Nicole: Okay, well hello! This is Nicole Vascianna again back with another spectacular bonus. Today we have on the line Lara McCullough and we’ve named her the global entrepreneur and when you get a chance to meet Lara she tells her amazing story. You’ll understand why that title is so befitting, so Lara are you there?
Lara: I am.
Nicole: Hi Lara.
Lara: Hi Nicole.
Nicole: Okay, so Lara for our listeners who are not familiar with your work and what it is that you do, can you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about your life and what you currently do.
Lara: Absolutely, so I run a global business consultancy and I’m also an international key note speaker. So what I do is I teach women business owners really how to build a brand and market their brand to disrupt their market and also create a brand that their customers are willing to pay more for even if they’re selling the exact same thing as everybody else.
Nicole: So really quickly you have this tag line that I love that I see at the bottom of your emails. What is…you have this tag line, because I think, start some and what is it?
Lara: So I am the chief shift disturber for my company and I really encourage women to start some shift in their businesses.
Nicole: I love that by the way, I didn’t get a chance to say that but I actually love that.
Lara: Oh thank you.
Nicole: Okay, so how old is your little one right now?
Lara: He is just 17 months old now.
Nicole: So he’s still a baby, you still kind of have a baby on your hands Lara?
Lara: Oh yes, I do and he’s at that fun toddler stage where he’s running around and getting into everything and just curious about every single thing, which is really fascinating.
Nicole: I remember it all too well, okay so take as back 17 months ago. Are you still a key note speaker because a lot of different women have no different story,
some of them are single mums, some of them are returning to school working full time. So can you take as back 17 months and describe your situation post pregnancy?
Lara: Yes for sure, so I have owned my business for about six years now and I knew when I had my son that of course I wanted to take a little bit of time off with him. At the time I ran my consulting business right up until I gave birth but I slowed down my global speaking business because of course travelling to different countries was pretty much impossible when you’re about to pop. They don’t allow you to travel and then I knew of course that I wanted to take a little bit more time off with my son after I gave birth so that I can bond with him and just get to know him and recover from giving birth as well.
So I took a glorious six weeks away from my clients to recover and to bond with my son and my goal was really to breastfeed for at least a year. That was something that was really important to me and just a little bit of a side bar in our family we each pretty much un-package foods mainly organic. So doing the research on what was best for my child, it was really important for me and my family to breastfeed. So the goal was to breastfeed r at least a year so I knew when I got back to working within six weeks.
I was going to be running my business, working with my clients and also balancing breastfeeding and eventually within the first few months my goal was to start travelling again for my speaking business. I had a fantastic nanny who took care of my son in our house while I worked with my clients and I would stop to breastfeed every couple of hours and so a client calls, with my one hand I had my phone on the other hand I’d be holding my baby. I did webinars as well while breastfeeding very, very discreetly of course. Nobody knew that this was happening but I was also pumping while having conversations, so talk about multi-tasking.
Nicole: So you took this glorious six weeks off as you say. How did that work as far as even when you started travelling again? You were on the road and you were doing your speaking engagements as a part of your business, I would assume. How did breastfeeding fit into that puzzle?
Lara: Yes so I had to start planning very early on, basically as soon as I had my son I had to start planning for those away trips, because if I was going to be away for a few days. I mean you do the calculations; you’re breastfeeding every couple of hours, I needed to be storing milk immediately so as time consuming as it was just to breastfeed alone. I had to figure out how I was going to be pumping and storing during that time but I did it, I figure it out and figured out the best schedule that was working for me and I started to pump and store and then I think my first business trip if I recall correctly was just after maybe three months
so I had enough in my freezer for a couple of days of travel. My nanny and my husband at the time, I’m now divorced, but my husband at the time was very instrumental obviously in making sure he was fed on time and that allowed to get back to work and make sure he was taken care of and also still continue to give him breast milk but you can imagine…
You know it’s funny, you put this type of questions out of your mind the longer time goes but it was…it wasn’t even the storage of the breast milk that was when I look back amazing. It was also knowing that my breasts were swelling up and getting engorged as I’m travelling, so I had to bring my breast pump with me and I would be in the airport bathrooms pumping into the sink and just doing this things that you just never in a million years imagine that you would be doing and same thing when I was at the hotel room I had to pump and you know when you pump so hard for breast milk, just how you’re like, “no I didn’t want to pour it down the sink” but you know you have to do what you have to do.
Nicole: So that was what I was going to ask you the question and I’ve seen a couple not a whole lot but I’ve seen a couple of horror stories with women getting their breast milk through customs and planes. Did you have any of those issues? Were you storing any of the milk that you pumped when you were away or you were continuously pumping to keep your milk volume up?
Lara: Yes, I was more the latter, I didn’t save it, I mean you know what it’s like when you’re in a hotel room sometimes they have fridges, sometimes they don’t and because I was travelling for hours at a time I figured the milk wouldn’t be in good condition anyways. So yes I was literally pumping and dumping it down the toilet, dumping it down the sink just to make sure that I was keeping my supply up. When I got back home, there wouldn’t be any issues.
Nicole: Now you went into another issue that a lot of women are not familiar with, you mentioned that there was an allergy situation that occurred. Can you tell our listeners a little bit more about that?
Lara: Yes for sure, so when…it was actually before I had my son I learned to a milk protein called casein and it was a pretty significant allergy. I actually developed a rash when I was out of the country in Australia. So my natural path ran a series of tests and found out that I had this allergy to dairy and she told me that you’ve got to get off of dairy and if you’ve ever been told that and you really enjoy cheese or ice cream or chocolate like I do. It was almost equivalent to a death sentence but shortly after I had my son, I’ll be honest I had a few cravings. I started to indulge a little bit in the chocolate and cheese and turns out my son started to have some really big difficulties breathing and we thought it was gerd and we kept him upright but he would just struggle often times with breathing, he was extremely phlegmy and he actually chocked a few times and stopped
breathing for a very short period of time but enough to absolutely scare us.
So we went to our doctor and we ran a series of tests, this little new born baby having x-rays of his chest and basically we were told nothing’s wrong with him, he’s very healthy, he’ll outgrow it and we weren’t satisfied with that answer. So we went to my natural path, who was the person who diagnosed me in the first place and how she explained it was either one of two things was happening.
Either he was allergic to…had the same milk protein allergy that I did and the milk was travelling through my breast milk or that protein was or whatever reaction was happening in my body was actually affecting him and she told me that I had to get off the dairy products once and for all and that was enough of a wakeup call. I mean that was a really easy decision to make, chocolate versus my son’s health was easy. So I did that and it cleared up pretty much immediately, it took a couple of days and he was breathing fine and we never had that issue again.
Nicole: That is, as a mum of a son who is asthmatic, I’ve seen it caused by different triggers but that is one f the scariest moments I realized. So I’m sorry that you had to go through that and I can totally relate and like you said that was an absolutely easy decision to make. Chocolate, milk or my son’s well being.
Lara: Absolutely, breastfeeding is just like life, it’s about choices and you can have…before I had my son I had visions of what breastfeeding would be like. I had this dreams that it would be this wonderful, bonding, calming moment with my son and eventually it got there but initially it was nothing like I imagined. Within the first few minutes of breastfeeding my son for the first time, I was bleeding and my nipples were cracked and I was in excruciating pain and it just progressively got worse and these types of conversations are so exciting that you’re doing this.
I wish I had heard some of these stories beforehand because you feel very much alone and if you feel a little bit like a failure that something that’s supposed to be biologically natural I’m unable to do it.
Nicole: Yes I can totally…for me, my breastfeeding experience I think that was one of the reasons why I didn’t seek any type of support in the beginning or any type of help because I felt that way, like a failure that this is supposed to be natural. My body’s supposed to do the right thing and when it wasn’t clicking, I didn’t go and get help and that’s actually the wrong thing to do and that’s exactly the reason why I’m doing this because I want to be able to offer women support systems.
So stories they can relate to and to show them that yes it is possible but that’s one of the main things women need to do is seek that support system and also get help and the faster…sooner you do it and the breastfeeding, the better it is for
the outcome because the longer you wait then it just becomes more progressively difficult. So segway into our last question. What’s one thing that you would tell a brand new breastfeeding mum, if you gave her one piece of advice, the one thing that saved you? What would you tell her?
Lara: The one thing that saved me was really perseverance; you have to know…look breastfeeding is a choice and it’s something that I chose to do, it was very important for my family. I never cast judgment on any other mum or any other choices that they make. You as a mum have to know what’s really important to you; you have to know what really drive you and persevere and there were many times through this whole process when I wanted to throw my hands up and say, “that’s enough for me, it’s far too difficult or I’m in too much pain or whatever but it was going to my why. The reason why I was doing this that made me persevere.
I think it’s really important to identify upfront even if you don’t know what the journey’s going to look like but just identify upfront what that, why you’re doing it and where you want to eventually get and then find the tools, the resources to help you get there and for me that was my midwife was huge in helping me know that nipple shields and a pump would save my life and make me able to breastfeed.
If I didn’t…my friends and my mother didn’t know about this. You really have to a broad perspective of opinions and advice and turn to all of the amazing tools that we have today like what you’re doing. There’s mum groups online and just get various perspectives and stay true to what’s really important to you, don’t let other people’s journeys make you think that yours isn’t sufficient.
Nicole: I always end on an Amen. You really touched on some great points and thank you for that tip because that is…and I hate to make you sound like this is like a business, because we said goals and business. We said goals for our life and that’s one of the things I reiterate and I tell my mums in the beginning, make a list of your goals and why you’re doing this. That’s just true period for life, that’s what keeps you going through those harsh period for life and you actually look back on your why and stay true to your why.
Nicole: Thank you so much Lara, I know so many mums are going to take some of the golden nuggets from your story and from your advice and be motivated to continue even through those difficult times. So thank you Lara.
Lara: Thank you for putting this on, this was great.