The following clients have given us their permission to share what they have to say about Sylvia Boyd’s services as well as some images of their now happy babies. These mothers can testify to the type of help you can expect to receive working with Sylvia. Further testimonials and reviews can also be found on Yelp!
Marco is doing great now. He is enjoying the breastfeeding especially in the cradle position, and he appears to like being held while feeding. We’re very impressed with your skills. Your therapies target the tension that can happen in a newborn as a result of a hard birth….we were not aware that something like this even existed!
Also, your knowledge of breastfeeding and relaxation techniques brought immediate results. Marco had problems latching, and his body was very tight because of his difficult delivery – he never engaged in the birth canal and he had the umbilical cord around his neck, thus impeding any movement in the womb.
The therapy sessions with Dave Harnage were excellent as well. After one hour we could visibly see Marco’s tightness disappear, and how much more relaxed he was during breastfeeding sessions. Since birth, his limbs were very tight, his hands closed, and his head always was to his right side. Now he has more freedom of movement, his arms and legs are extended and relaxed, and his head is not in the right side position all the time.
Thanks to you and Mr. Harnage, Marco’s problems with physical tension, and his inability to latch properly are now gone. We highly recommend you both, and give you our permission to use us as a reference.
David, Maria & Marco
Thanks for the email. Yes, I went to a La Leche League meeting and got some helpful advice. They weren’t sure if it was Raynaud’s but I treated it so. I took acidophilus for a while and I am still taking Omega 3. It took me about 12 weeks to get the whole breast feeding thing working and stop hurting. I totally understand why people give up but I persevered. Now it’s second nature. Samantha is growing like a weed. We just started introducing solids to her and sweet potatoes so far are her favorite. We are having so much fun with her…what a joy it is to be a parent!
Sylvia is by far the most knowledgeable person I know. I met her more than 5 years ago and just had my third baby. She has helped me through every single pregnancy whether it be Lamaze classes, or breast feeding help, doula service advice or physical therapy on my children. Her monthly mommy and me classes are a great way to meet other moms as well as get advice and connect. I swear there is nothing this woman cannot do. She is very talented and understanding. She has always gone above and beyond what I believe most lactation consultants would and I fell I am very VERY lucky to have her in my corner!
It was wonderful. I’m very surprised that more mothers don’t nurse. It was the most wonderful experience I believe I’ve ever had, that is next to being Kassidy’s mom. The bond is incredible!!! Thanks again for all your help, we greatly appreciated it!
When my son was born, he could hold his head up and had amazing control. Little did we realize it was because the muscles in his neck were so tight due to a probable injury in the birth canal. At three weeks old, he started to cry all day non-stop no matter what I tried. I started nursing him from the moment he would wake up in the morning and keep him pretty much at the breast all day. Yet he was inconsolable, crying upwards of fourteen hours a day. As a new mom, I had no clue what could be causing his discomfort, so I took him into the doctor. I had three doctors appointments over the next two months and their advice was to, “wait it out” “it’s just colic and he’s not in any pain” and they would reaffirm what I was already doing. No one in our family had ever experienced anything like this, so their advice came across as if I was doing something wrong and that I was causing my baby’s unhappiness. Comments like, “maybe he’s not getting enough milk to drink,” or “he’s not gaining very much weight…what does your doctor say?”, or the worst, “he’s manipulating you…you just have to put him down and let him cry it out,” all led me to doubt myself and the commitment I had made to breastfeeding.
I knew that something had to be done. I just didn’t know what. The worst part was that my instincts told me that something was wrong with my son and over time it continued to get worse and not better. Even my husband noticed how tight our son was when he would hold him and how he would arch his back instead of cuddling close when I would nurse him. I finally decided to get confirmation that breastfeeding was not a contributing factor and so I contacted Sylvia Boyd, a lactation consultant. She confirmed all my feelings and validated my concerns that my son was indeed in pain and needed some therapy. I took him for CranioSacral Therapy and from the very first session I noticed a remarkable improvement. My baby would scream through the whole session and yet afterwards he was amazingly calmer, relaxed, looser, and he would sleep! Not only was my son relieved, but I was also incredibly relieved to have found the answer to his problem.
The birth was difficult on me, so it’s not hard to imagine how hard it was on him! Altogether my son had eight sessions of therapy and with great success. He was so forceful that some sessions required the work of three adults in order to address all of his areas of discomfort. I would nurse him through most of the therapy and found that after the session was over he would nurse much more relaxed. I was impressed by how the therapists and my son communicated and understood each other ¬ his cries let them know what areas to address and they would respond by relieving the discomfort he felt in that area. It was amazing to watch this delicate interplay and how such light touch could bring healing to a hurting body.
Through this experience the most important lessons I learned were to not listen to the negative comments of others (who really have no business giving advice), to listen and trust my instincts, and that breastfeeding is the best thing that I can give my child despite the pressures from the medical field and society that would lead me to believe otherwise. I highly recommend the outstanding expertise of Sylvia Boyd, Nancy Burke, Aria Rose and Dusa Althea. They are very gifted and wonderful to work with.
I know that my son would agree!
First of all I want to thank you. In the days since you first saw Milo, we’ve made tremendous progress. And we so enjoyed having you in our home. Both Phil and I felt immediately comfortable with both you and your approach. As we watched you handle our newborn baby with such expertise, gentleness, love and finesse, we instantly knew that we’d found the right person to help us solve our problems. And Milo clearly enjoyed his therapy!
When we first called you, we were in a state of panic, having made no progress with the multiple nurses and lactation consultants we’d talked to. Milo was unable to nurse at all and suffering from a broken right collarbone. Though none of the other practitioners we’d spoken with identified a possible link between the injury and the inability to nurse, both Phil and I thought the two might be connected. You can imagine our relief to hear from you that they were and that there was hope that Milo would be able to be a champion breast-feeder like his older brother was.
Monday morning before you came, Milo’s broken right collarbone, limp arm, and lazy eye were in bad shape. He regularly favored his left-side, usually only opening his left eye, barely moving his right arm at all (usually just letting it lay limp at his side with just minimal movement), and rarely showing more than vague interest in nursing. Even finger feeding and bottle feeding were tricky as he tended to push the nipple or the finger out of his mouth with his tongue. Just getting him set up to eat each time was an ordeal, even without attempting to get him to nurse.
After you left our house Monday evening, things were dramatically different and better already. He nursed for two hours straight on Monday evening! And has shown much improvement in both his enthusiasm and abilities. Though we clearly still have more work to do.
Since then we’ve been making slow but steady progress. After the second time you saw Milo, the grip in his right hand was caught up with that of his left (in terms of strength). He now has long and happy periods of awake time daily where he looks around wide-eyed with both eyes open. And his right arm seems as active and comfortable as his left.
And the third time you saw him, only seemed to enhance the improvements we’ve seen so far. Latching is progressively easier each time. No more pumps and bottles! And we’re now able to nurse in many other positions besides just the side-laying position we started with originally. His suck seems much stronger and less lop-sided. And though we’re still using the nipple shield, he is able to nurse without it occasionally. I am optimistic about being able to give it up eventually.
In general, Milo seems more relaxed and happy. He sleeps better as well. We could not be more pleased with the results we’ve seen from your treatments. And I can’t thank you enough for helping our family get through this rocky period and onto the path of happy breast-feeding we so enjoyed with our older son.
Some 16 years ago, Sylvia came to my rescue in breastfeeding. I am always grateful for the memory of how she was instant in her help when I was desperate and just about to give in to formula feeding. She was determined to find ways to help him latch on as he had a weak suck due to 3 badly administered epidurals! Sylvia patiently but doggedly worked to get me and baby boy to latch. Finally success! He thrived and I was able to experience being a mother at age 45!
Now as a grandmother for the 1st time, my own daughter, 36, enlisted Sylvia for the same help. I am thankful to see her and her own baby experiencing the closeness that was so encouraged with Sylvia’s consultation.
Sylvia is kind and it’s not just business. She really and truly cares for mother and baby to make that special connection. She offers her help on a sliding scale. Don’t let cost prohibit from seeing her!
My advice to mothers who need such help is: SAVE YOURSELF A TON A GRIEF AND TIME, SEE SYLVIA! DON’T WAIT!
Thank you Sylvia!
How lucky we were the day a friend, knowing we were struggling with our 3 week-old son, called to say that her Aunt Sylvia was in Oregon for Thanksgiving. Sylvia generously saw us and offered invaluable help. Owen was born 3-1/2 weeks prematurely, and though perfectly healthy, was tiny (4 lbs, 5 oz), sleepy and had difficulty latching. Breastfeeding was the only option in our minds, but every feeding was agonizingly painful and inefficient. Owen was gaining weight as expected, but after 5 minutes of trying to breastfeed, we would usually give up, use a breast pump, and feed him by bottle.
We had been attending a large, hospital-sponsored breastfeeding support group since Owen’s birth. However, Sylvia’s focused, individual attention was just what we needed. She recognized that I had Thrush and gave us simple instructions on how to cure this very painful condition, making breastfeeding much more comfortable in just a few days. She massaged the inside of Owen’s mouth to help relax his muscles for a better latch. Sylvia taught us several alternative breastfeeding positions, including how to breastfeed laying down. This helped us move Owen from a bassinet to the family bed, where we were all able to sleep much better.
In the weeks following our visit with Sylvia, breastfeeding improved dramatically. We were spending much less time and energy trying to get Owen to latch and nurse. He was gaining weight at a rapid clip, giving us the confidence to return the rented breastpump and to let go of a prescribed feeding schedule. We were only able to spend one afternoon with Sylvia, but thanks to the skills, resources and encouragement she gave us, we’re still breastfeeding three years later.
– Kaylene, Matt & Owen
We feel very fortunate to have had our Lamaze class with you for our first child, Christina. After taking your class, Antonia and I were well prepared for what to expect during labor. When Christina was born, she weighed a healthy 8 pounds. But, it wasn’t long before she lost a significant amount of weight, nearly one pound in four days.
Having heard from you and everyone at Kaiser Permanente, that breast feeding is the best thing for baby, we really wanted to solve whatever the problem was with breast feeding our daughter. You arrived at our home on the fifth day and immediately we were put at ease and assured that, with a little effort and some persistence, we would be transitioning away from formula feeding. Your techniques for relaxing both my wife and daughter, and for creating a comfortable nursing environment, are what made all the difference for us. Your confidence in her innate ability to feed our baby gave us all the inspiration we needed to stick with the plan.
Fortunately for us, things started turning around in less than two weeks. With breast pumping and persistence, we were able to do away with formula after three weeks. At her two month checkup, she weighed 13 pounds, placing her at the 95th percentile for children her age! Clearly, Antonia is producing all the milk Christina could ever want, and then some. In fact, she often pumps milk while feeding Christina, and freezes it for future use. Out of all this, I have come to the conclusion that timing, confidence, and technique were the most important factors in our success. We recognized there was a problem and sought your help immediately. Had we delayed, we probably would have to feed Christina formula. Thanks to you, we’re saving money and have a very happy and healthy baby girl. Thanks again.
– Nathan, Antonia, and Christina
Talila’s First Birth Experience
When I was pregnant I went to a breastfeeding class. I already knew that as natural as breastfeeding is, it’s not always intuitive. I remember witnessing the pains of my sister’s struggle to nurse her baby. I also remember my mother’s story of how she weaned both me and my sister from the breast after only a few weeks because we were biting until she bled. I thought it would be useful to learn the ‘tricks’ before the birth. I thought that if I knew the right ‘moves’ then everything would be OK. I didn’t expect that my baby wouldn’t know her part – I was sure that all babies are born knowing how to suckle. Well, my daughter didn’t. She couldn’t latch on properly and, needless to say, was constantly hungry her first few days.
At home, things took a turn for the worse. Without the nurses’ help, Netah either wasn’t latching on at all, or she would bite down on me hungrily, getting blood instead of milk (which was still plentiful). The tube alongside the nipple didn’t work well from the start, and at home I couldn’t get it to work at all. Netah was sleeping most of the time and when she wasn’t, she was very alert and quiet, constantly moving her head in a futile search, a sign that, I later learned, was an indication of dehydration. My husband and I were clueless and desperate. We realized that without professional help, we’d have to give Netah the bottle. On our second day at home, when she went several hours without wet diapers, we realized that it can’t keep on hoping that Netah will eventually pick up suckling on her own.
We called Sylvia Boyd, a lactation consultant. Immediately she set us up with a rental breast pump and a supplement system that involved breastmilk being supplied from a large syringe through a tube that run along a parent’s finger into the baby’s mouth. This system worked much better than the nipple tube, as it was much easier to place it and keep it in the baby’s mouth. The advantage of this system over the bottle is the suckling technique, which is similar to the breastfeeding technique and has less chance of confusing the baby. It was just in time – Netah had already lost more than the normal 10% of her birth weight.
Already in the hospital I realized there was a problem. My daughter, Netah, was very sleepy in the first couple of days and had to be wakened to be fed. Her attempts to suckle were very forceful and painful (my nipples cracked and bled, too), but she wouldn’t get much and would stop attempting and start crying instead. Milk supply was not a problem – I had plenty and it leaked freely whenever Netah was next to me. In fact, in frustration I used to express the milk by hand directly into my daughter’s mouth, trying to give her something. Needless to say, I did a lot of crying together with my poor baby. It didn’t help my state of mind that my roommate had her baby nurse without any problems whatsoever from the moment of birth. I thought I was doing such a bad job as a mother!
While in the hospital, I had my baby room-in with me and whenever it was time for feeding, I called for a nurse to help me out. The nurses were a great help and it seemed from time to time that my baby was ‘getting it’ and suckling after all. She still wasn’t wetting enough diapers, however, and the nurses told me I had to supplement her with a bottle. Here was my dilemma: my baby wasn’t getting enough, yet I feared that once I start giving her the bottle then I’ll never get breastfeeding to work successfully.
One of the nurses suggested that I supplement through a tube along the nipple. The idea wasn’t very convenient but it seemed to work. The first time I used it, my baby got a few cc’s of formula given to me by the nurse who helped me with the tube. After that, I insisted that any following supplement would be with my own milk, so I used the hospital breast pump to express milk to supplement through the tube. All that time I insisted that Netah not be fed with a bottle. One of the reasons why Netah couldn’t latch on was because she was frequently twisting her head to the left and had difficulty to align her mouth with the nipple. When Sylvia inspected Netah, she could tell that the baby was very tense, with tight lips and a tongue that was not moving forward. Then she suggested CranioSacral Therapy to help Netah relax.
The struggle to get Netah breastfeeding took about three weeks, during which Netah had three CranioSacral Therapy sessions, two with Dave Harnage in Hayward and one with Dusa in San Francisco. I kept putting Netah to my breast as often as possible. I took Sylvia’s advice to be skin-to-skin with her (we co-sleep together). I cried each time when Netah would take a full meal through the tube right after she’d been an hour on the breast, but loved to see her filling up and gaining weight.
After each therapy session, I could see Netah was more relaxed and she struggled less and less at the breast. Her lips and tongue loosened up and she wasn’t hurting me anymore. After the last therapy session, we decided to stop the tube supplement. It seemed like Netah wouldn’t have enough – she was at the breast nearly constantly. I was so exhausted that I nearly collapsed, but after two days of marathon breastfeeding, things eased and Netah settled into an easier routine and never required supplement since.
Now, at 11 weeks, Netah has had only my milk and has doubled her birth weight. She likes to be at the breast not just to eat but also to relax and to lull herself to sleep. At nights, she often doesn’t even wake up – she latches on, feeds, and returns to sleep without opening her eyes once and resumes deep sleep after 10 minutes. The only problem we have now is that she loves the breast so much that she’s unwilling to receive a bottle (with my milk) from her father, which makes it difficult for me to leave her with him for more than three hours, and makes him feel rejected.
I’m glad I insisted on breastfeeding. Not only is it the best nutrition for my baby, but it is also a special time of bonding for us. There’s no description for the feeling I have when Netah gazes at me during feeding. I can’t imagine where we would be now without Sylvia’s help – her experience, encouragement, and the therapy sessions. Now Netah is a healthy and happy baby. I couldn’t have asked for more.
– Netah and Mom in Yosemite, nursing away
I needed help from a lactation consultant with (gasp) my second child. I thought I was a pro since I didn’t encounter any problems with my first child. Sylvia was very accommodating with her schedule and agreed to see me the next day at 6:00pm. My session with her helped me a great deal with the breastfeeding issues I was having with my son. She also asked a lot of questions regarding my pregnancy and labor and did some therapy on my son. I was amazed on how accurate she was on my experience. Sylvia knows her stuff!! I highly recommend her!!!!