Postpartum is a rollercoaster, to say the very least. There’s so many questions, “Should I breastfeed?”, “Will I be able to breastfeed?”, “How do I take care of myself when I’m taking care of this tiny human?”. That’s why we’re teamed up with registered dietician and lactation consultant, Jaren Soloff from FULL CRCL.
Jaren created FULL CRCL as a platform for bringing women’s education and empowerment to all stages of motherhood. Keep reading to learn more about her journey, and watch this space for future content from Jaren!
To start out, we’d love to know a little bit about you. Where are you from?
Yes, I am so glad to be collaborating with Cake Maternity! I’m actually a San Diego, CA native and feel so grateful I live so close to the beautiful Southern California beaches. I’m a huge runner so I love being able to get a weekend run by the coast in.
Who’s in your family? Names? Ages? Pets welcome too!
I have one daughter, Kaiya, who is now 9 years old and an amazing fiance, Duane who came into our lives 2 years ago (hopefully COVID we will be married next year)! I had been a single mother for the 7 years of my daughters life prior. We also have one adorable and cuddle obsessed chihuahua, Chloe.
What’s your occupation?
I work as a dietitian in a group practice here in San Diego where I specialize in providing nutrition counseling for those struggling with eating disorders and disordered eating. I also have expertise as a lactation consultant which is where my practice, FULL CRCL, comes in. With FULL CRCL, I provide home visits and virtual consultations to new mothers to provide feeding support.
What prompted your interest in nutrition and lactation consultancy?
Oh, it was such a journey to get here but I would not change any of it. My path to becoming a dietitian was actually inspired by my own recovery journey. In my teens and into young adulthood I really struggled with my own relationship with food/body prior to becoming a mother. I continued to work on my recovery journey & also found an amazing specialty within nutrition which was working with women recovering from EDs and disordered eating which was so meaningful to me personally. While I was completing my RD my daughter was also young and I was a single mom at the time and really just felt so called to create a practice that was centered around the needs of women in an authentic way — so many in the nutrition field offer weight loss and a plethora of different ways to change our bodies thinking that it will help us, but I work with women to help them really relearn how to eat, which is a practice I teach clients called intuitive eating. This really inspired my work to also pursue lactation — there is such an amazing example of babies being in attunement with their bodies and needs and not questioning it that I thought if I could empower women at this point and really have them trust their bodies, as they do their infant’s, then I can really help women heal and not pass on any of that “food and body stuff” to the next generation. It was part of my own healing and bringing my experience full circle to support others in my community.
How did you get your start in your career? What advice would you give to anyone thinking of becoming a lactation consultant?
Most of it relates to my story above, it was very much inspired by my personal experiences and life. I feel for many, that is really the gift of discovering a career you love — to infuse your own experiences and strengths into something that is meaningful for you. I know many lactation consultants who were driven to the profession by a similar path of struggling with breast or chest feeding and feeling empowered to guide others and providing support.
What does a typical work day for you look like? How much has Covid changed your routine?
I love having variety in my week and work day so I carve out one day a week for writing, continuing education and more creative tasks and then the rest of the week is dedicated to seeing my individual clients. Right now, with COVID, I have been so grateful to have been able to provide my services virtually via telehealth so we have pivoted in that direction which is great because I can expand the number of clients who need support. It certainly is a shift, however, as there really is nothing like that face to face connection so I am looking forward to providing that again in the future when it is safe to do so for all.
So, why should mamas consider working with a lactation consultant?
Great question! It really is a personal choice to make the decision to breast or chest feed, however my role really is not to convince anyone to make that decision but more so to empower them with the knowledge they need to decide if it is best for their family. I want to provide my clients the expertise to make an informed choice and a lactation consultant is the only professional able to provide this information and support ethically. I also would encourage mothers and partners to consider a lactation consultant for any reason if they feel they can use some support throughout the feeding experience, while breast/chest feeding is natural and intuitive, it is still a learned skill. The nature of the way we give birth now is inherently different for most, and thus it is normal to feel completely vulnerable in learning this new skill.
Tell us a little bit about FULL CRCL and the services you offer!
FULL CRCL provides nutrition counseling for women who need support in healing their relationship with food and body after birth. While many of us know that we need to focus on nutrition during pregnancy, postpartum is often overlooked and especially for those individuals who have struggled with disordered eating or an eating disorder (even if it was 10 years prior to your pregnancy!) it is important to know that postpartum can be a risky time. FULL CRCL also provides virtual and in-home lactation counseling to individuals looking for feeding support.
You’ve also written a cookbook called The Postnatal Cookbook. What was this process like? Did you create all the recipes yourself?
Yes, I am so excited to have it on shelves this December! The process was really fun and I learned so much about writing, food photography and styling (I was responsible for doing all of this!). I did all of the recipe development which was amazing because I was able to complete the research of what was most needed nutritionally during postpartum and then develop recipes that infused these ingredients and properties into the recipes. The cookbook is the ultimate resource for new moms that provides concrete, simple nutrition information and recipes to support renourishment during postpartum. Given my experience working with women in recovery, I also tailored the content to be supportive for those in recovery which I felt was so needed as many resources for postpartum tend to be steeped in diet language — there was a need for weight neutral, non-diet nutrition information for postpartum moms.
How do you find time for yourself everyday, and because I know fellow mothers will be dying to know, how much time are you able to put aside each day?
Yes, the holy grail of mom questions — how do we balance it all?! It looks different for everyone and is so dependent on what season of life you are in. For me right now with a 3rd grader at home and working in a private practice, I maximize use of my mornings. So much of me wants to hit the ground running with my to do list, however I really feel the time I set aside in the morning is an investment in me being present for my family, clients and myself through the day. I do a combination of affirmations, walking/running and reading in the morning.
What makes you infinitely happy?
I could rattle off so many things that spark joy for me, of course first and foremost is my loved ones and the family I have built. What is also coming to mind right now is really the feeling of empowerment I get to provide clients with. It is something that has been so profoundly life changing for me as an individual and woman to be able to take an idea and transform it into something for others in my community and I love being able to offer a form of empowerment to other women in different forms through my work. I really feel it is one of life’s gifts to have work that is so in alignment with my personal values and interest.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been thankful to have crossed paths with many really inspiring individuals in life and in my career, and some version of “move towards what excites you” is really the piece of advice that has served me and rang true for so much of who I am and what I do.
What are 4 things you can’t live without?
Coffee, yoga pants, my people (family) & music (in no particular order!).
For any women, and mums in particular, looking to improve their health and wellbeing, what steps would you recommend they take?
When my clients are at this place of looking to improve their health, I actually don’t dive into my recommendations. My framework is really built upon supporting individuals in developing insight into what health and wellness would look and feel like for them and what changes they would need to make in order to get there. I think we have all been taught to look to health professionals for recommendations, when really I encourage reflection and looking within oneself to really understand motivation and behaviors that will support health overall.
Where can we find out more about you?
You can connect with me via my website www.fullcrcl.co to find out more about my services and also check in with me via instagram @fullcrcl_ where I share snippets of my everyday life and practice!