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Rachel Crossen, BS, IBCLC

  • Gainesville
  • Haymarket
  • Warrenton
  • Strasburg
  • Fauquier/Warren Co.
  • 540-270-8230

Sharon Gough IBCLC

  • Bristow
  • Manassas
  • Woodbridge
  • West. PWC
  • 703-927-4406

 Laura McCarthy RN, IBCLC

  • Loudoun Co
  • Fairfax Co.
  • 571-722-6450 

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Premier Lactation Services Provides the Best Breastfeeding Solutions for Your Baby's Breastfeeding Needs
Serving Prince William, Warren, Fauquier, Fairfax, and Loudoun Counties, VA

About Us


Jennifer de Franco, RN, RLC(IBCLC), Owner - 703-822-1690

  • RN - NSY/NICU
  • Registered Lactation Consultant(IBCLC) since 2009
  • Started PLS in 2010

In 2009 I became a Certified Lactation Consultant.  Even though I've been helping mommies for 12 years in achieving healthy breastfeeding knowledge and technique as a nursery and NICU nurse, I felt it was time to become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I am 35 years old.  I attend Grace Life Community Church and have been a baptised believer in Jesus Christ for almost 20 years now.  I love geneology, read classic novels, and watch my daughters and now son discover their worlds through home school.  I live in Nokesville, Va with my husband of 12 years and 7 and 4 year old daughters and 1 year old son!

(See below for more of Jennifer's Personal Breastfeeding Journey and Struggles)


Rachel Crossen, BS, RLC(IBCLC) - 540-270-8230

  • Registered Lactation Consultant(IBCLC) since 2012
  • Bachelor's in Psychology
  • PLS employee since 2012

I grew up in Upstate NY, obtained my BS in Psychology at Fairleigh Dickenson University in NJ.  My husband and I were married after graduation we spent one year in Williamsburg, VA then moved to Syracuse, NY for my husband to attend grad/law school.  This is where we welcomed our first child and where I had the wonderful experience of finding La Leche League while I was pregnant and quickly decided breastfeeding was the only way to go for me.  After a disappointing birth experience I was confronted with breastfeeding difficulties.  I  was devastated at the idea of not being able to breastfeed my son. I didn't have to worry too long as the hospital sent in my lifesaver in the form of a Lactation Consultant. She assured me I would be able to breastfeed and supported me every step of the way until we were in the clear. I am sure we would not have gone on to breastfeed for many months to come if I hadn't been lucky enough to have been sent this help. We moved to Fauquier County 14 years ago and I immediately looked for a local LLL group.  Two years later I decided I wanted to pursue becoming a LLL leader and have been doing this in one form or another ever since.  We went on to have two more children who breastfed beautifully for quite some time.  I spent many years loving life as a stay-at-home mom but once my children were all in school I felt an urge to branch out a little with some of my new found time.  Becoming a certified Lactation Consultant seemed the natural answer.  It is my hope that I will be that supportive person who makes a difference in the lives of mothers and their babies.  


Sharon Gough, RLC(IBCLC) - 703-927-4406

  • Registered Lactation Consultant(IBCLC) since 1992
  • PLS employee since 2014


Childbirth Educator since 1979
Published author
Board Certified Lactation Consultant since 1992
Mom of four children, Annie-Laurie, Brittany, Zachary and Ezekiel
Grandmother of four beautiful babies, Addie Mae, Reese, Rylynn, and Cooper
Devoted wife to Randy for over 37 years  Sharon has been working with breastfeeding mom since 1979 and became a Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 1992.  
She started her career by teaching Childbirth Education classes and eventually was asked to teach at a local hospital.  She is a published author on childbirth education and breastfeeding.  Presently, she works in a hospital setting as a lactation consultant, as well as working for Premier Lactation Services.  She has helped thousands of moms and babies in her career over the years and considers it God's gift to her to be able to help women and their babies during this special time in their lives.  1Peter 4:10

 

 


Laura McCarthey, RN, RLC(IBCLC) - 571-722-6450

  • Serving NOVA Natural Birth Center(Weekdays)
  • Registered Lactation Consultant(IBCLC) since 2013
  • Registered Nurse(NICU)
  • PLS employee since 2014

I grew up in the Northern VA/Washington DC area and attended George Mason University. After receiving a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology, I decided that nursing would be an excellent way to combine my love of science and my love of serving the community. I graduated from George Mason with a second Bachelor’s degree in Nursing and have been working as nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit ever since. I became an IBCLC in 2013 because I wanted to provide my patients and their families with the most current information about breastfeeding and help them to be happy and healthy. In addition to my IBCLC training, I attended one-week seminar on the best ways to help other nurses teach breastfeeding to their patients. While nursing has been my career, teaching people about breastfeeding has become a passion and hobby. In my spare time, I also enjoy yoga, hiking, weightlifting, and training for and running half-marathons.


Jennifer's Personal Experience:

(my license plate)

4/2011:  No, lactation consultants are not excluded from having problems with breastfeeding, that's for sure, and I'm living proof.  I have been fighting low milk supply due to postpartum thyroiditis for over 4 months now and my emotional journey has been a blessing as much as a burden. I have explored herbs, Goat's Rue, Fenugreek, Alfalfa, and Motherlove More Milk Plus as well as prescriptions Reglan and Domperidone.  Reglan increased my supply dramatically but caused severe depression after 3 weeks and I had to stop, seeing a severe drop in my milk production.  It was just heart breaking seeing my daughter pull off of me in want of more milk and looking up at me.  Fortunately I pumped an extra 200oz during the first 2 months(intending to donate it to a milk bank) and have used all but 30oz so far.  I've had to use SNS at the breast and experienced the frustrations of her rejecting the tube.  My thyroid is slowing correcting itself and with the help of Domperidone, I am making enough milk and there has been no side effects on this medication and its been 2 weeks so far.  My goal is to exclusively nurse 7 months total before introducing breast milk cereal on the 8th month.  Breastfeeding is an awesome and unique experience that I share withth my daughter and it saddens me to think that she is growing up so quickly and she could stop at anytime.  My first child stopped at 10 months(because I lost my supply due to uncorrected thyroiditis) and I totally was not prepared for it and I mourned the loss of our special connection for months afterward.  I know this experience will make me a better lactation consultant, but its still a struggle everyday to make enough milk.

 

During these months it was a struggle to make enough milk.  The Fenugreek, MoreMilkPlus by Motherlove, and Alfalfa were all herbs that I tried to make more milk.  It finally took a prescription for Reglan to significantly make more milk, unfortunately after 3 weeks of being on the med I became severely depressed, two days after I stopped I was back to normal but my milk supply dropped as well.  
After talking to Dr. Bowers, at the hospital I got a prescription for Domperidone, it works just like Reglan except it doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier and I started making more milk again.  My thyroid was still out of whack, I became severely hypothyroid and my medication was getting readjusted every 4 weeks.
I thought after I got it regulated I would be able to come off the medication, but with starting back to work, starting solids, and illness my milk ducts must have taken a severe shot, because nothing was working by the 7th month.  I was taking up to 3 times more of the domperidone and only producing 1-2oz/breast.
Finally, after realizing the Vanessa Jane was not gaining weight but in fact losing weight, I knew that I had to start using formula.  I finished up the last of my pumped milk and gave formula for the first time July 30, 2011.  I knew it was best for her but it was still sad, my goal was exclusive breastfeeding x 1 year, but my body just couldn't keep up.  

7/2011:  Update:Months 4-7:  I thought after I got my thyroid regulated I would be able to come off Domperidone, but with starting back to work, starting solids, and illness my milk glands must have taken a severe shot because nothing was working by the 7th month.  I was taking up to 3 times more of the domperidone and only producing 1-2oz/breast.  I was hoping that between the solids and apple/water and what milk I did produce that would get her to a year...but, after realizing that Vanessa Jane was not gaining weight but in fact losing weight, I knew that I had to start using formula.  I finished up the last of my pumped milk and gave formula for the first time July 30, 2011.  I knew it was best for her but it was still sad, my goal was exclusive breastfeeding x 1 year, but my body just couldn't keep up.  Fortunately, it was an easy transition because I just used an 8fr feeding tube and she takes all of her formula via SNS at the breast.  So I still get the joy of her nursing and she gets the benefit of the extra calories she needs.  I still have let-downs and I know I give her an extra ounce or two each time she nurses and its interesting how she no longer "rejects" the breast by pulling off and getting frustrated.  She enjoys it again.  The feeding tube is pretty simple, I sterilize it everyday and get a new one every week, its only $3, so very cheap.  I order it in bulk from an online medical supply store.  I use a 20cc syringe to clean out the milk each time...I actually took it to church the other day and "nursed" in public, it worked just fine.

8/2011:  Month 8:  So, I was telling a past client/friend of mine about me losing my milk supply and she wanted to offer me her surplus breast milk that she pumped while I was helping her get her baby to learn to latch.  It took over 2 months for him to latch and in the meantime she pumped a tremendous amount of milk.  She is generous enough to donate it to Vanessa Jane...I pick it up next week.  

Amy M. gave us 195oz, which will last us about 16days and save us about $75 in formula..Vanessa Jane had her first milk, 3oz this afternoon...I just love the beautiful yellow color and it makes me feel like I can give my baby the best again.

I'm so blessed to know such wonderful people, thank you Amy!!

 

Well, it took 2 weeks for her to eat well!! She gained 8oz in these last two weeks which is twice as much as she would have gained!  I'm so thankful to Amy and Vanessa Jane will enjoy her bonus IQ points...I am just comfort nursing now, once in the morning and once at night.  The SNS worked but it was annoying after a while.  She has rejected my breast, even though I'm producing about 4oz/day.  So I nurse her first and then give the bottle...she doesn't mind, she just wants to be close to her mamma!  I do miss nursing her and listening to her gulp, but I love her all the same.  I'm still going to try to make it to one year though...

10/2011:  Month 10:  Well, I increased the Domperidone from 30mg/day to 90mg/day and I went from producing 2oz/pumping to 4.5oz/pumping...its still not enough to exclusively nurse, but I do feel fuller and I was actually "engorged" and leaking milk!!  I can not get away with nursing twice a day, because I'm too uncomfortable, so we nurse 4 times a day...yippeee!!  She's also cut down on the formula, she'll only take about 3oz/feed instead of 6oz/feed...I'm going to maintain this dosage and see how long we make it..(a few days later)...such is life when milk comes and goes, for some reason I'm only pumping(when I'm at work) about 1oz/breast, even on the Domperidone, urghhhh...but on a brighter note, Vanessa Jane got the best gift from Ms. Riza and Baby Katherine for her 10 month B-day...700oz of donated milk...what a blessing!!!!

73 Bags of Pure BM ~ Baby Katherine & My Nessa  ~    The Stash!!

11/2011:  Month 11:  Interestingly, I thought with Ms. Riza's "fatty" breastmilk that Vanessa would have ballooned in weight, but instead she lost 10oz!!  Why?  Colostrum!  I forgot how colostrum makes babies stool much more frequently...one good thing is, Baby Nessa is no longer constipated!  She is back up to her start weight.  As for me, I trialed 2 days off the Dom and my milk production tanked, it took 3 days of power pumping to get it back up.  I nurse 2-3 times/day and I've just come to accept the fact that this is how it is...I'm still going to try to make it to a year...

12/2011One Year Old:  I can't believe I made it...my ultimate goal was to nurse a year and even though I wasn't able to nurse exclusively and I will always need to take Domperidone to maintain a supply(1-1.5oz/pumping)...I am very happy that I can watch my growing girl nursing contently with her precious eye lashes tickling me.  It's such a wonderous feeling.  I just finished the donor milk from Ms. Riza and Baby Katherine.  I'm so appreciative of their genorosity.  I suppose I'll just keep going.  I nurse Vanessa when she first wakes up and before I go to bed and even though there is not much coming out, she is still very content to snuggle and continue suckling.  What a treasure!


Other Pictures of Me nursing in Public

Had a 73 year old man come up to me and commented on my bumber sticker "Breastfeed Anywhere, Anytime" and he told me that when he was a child women breastfed everywhere and it was not a big deal.  "Why doesn't more women just breastfeed?"  A great question!!

  

Professional Pictures taken of my lovely girl nursing.  

Nursing at the Nurse-IN at Hirshorn Museum:  Me standing next to TV watching my interview of me on TV!!!

The infamous Boobie-Beanie at the Hirshorn Museum!!

Unbelieveable experience to see women just breastfeeding.  I was also interviewed by channel 7 news!!!!  Vanessa Jane and I were on TV!!!  I'm so proud to be a breastfeeding mommy.

Nursing my 1st daughter, Myra Clare...

 

Pictures of me using SNS(8fr feeding tube) with formula.  I have her latch onto both the nipple and feeding tube.  Sometimes I latch her first and then slide the tube in, but that is a little bit more tricky.

September 2013

Flash forward a few years.  I gave birth to our son Weston and the second thing I noticed on him(after finding out he was a boy) is that he had an anterior tongue-tie.  Are you kidding me?  For the first day, he nursed 20 times and was barely swallowing.  By day 2 I knew we had to get the tongue-tie fixed, it wasn't allowing him to milk the breast effectively and he was not peeing and losing too much weight.  We went to Ashburn Chirldren's Dentistry and Dr. Rishita Jaju,DDS released his tongue and upper lip.  I had to use formula with Mommy-Led-SNS at the breast x 6 feeds in order to keep him hydrated(total of 4oz) while waiting for my milk to come in.  With my previous child my milk came in at 36 hours, but now it was 2 days and my milk still hadn't come in.  Interestingly enough, my milk came in exactly 36 hours after the procedure.  Healing was fast, by the fourth day there was only some granulation tissue(healing).  We have been nursing perfectly ever since.  So I've just about experienced everything when it comes to lactation problems(yeast infection, mastitis, low milk supply, postpartum thyroiditis, and now tongue tie).  Makes me an empathetic lactation consultant, believe me.