it’s all thanks to her!!! We love you Andrea!
"Andrea Syms Brown is AMAZING!!! Thoughtful, gentle, very knowledgeable."
'Andrea Syms-Brown has been critical to my success in nursing both of my children, and I feel so lucky to have found her. Her wisdom, experience, and warmth are unparalleled. I worked with Andrea in-person with my first child and virtually with my second. Her virtual consultation was not only convenient, it was just as helpful, effective, and supportive as her in-person consultation was. In our virtual consult, Andrea was able to assess and correct my daughter's latch, helping to minimize my discomfort, and accurately identify ties in her mouth. Those ties were later confirmed by an oral surgeon. Andrea has always made herself available to me for follow up sessions and responds quickly to questions sent over email. When a dear friend mentioned she was having trouble nursing her daughter, I was thrilled to be able to refer her to Andrea for a virtual consult. I could not have more confidence in Andrea and recommend her virtual consults without hesitation.
Andrea was a true lifesaver for me, my wife and our baby Rivers. After he was born we struggled with his latch, nipple damage, engorgement, and mastitis. I had looked forward to breastfeeding for my entire pregnancy, so when each feeding became a source of pain and struggle I was devastated. My midwife recommended Andrea to us, and within 10 minutes of our first virtual session my baby was latched calmly, and was eating his fill, and all without pain. I cried tears of joy. I had felt like a failure for not being able to breastfeed easily, and Andrea was so empowering and calming, and it's so clear that she loves her work. She helped my family tremendously and we’re so grateful for her!
"I had a miserable experience with nursing...bleeding nipples, fissure through the nipple, clogged ducts, etc. I ended up with a lactation consultant who was of no help, but then someone recommended Andrea Syms-Brown. I LOVE HER!!!! Andrea taught me how to nurse. Period. Without it hurting. She taught me how to nurse without pillows, in multiple positions, standing up, lying down, walking around. She spent hours during her visit- she conducted a thorough assessment and didn't leave until I felt comfortable giving it a go on my own. She taught me how to control my flow, how to clear my clogged ducts. What I loved even more about her was that she was supportive and available whenever I needed her, and that was often :) We spoke on the phone, emailed, and texted. She also runs a nursing support group. It used to meet at Gumbo on Atlantic, but I believe she's now somewhere in Park Slope. I learned so much about the myths and truths of breastfeeding and motherhood during those groups. Anyway, I highly highly highly recommend Andrea. I wouldn't have been able to continue nursing without her."
"I highly recommend Andrea Syms-Brown as a lactation consultant. I saw Andrea for the first time 4 days after having my child when I was frustrated, struggling and in pain from trying to breastfeed. Andrea turned things around for us almost instantly. Her approach is gentle, intuitive and very supportive. Within minutes she had helped me to have my daughter latch and we have been able to maintain all of the gains since her visit. After meeting with her you have access to her via phone, text, and video until your child is weaned. Andrea takes your progress very seriously and doesn't leave you on your own after the home visit. We have spoken daily since meeting and texted multiple times a day. She comes up with a very specific plan for you and your baby and then continues to tweak it accordingly. I cannot stress enough how helpful Andrea has been. Without her I would have further damaged my breasts and likely been forced to give up on breastfeeding. One final note: if you are having trouble with breastfeeding, as so many women do, reach out to a lactation consultant sooner than later. I damaged my nipple in just two days. Time is of the essence."
"Andrea is nothing short of amazing and I wholeheartedly recommend her. The nursing positions that the lactation consultants in the hospital taught me required me to contort my body in unnatural and uncomfortable ways. During my two hour visit with Andrea, she showed me some simple but very effective, comfortable, and natural ways to breast feed. Within hours of her visit, my son was latching and he has been breast feeding without any problems since. Not only is Andrea very knowledgeable about what she does, she is also extremely warm and supportive. Andrea also makes herself available by phone/text/video until you wean your child.
I owe my success with breast feeding to Andrea. Finally, once you meet with Andrea for a lactation session, she is a resource for as long as you continue to breastfeed your child. I look forward to using her knowledge for many, many months to come. I highly, highly recommend Andrea's services."
"In our two-hour appointment, Andrea Syms-Brown did an absolutely amazing job of figuring out what subtle problems I was having nursing my 13-day-old daughter. she asked great questions and gave clear instructions (including using my phone to videotape a successful latch so that I could refer to it once she'd gone), and we are seeing immediate results. She is so incredibly knowledgeable!"
"Andrea's calm and approachable demeanor in the face of a frustrating breastfeeding experience was exactly what I needed, and by the time she left, I was better equipped to feed my child. I simply couldn't be more thankful for that. She was also super proactive about filling out insurance reimbursement forms, and I didn't even know that reimbursement was a possibility!"
"I cannot stress enough how helpful Andrea has been. Without her I would have likely been forced to give up on breastfeeding."
"I just had a baby in August and was recommended Freda by my pediatrician. She didn't have availability so she referred me to Andrea Syms-Brown. That woman was worth her weight in gold, cannot say enough good things about her."