By Kelly Davis
Get a group of moms together to talk about breastfeeding and you’ll likely hear plenty of stories of struggle—about how something that’s supposed to be so natural and instinctive is often just the opposite. It was Kristin Dann’s own struggle with breastfeeding her son that led to her become a Certificated Lactation Educator Counselor (CLEC) through Extension’s specialized certificate program. Dann then went on to co-found the company Bond and Love, where she and her business partner, Annette Aranda, are exploring innovative ways to support breastfeeding moms.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am the co-founder and co-owner at Bond and Love, LLC. We are a company dedicated to developing innovative products that help breastfeeding moms. My business partner, Annette, and I met several years ago working together at a marketing company in San Diego. We both found common challenges in breastfeeding. It was these challenges and our shared desire to help other breastfeeding moms that eventually led us to form Bond & Love and develop our first product, My Droplette. My Droplette is a first-of-its-kind, small-quantity milk collector that is currently patent pending.
Why did you decide to study at Extension?
After the birth of my first son, I was drawn to learn more about breastfeeding after really struggling. My goal at the time was to learn for personal knowledge, but also to maybe educate others, who, like myself, really didn't know much about breastfeeding. I never thought it would lead me to start my own company one day.
What courses have you taken so far?
I am a very proud Certificated Lactation Educator Counselor (CLEC).
What stands out about the program?
When I signed up for the Lactation Educator program, I thought I was going to learn the mechanics of breastfeeding. However, I quickly realized Gini Baker is not your average instructor. Gini is a pioneer in the industry. She is incredibly passionate about her field and growing that passion in others. Because of Gini, I am a “lactivist.” The benefits of breastfeeding go beyond just mom and baby, but to society as a whole. After the birth of my second son, I became a milk donor to the local milk bank, and now I am part of a company that is helping other moms and innovating an industry.
What advice would you give to someone who might be interested in the lactation consultant program?
There aren't many lactation programs in the country—and of the few, this one is the gold standard. I feel so lucky that I was able to be a part of it.
How has your experience at Extension helped your career?
After taking this program, I was better prepared to pinpoint what products are currently missing, or need enhancing, in the current market so my company can help moms who are breastfeeding and who want the best for their baby.
Learn more about Lactation programs on our website, or contact the department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 858-246-2312.