Saturday, July 30, 2011

The KIT Project: Knowledge Growing into Wisdom

With increasing frequency, friends and clients have been asking me to post a detailed description of my services on my blog. Given that my work is somewhat unique, I am going to try. I am a lactation consultant. That’s how I meet most of the mommas I help; they come to me to help them feed their babies. Over the years, I have developed a varied client base from all over the globe, many connecting with me through the internet, although the majority of my referrals are still by word-of-mouth. Because I take a holistic approach to lactation, using homeopathy, herbs and home remedies, as well as nutrition to support my clients, I find that many of them naturally become interested in applying this same approach to other areas of their lives, especially in raising their children.

BACKGROUND: Before becoming a lactation consultant, I was a mother learning to trust in and support the body’s innate healing process in raising my own children in an ever-evolving holistic paradigm. Before becoming a mother, I went through an agonizing and ultimately expansive journey in healing my own body. Read my " I Wasn't Born This Way" post. Without a doubt, my personal experiences have informed my passion for educating and supporting other mothers. I think my perspective on family health has uniquely evolved through the benefit of learning to raise my own children holistically while simultaneously learning to use the same skills with my clients. There is no more effective way to learn than to teach and to so while relying on observation, intuition and trust in the process of healing, I have been able to identify and meet the needs of my clients in an integrative way.

I took the first key step several years ago, while living in Connecticut, when I organized a once-per-week Mom’s Group for my clients, subsequently setting up a yahoo group so that clients from all geographic areas could receive support. The transformation in the women involved in these groups and thus, in their families is nothing short of amazing. The false premise that people do not want information that might challenge their lives and their mainstream world-views cannot hold its own against mothers fed up with seeing their children sick, over-medicated and behaving in ways that make no sense. In focusing on raising healthy children, they find they have evolved healthier families overall.

Most of the moms in my group have been interested in learning about nutrition and gut healing, home remedies, homeopathy and other forms of energy medicine.  In spite of the success of the group, I was constantly frustrated when the same questions came up with each new influx of clients, because it meant that the need and desire for information was universal, but was not being met. I wanted to find a way to provide many more moms with a much broader skill set than I could within the group context.

original products--we have replaced a few and added new ones

BIRTH OF THE KIT: One day six years ago, after a particularly hectic group in which moms were eager to have another discussion about natural healing remedies, I sat down with two friends and we made a list of all the natural healing products we had been using for years in taking care of our own families. We brainstormed, included everything we could think of, then eliminated the ones we would not consider essential if stranded indefinitely on a desert island. We eliminated the products we thought duplicated one another. What we had when we were finished was a pretty amazing Home Remedy KIT. The KIT contains approximately 40 products from homeopathic remedies, to herbs, first aid treatments and immune support. It addresses all of the common ailments you might encounter such as minor injuries, colds, headaches, stomach aches, rashes, sunburn, insect bites and much more. Because the KIT contained the very same products we would suggest when  advising our own friends and families, we called it the Sumati (sanskrit for “good advice”) Home Remedy KIT.

WORKSHOPS: Next, I wrote a curriculum for a full-day workshop on Home Remedies and offered the course to my clients, in combination with offering the KIT. I taught the use of simple household medicines such as garlic, onion and other kitchen herbs, as well as common products that could be purchased. The project was a resounding success. It accomplished exactly what I had hoped, allowing mothers to immediately implement the new information, rather than storing it away for future reference. In particular, having the Kit made using the remedies immediately accessible and participating in the yahoo group allowed moms to try things, ask questions and learn quickly.

I repeated the workshops, but incorporated them into a three-day series entitled Raising Children Holistically, including Nutrition and Energy Medicine. Moms loved them! They found they gained enough solid information to feel confident in taking care of their own children, in supporting one another, in educating their families and in finding the motivation to explore these topics well beyond the basics offered in the workshops.

EVOLVING: There have, however, been significant challenges in getting this information beyond such a small, self-referring audience. First, the KITS need to be produced in sufficient quantity to make them available on an on-going basis and this requires funding. While the workshop can be taught without the KITS, at least 90% of people who take the workshop prefer to have them, given how convenient they are to use. I have even given a dozen or so private tutorials, along with the purchase of the KIT to folks who have just wanted to learn how to use natural remedies and cannot get to a workshop.  Secondly, to reach an audience large enough to significantly make a shift towards what I believe could easily be common knowledge, I need to teach the workshops as webinars, providing on-going support via website and through free follow-up webinars. Thirdly, I need to develop materials that support parents’ ability to integrate holistic practices into their daily lives. Ebooks and phone apps are my first goals on that front. My intention is that our children learn this information and these skills so thoroughly that it becomes their primary healing language. My evidence that this is possible comes from my own family, where my adult and teenage children have grown up with these skills and are adept in treating themselves and others.

WEBINARS & MORE: What I have designed is a webinar series that rolls much of the three individual workshops into one. Over 6 two-hour sessions, I will cover the basics of nutrition and gut health, home remedies and energy medicine. Participants will be offered the Home Remedy KIT for purchase. I will set up two free one-hour webinars per month to provide on-going support. Over the next several month
s, as funding increases, I will activate additional support opportunities such as my website, a variety of ebooks and ultimately a phone app. It has taken me twenty-five years to learn as much as I have because there has never been a good resource—I want to offer other parents the opportunity to learn and integrate this information much more quickly and efficiently.

While the workshops in no way supplant the appropriate use of medical care, they provide attendees with the knowledge and skills to maintain their own and their families’ health and well being through the use of excellent nutrition, self care of common ailments and energy medicine, such as EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). Indeed, they may well support more effective use of medical intervention, when necessary, as healthier people tend to respond better overall to medical care.

Over the past twenty years, I have worked with thousands of families and the most rewarding experience has been in watching families take full control of their own well-being through implementation of this information. My clients have encouraged me for years to take the KIT and workshops to a whole other level, but I thus far I have not had all of the pieces in place to do so. At this juncture, I have made the decision to take this project off the back burner and make it a priority. Given the number of mothers who contact me through the internet asking for this information, I think the time is now. I cannot possibly continue to help enough mothers on an individual basis to reach everyone who is interested.

KNOWLEDGE GROWING INTO WISDOM: Currently, I need to raise capital for product, for development and for implementation. When you consider the difference in a child raised on real foods, not exposed to antibiotics or over-the-counter medications (so often the subject of recalls), taught to trust and know and heal his own body, vs a child raised on the Standard American Diet, living with allergies, asthma, ear infections, behavior problems, often overweight and cognitively compromised, I would think there really is only one choice for parents to make. Raising children holistically does not mean you will never have a sick child by any stretch of the imagination. What it does mean is that you will have children with a strong foundation, better able to manage the reality of living in a world of environmental toxins, ever-evolving microbes and significant physical and emotional stress on so many levels. I can think of nothing more worthy of the effort I have expended in learning these skills over 25 years, than the fact that I have children who now have the innate ability to care well for themselves throughout their lives. 

FUNDRAISER: Right now I am running an IndieGoGo Fundraiser to take this project to its full potential. Folks who donate will be offered opportunities to receive a Kit or attend a webinar. Please stop by my IndiGoGo page and support this project. My current goal is to purchase product for the KITS, launch the webinar series, complete the basic support materials and get the website revisions and phone app underway. That goal is $22,000 with a deadline of October 7.

SUPPORT THE KIT PROJECT!  Of course, you can support the project at a basic level with any amount of money. As a matter of fact, if everyone I know donates only $10, I would be more than 1/2 way there! But, I want this energy to go well beyond simple support—I want folks involved! I want folks excited about this project!
SOMETHING NEW JUST FOR YOU! So, I have gone ahead and done something that’s been brewing in my mind for a while—I have designed a Sumati Mini travel/overnight KIT specifically for this fundraiser. I polled the scores of folks already using the Sumati Home Remedy KIT for their input and I am really excited about the final product. So, for a donation of $200, you will receive the Sumati MiniKIT and the link for an ebook on the use of the remedies.  For a donation of $450, you will be able to attend the webinar series free of charge as well--so the MiniKIT and the webinar series together!.

For a donation of  $700, you will receive the Sumati Home Remedy KIT and a link for an ebook on the use of the remedies. For a donation of $1000, you will be able to attend the webinar series free of charge as well--so the Sumati Home Remedy KIT and the webinar series together!.

But, I want everyone to have a chance to attend a workshop series or have a KIT. So, for every $500 raised, I will draw 1 name from among those who have donated between $10- $200 to receive a free Sumati MiniKIT and when we reach each $1000 mark, I will also draw a name to receive free workshop attendance for the series. Look for additional perks to be added as we get closer to our goal!

The first workshop series is scheduled to launch in September, with a new series launching every few weeks on different days and times, so that hopefully everyone should find a time they can manage. Of course, all perks may be gifted to another person. All products will ship within 30 days of the end of the fundraiser—so well in advance of the holidays. However, we will ship sooner, as we have enough perks ordered to make bulk purchases of products. Shipping to some countries may not be possible due to costs or restrictions. In effect, what you are doing by participating in this project is enabling it to launch. The money you are donating above and beyond the actual cost of products funds the development of the support system, which in my experience, is the backbone of the project's success.

There is also opportunity in my plan for two key investors, in addition to the amazing family who helped me get this whole project underway this past Spring with an investment at the development phase. If you are interested at that level please contact me by email at

And, in keeping the original intent, my description of services, current and under construction is now on my blog.

Highlight on Services


Holistic Lactation Consulting in person or via skype or phone with a focus on complex feeding issues specific to normalizing milk supply, supporting babies in overcoming allergies and slow growth, maternal and infant gut health and healing, and evaluation and support for tongue-tie. –Intake 150euros/ $175. Follow up 60euros/$75 per hour.
Holistic Parenting Consults and Mentoring (via skype or telephone), including one-time consults (usually focused on nutrition or gut healing) as well as multi-week mentoring in supporting families in making overall lifestyle changes including nutrition and gut healing, integrating home remedies and other holistic practices. – One-time consult 175euros/$200, otherwise fee varies depending upon format.
Workshops for Parents on Raising Children Holistically
These can be done in person in a variety of ways, including a one-day introductory workshop, a two-day workshop that incorporates Nutrition, Home Remedies and Energy Medicine or over 3 full-day workshops. --Fee varies depending upon format.
Webinars for Parents on Raising Children Holistically are offered on an on-going basis via WizIQ (12 hours over 6 weeks) and incorporates Nutrition, Home Remedies and Energy Medicine-- $100
Sumati—Home Remedy KIT--$350
Raising Children Holistically Webinar (12 hours over 6 weeks) and incorporates Nutrition, Home Remedies and Energy Medicine) & Home Remedy KIT--$430
Raising Children Holistically Home Remedy personal tutorial (3 hours) & Home Remedy KIT--$475
Customized Webinars can be designed for small groups with individualized focus. Webinars for a group living in a geographic area is an ideal opportunity as it allows the group to continue to work together to facilitate more rapid growth and learning. Fee varies depending upon the material covered and the length of the webinar.
Webinars on Gut Health and Healing offers 3 participants at one time an opportunity to engage in a semi-private discussion (2 hours in length) specific to the needs of their own family while learning from the experience of others and reducing the cost of a private consult. 60euros/$75 per webinar per person.
Heal the Mother, Heal the Baby: Nutrition, Gut Health, the Enteric Nervous System & Breastfeeding
The internal terrain reflects itself in the external terrain in a myriad of ways that may well explain many breastfeeding problems. Gut health and integrity drives the nature of the enteric nervous system, thus the implications for well-being are significant. When the maternal body’s reaction to imbalance results in a pro-inflammatory response, a cascade of disease processes may result. Maternal health and well-being, post-partum depression, food allergies, milk supply, PCOS, tongue-tie, reflux, "high-need" infant behavior, slow growth, failure to thrive and numerous feeding difficulties may all find origins in the integrity and vitality of the mother’s internal terrain. In attending to the health of the maternal gut, while supporting the infant in his own healing, we may find that many breastfeeding problems are resolved both acutely and chronically. In a discussion of maternal gut health, the function of the enteric nervous system and the implications for infant gut integrity, we will come to a deeper understanding of why healing the mother's gut may well be integral to successfully addressing a wide array of breastfeeding difficulties.
Holistic Practices in Lactation: A 2-Day Workshop with Jennifer Tow, IBCLC
More and more mothers are interested in using non-pharmaceutical approaches for treating the most common physical and emotional concerns of pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding. Practitioners who recognize the normalcy of birth and breastfeeding are well-equipped to support mothers in accessing and utilizing holistic approaches to care. Practitioners can easily gain basic knowledge and skills in homeopathy, energy medicine such as Bach Flowers and EFT, herbs, home remedies and nutrition specific to the needs of pregnant and nursing mothers. In using these therapies, mothers are offered an alternative to more interventive care, while the practitioner also models a holistic approach that the mother can integrate into her own care and the raising of her family.
These holistic approaches are simple and practical and can often be integrated immediately. Some are both preventive and therapeutic such as the use of nutrition in pregnancy, while others are deeply supportive such as the use of Bach Flowers or EFT. Most have acutely therapeutic applications such as the use of home remedies, herbs or homeopathy for treating mastitis or plugged ducts, normalizing milk supply or healing birth trauma.
Optimizing Human Potential Through Normalizing Infant Feeding
I have given this workshop at a wide variety of conferences, including those for lactation consultants, chiropractors, pre and perinatal psychologists and birth professionals. The workshop focuses on recognizing and healing compensatory feeding behaviors using an integrative approach designed to restore healthy function. There is an emphasis on healing birth trauma and detecting and treating tongue-tie, including the importance to structural work in normalizing function. A holistic approach to normalizing milk supply and addressing other breastfeeding problems in integrated into the case presentation.
Webinars, a book on Holistic Practices in Lactation, ebooks and a curriculum are currently in development.