Shira Johnson, IBCLC 

Serving Grand Rapids
& West Michigan
 

About Me

My passion is empowering families to meet their unique parenting goals when it comes to nurturing their babies. I will listen to your concerns and honor your intuition; you know your baby better than anyone. I encourage you to listen to your instincts when it comes to parenting your child. Every parent/baby pair is unique, so every case is different. I provide information, resources and options based on your unique situation, your individual goals, all informed by experience, current research and evidence-based practice. 

I'm a mom. I'm passionate about the sacred connection between parents and their babies. I grew up in mid-Michigan, graduated from the University of Michigan, then traveled, studied and lived all around the U.S. before returning to Michigan with my own family in 2016. I have two daughters, both of whom I breastfed.

My own experience with birth and motherhood sparked my interested in the amazing field of lactation. I'm fascinated by the value of breast milk for its nutritional and immune properties, as well as by the important role that feeding plays in bonding and development. I had studied many things (psychology, yoga, massage, nutrition), but hadn't landed on a profession that felt just right until I began supporting parents in nurturing their babies. 

I was fortunate to study under some of the best lactation professionals (IBCLCs, midwives, doulas, naturopaths & herbalists), and graduate from the Lactation Consultation program at Birthingway College of Midwifery in Portland, Oregon in 2016. In 2017 I passed my IBCLC board exam and started my practice. 

I especially love the flexibility of being in private practice, as I'm free to do lengthy visits with my clients, wherever they feel most comfortable. 

What is an IBCLC

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, IBCLC, is the highest certification for lactation professionals. 

Other providers (physicians, nurses, midwifes, doulas, etc.) may have lactation knowledge and experience, but only IBCLCs meet the rigorous qualifications for lactation-specific classroom education & clinical hours under a certified mentor. IBCLCs are required to receive lactation-specific continuing ed every 5 years, so we are usually up-to-date on new research and information. Not all providers are equally educated or experienced, and not all Lactation Consultants are IBCLCs! 

If you have already received lactation advice but are still struggling, it is definitely worthwhile to keep looking until your concerns are addressed.

Suspect a tongue tie?

As a lactation consultant, I've become increasingly interested in infant oral function. Much of my continuing ed has been on this topic, and the more I learn, the more I understand how important it is! I'm fascinated by how necessary good function and posture are for feeding, as well as for many other skills & development throughout life.

I've worked with hundreds of tongue-tied babies, and I understand how impactful ties can be. While I cannot make diagnoses as an IBCLC, we can identify various signs/symptoms commonly associated with ties (e.g. reflux, gas, painful nursing, poor weight gain, etc.), and I can educate you about the process of addressing ties, make referrals, direct you towards trusted local resources, and be your consultant throughout the process. 

(See blog post about tongue tie for more info). 

 
 

Testimonials

"Shira is not only knowledgable but is a real pleasure to work with. She has helped my son & I work through breastfeeding challenges, coordinated care with other providers, and has provided excellent followup.

I can't recommend her enough.

She has made such a difference in our breastfeeding journey, and has provided wonderful encouragement and support.

She is up to date on all the best practices and really knows her stuff!"