Today we’re excited to introduce you to a mama who is such an incredible resource for local families. If you ask us, there’s a deep-rooted lie in our culture and it’s that breastfeeding is easy and comes naturally and beautifully to mothers. The truth is, and we think most moms would attest to this, it’s not that simple. And we love mamas in the lactation space who keep it real and aim to inspire, educate, and help other moms.
Erica Campbell is all of that and more! A former Mother/Baby Registered Nurse and current Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), she’s also a mama of two herself! From her professional experience at work and personal experience with her own children, she had a revelation about prenatal education for breastfeeding mothers. With that mindset and a heart to help others, The Milk Manual was born!
While working on the floor as a Mother/Baby RN, she noticed several mothers struggling with the first few days of breastfeeding. They didn’t know what to expect or how to overcome those beginner obstacles. The raw emotions from childbirth combined with the feelings of guilt were enough for her to see that something must be done to help these women achieve their goals.
The Milk Manual is a resource for all parents enduring their breastfeeding journey. Whether this is your very first experience or you’re in the final days of breastfeeding, it’s Erica’s goal to help make your journey as smooth and beautiful as possible. By providing classes, online resources, and eventually consultations (in person and online), she hopes to provide every resource available to help breastfeeding families.
Erica says no matter what your goal may be, The Milk Manual is a judgment-free zone that is here to educate and support you along the way!
We got to chat with this beautiful mama about her business, mom life, mom guilt and more!
How many kiddos do you have?
I have two children. A girl and a boy.
What is the greatest gift about being a mom?
The aspect of self-reflection. Becoming a mother made me realize a lot of things about myself and who I am and want to become. Children really are mirrors and when I see my kids do something or act a certain way, it has made me reflect on how I’m presenting myself to them and to the world.
Least favorite mom job? (i.e. packing lunches, dishes, bath time, etc.)
Anything that has to do with feeding them… it was so much easier when they were in the first year of life. Now, I find mealtime very exhausting.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
I don’t know if there is necessarily anything surprising about me, haha. Maybe the fact that I have a very specific sense of humor. It’s literally a puzzle trying to figure out how to make me laugh.
What is your go-to activity for just yourself for pampering or for fun, anything ‘mama’ time!?
I love to go get coffee and sit somewhere doing basically nothing. Or anything pampering… like just an hour to myself to get my nails done sounds HEAVENLY.
Best mom hack that makes your life easier?
EARPLUGS. I get sensory overload very easily. Wearing earplugs in the evenings has been so helpful for ALL OF US. I rarely have to ask them to speak quieter and they get all of that wild energy out!
Tell us about your background as a nurse and what led you to lactation consulting?
I’ve been a RN since 2013. I did a very brief stint in the Operating Room, thinking that I was going to be in my own Grey’s Anatomy, haha. I did not like it. I always knew I wanted to work in Women’s Services. A job opening as a Postpartum and Nursery RN is what brought our family back to Houston. I worked there for 4 years and had two babies during that time. My personal experience really fueled my professional experience. Also all of the compliments and gratitude from the families that I helped prior to becoming a LC!
Tell us about The Milk Manual!
The Milk Manual is the name of my website! It’s an area full of information about all things milk-making. I recently created a journal called, The Milk Memoirs, which is a journal to commemorate the breastfeeding experience. I did my best to include things for all types of feeding families (exclusively pumpers, combo-feeding, etc). I also created a beginner breastfeeding course called The Milk Masterclass. The class is designed to help educate and empower families at the start of their feeding journey. And The Milk Manual is just a home for all of these things!
Can you talk about the revelation you had after being a breastfeeding mama and being an RN that made you take the leap into doing launching your business?
I realized that the education is not always readily available to families. I also realized that the resources aren’t either. Especially during this specific time of our lives. With that, I wanted to be more a place where people could get information whenever possible. I currently work at the hospital and with a practice called Bayou City Breastfeeding. I’ve been able to have a very flexible schedule while helping families in the Houston area.
Let’s get real on breastfeeding and postpartum care in the country. Why do you think we fall so far behind other developed countries and how to we move towards change?
Truthfully, I think women’s services have been dismissed for quite a while. Especially in the past… A lot of the standards and information that was previously shared, has been revealed to be inaccurate or evolved. I think that as more women take on roles in healthcare, we can see a bigger change. But because a lot of women’s services (breastfeeding and postpartum) has been dismissed, it trickles down into staffing, which trickles down into how we are able to help families, which ultimately is a lack of education, resources, and support.
I do foresee a lot of change. I think the conversations are happening. Women are speaking up about the impossible tasks that are expected of us with such little resources. I think the more we work together on this, the more apt we are for change.
I also think that in this digital age, we are being educated online more as well (for good and bad) but it’s helping families learn more than we were able to previously.
What’s the biggest reward in doing what you do?
I love getting to spend time with newborn babies and not having to take them home, haha! But seriously, newborn babies are so precious. I also love it when I can genuinely see the relief in a mother’s face after I leave them. Like I helped take some weight off of their shoulders.
Your biggest mission seems to be to be a resource for moms during pregnancy and after baby, which we love! What’s one of your biggest goals for your platform?
My main goals are to empower and educate! I try to be very thorough when it comes to providing up-to-date and accurate education. I also love cheering people on and I want to make sure families feel empowered and in control of their feeding journey.
Best advice for moms who want to nurse but have difficulties?
ASK. FOR. HELP. Since a majority of this audience may not know me, I want to say that I’m am adamant on feeding a baby no matter what, whether it is human milk or formula. I’m like “hey let’s get you something to eat, buddy”. But a lot of times, telling someone to supplement can ignore their actually cry for help… SO ask for help with a solution to your problem, not a bandaid to mask the issue. You can still supplement with formula while learning more about how to nurse.
Best advice for moms who experience the inevitable and dreaded MOM GUILT?
Remember that you are doing the best you can, with what you have, where you are…. that’s a quote, haha, not from me. But do what you can and don’t feel bad if everything isn’t perfect!
Advice for moms who are overwhelmed with information overload on birthing, breastfeeding, etc.?
Take it one topic at a time. Take what you want, leave what you don’t. But try your best not to be overwhelmed. Take a breastfeeding course (I recommend my course), if possible! And don’t think that you NEED everything that is being marketed to you.
What’s your number one mission with what you do?
Make families feel empowered and confident in their decisions. I want to take away the guilt and shame that comes with all things motherhood.
Who has most influenced you to be the mom you are today?
It’s not really a “who” but more of a “what”. If we’re being 100 percent honest, understanding the science of generational trauma. It pushes me to understand why things were the way they were for me as a child and it also helps me going forward. Understanding my past has helped me to hopefully improve my future and their future as well.
When parenting gets hard, what’s something you tell yourself that gets you through?
“It’s only a season”
I try to remind myself of this a lot. I can even look back on certain moments that were extremely hard and see that it really was a season. So in the hard moments, I try to give myself a lot of grace and then remember that I have to keep pushing through because it won’t be forever.
What does having a mom tribe & community in motherhood mean to you?
Having someone who understands! Being a mother is very complex and I do find it’s hard to understand unless you’re in it. So having a community that you can communicate with can really offer you some solidarity and make you feel a lot confident.
Best resources for new mamas?
Check out The Milk Manual on Instagram! I share tons of information there as well as other great accounts to follow!