Exploring Pacify – An App that Provides Support for New Parents with Melanie Silverman [IEP 027]
We’re exploring a resource that can be helpful for new parents, especially new moms, in our audience. The resource is an app called Pacify and in this episode, we’re chatting with the Chief Clinical Officer of Pacify – Melanie Silverman. Pacify is a paid phone application which provides unlimited, video-enabled, 24/7 access to Pediatric Nurses, Registered Dietitians, and Lactation Consultants.
Melanie joins us to highlight the features of this app and to explain how new moms can get many of their lactation and nutrition questions answered and needs met via the app.
Full show transcript at the bottom of this post.
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Full Show Transcript
Vickie Brett: Welcome to the Inclusive Education Project. I’m Vickie Brett.
Amanda Selogie: I’m Amanda Selogie. We’re two civil rights lawyers on a mission to change the conversation about education, civil rights, and modern activism.
Vickie Brett: Each week, we’re gonna explore new topics, which are going to educate and empower others …
Amanda Selogie: … and give them a platform to enact change in education and level the playing field.
Vickie Brett: Welcome to the Inclusive Education Project podcast.
Amanda Selogie: Hey, guys. Oh, I thought you were gonna say something.
Vickie Brett: No. I wasn’t.
Amanda Selogie: Well, welcome. We actually had a fun last Friday event. A couple of our interns and I … Well, Vickie came, too, but she just watched. We actually all went and got tattoos, which …
Vickie Brett: I like how you try to make it seem like it’s an office event. You guys just randomly went. It was not sponsored by Selogie and Brett. It’s not like a thing …
Amanda Selogie: Team-building. We held each other’s hand …
Vickie Brett: There’s two team members that were missing. That’s not a team-building thing.
Amanda Selogie: Phillip, I don’t know why you didn’t join us. This is kind of crazy.
Vickie Brett: Oh my gosh, and then you’re putting it on Basch? He’s never gonna listen to this.
Amanda Selogie: Well, and the reason I’m bringing mine up is if you listeners have heard there at the hashtag #TheLuckyFew, it’s a hashtag for, basically, the lucky few people who their lives have been touched by kids with Down Syndrome.
So part of the reason I got into – and I’ve shared before – this field and why I have so much passion is a little boy with Down Syndrome that I worked with. So I ended up getting the three chevrons on my arm. I’m showing it. Actually, it wasn’t as painful as other areas of the body are, so that wasn’t that bad.
But we always say we eat, sleep, breathe Special Education, disability rights, kids’ education, whatnot, and not to say you guys all have to go out there and get tattoos, but take a look at the hashtag. It’s actually really cool – the people, the moms that have gone out there and gotten it. It’s pretty cool.
So that was my Friday. How was your weekend?
Vickie Brett: It was good. We were both at different events, so we were at two places at once. You were at the chalk event, which I didn’t get a chance to stop by, ’cause I was in Lake Forest, and they were doing their third annual Special Needs Fair. There were mini ponies … Mini ponies? I don’t know if you say it that …
Amanda Selogie: Li’l Sebastians?
Vickie Brett: Oh, yeah, Li’l Sebastians [crosstalk 00:02:25].
Amanda Selogie: Aw, Li’l Sebastian.
Vickie Brett: #ParkandRec. It was a really great event. There was a lot of vendors. There was a lot of people that are doing a lot of great things for the special needs community. It was great that Lake Forest, their recreational center actually hosted it, and it was a lot of fun. So that was great, and then it was just like a chill …
We’re already in the first week of May. When we’re recording this, we’re already in the first week of May …
Amanda Selogie: Yeah.
Vickie Brett: … and it’s …
Amanda Selogie: I think by the time it drops … Oh, maybe it’ll drop next week. I don’t know.
Vickie Brett: That’s true.
Amanda Selogie: But, yeah, I was at a chalk event. It was actually geared towards cancer survivors, for the most part – patients who had had childhood cancer, and they were … Most of them were transitioning from high school to college, and so it was like a resource fair. I spoke about how best to get accommodations in college and what kind of that transition process is, what do you need to do before you go off to college, and a couple of the kids did speak on survivor stories, which was, obviously, always inspirational.
One of the kids … I guess I shouldn’t say “kids,” ’cause what did I say? He was, like, 20.
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Amanda Selogie: He was in his, like, second year of college, but he did a rap for us that he had written when he was going through treatments, which was really cool.
So we love going to events like that. It’s much easier to do that for the weekend. It’s not work.
Vickie Brett: It’s all part of our experience, and that’s what we try to do on the Inclusive Education Project. Amanda and I have been attorneys for six and seven years, respectively, so we’ve seen a lot, and I think that sometimes we forget to tell you guys that, obviously, through our experiences, that’s … and just with anyone, right? That’s how you react to things. That’s how you act in different situations, and a lot of times when we meet older attorneys that are doing this area of the law, they were business attorneys for 20 years, and then they had a child with special needs, and then they fell into Special Education.
But what we have been trying to do with the Inclusive Education Project is share our experiences. I know a lot of our listeners don’t have children with special needs, but just the fact that they want to learn more … I mean, we talk about a lot of things that are not Special Education-specific related, but, if you can’t already tell, Amanda and I can pretty much make anything related back to what we’re doing.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah, and we just wanna remind everyone that’s listening that everything that we say … I mean, it’s all our opinion. It’s based on our experiences. When we say that certain things that we’ve seen, it’s not to say that every school, every teacher does that, or administrator. But it is our experience, and oftentimes, I think people get caught up in, “This is what the law says. This is what the law doesn’t say.” We do talk about the law a lot, but it’s not always the case.
I mean, when we say we try to change the conversation, it’s about that perception of disability and person-first, and it’s not about the legal argument. It’s the humanity argument, that we are all humans and we should all be treated equally, and we should have that equal opportunity to be a part of the community.
That’s where we come from, so when we say things that maybe you won’t always like what we say or agree with what we say, but we always have to kind of say … put that out there, that that’s kind of where we come from. We wanna have that conversation.
Vickie Brett: #WereAttorneys, #WereNotYourAttorneys, #ImSorryNotSorry.
Amanda Selogie: Sorry, not sorry, and in light of …
Vickie Brett: Now I’m the person that speaks in hashtags.
Amanda Selogie: Oh, man.
Vickie Brett: That’s awful.
Amanda Selogie: Especially because it’s like we can’t even pin these hashtags to anything, ’cause it’s verbal.
Vickie Brett: We will once we drop it.
Amanda Selogie: Nicole, do it for us.
Vickie Brett: Oh yeah, Nicole, we haven’t … I mean, we’ve talked about Nicole. Nicole’s our producer, so shoutout to Nicole.
Amanda Selogie: She’s amazing, and without her, obviously we would not be here.
Vickie Brett: No. She just posted something. I was like, “#YoureTheWindBeneathOurWings.”
Amanda Selogie: Oh, yeah.
Vickie Brett: It’s totally true.
Amanda Selogie: I meant to do the raising my arms up emoji. Now we’re doing emojis.
Vickie Brett: You are just, like, visually trying to do it on a podcast.
Amanda Selogie: You know what? They feel it. Our listeners can feel it.
Vickie Brett: Let’s get serious. Let’s get serious.
Amanda Selogie: In light of changing the conversation, we have, as we always say, special guests, but today, it’s a very unique topic, and we’re really excited for our special guest in the studio.
Vickie Brett: Melanie Silverman, say hi to everybody.
Melanie S.: Hi, everybody. I’m so happy to be here.
Vickie Brett: Well, thanks for coming on. I know you and I actually met at one of the Help Me Grow events. You were a presenter, or …
Melanie S.: Maybe … No, I’ll tell you what happened …
Vickie Brett: Okay.
Melanie S.: … exactly what happened. That is …
Amanda Selogie: Tell me, because I wasn’t there.
Melanie S.: Let me tell you the story. So at the end of Help Me Grow … For people who don’t know what Help Me Grow is, it’s this amazing group in Orange County, California, where they pool together resources for children. So, at the end, they have … Is it every quarter?
Amanda Selogie: Oh, right, like the little … Yeah, yeah.
Melanie S.: So, at the end, they ask, “Would anybody like to come up and talk about what they’re doing?” It was my first or second … maybe my first or second Help Me Grow. I think it was my second. I’m looking around, and there’s hundreds of people in this room. It’s my first or second one, and I … I’m like, “I’m getting up there. This is like free advertising.”
Amanda Selogie: Yeah.
Melanie S.: So I stroll up to the front, I get up there, and I say, “My name is Melanie Silverman. I’m the Chief Clinical Officer for Pacify.” For those of you that don’t know, Pacify is a mobile application that new moms download to their smart phone …
Vickie Brett: Oh, we’re gonna get into it. It’s gonna be great.
Melanie S.: I go through, and then you walked up to me afterwards and said, “Excuse me. Hello, my name is Vickie. We need to talk.”
Vickie Brett: Yeah. That sounds about right.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah, yeah, then of course, I wasn’t able to be there. I had an IEP meeting or something that morning. I can’t always go, which … Help Me Grow, their Connection Cafes are awesome, and I think we’ve … We may have talked about them before. I don’t know, maybe not.
Vickie Brett: Yeah, I feel like we have talked about the Connection Cafes. If I can’t make it, you’re there. We try to represent … It’s just a great group of people, and sometimes there’s a lot of new people, sometimes … You start seeing familiar faces. Orange County you kind of start to realize is very small, which is a good thing.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah. Oh, yeah, yeah. The community has gotten, yeah, real small. But … Then Vickie came back to the office, and she was like, “You have to meet this person I met.” I was like, “All right.” She had set it up real fast, and we had a coffee. I mean, I was telling you earlier, Vickie and I both walked away. We both got in our cars and immediately texted each other, “Oh my gosh. We have to have her on the pod. It can’t wait.”
I told Vickie … I was like … I think we had put it on the calendar right before we left, and I was like, “It’s already on … It’s happening.”
Vickie Brett: Why don’t you kind of give everybody a little bit of background info of how you made it to Pacify?
Melanie S.: Okay, I’m happy to do that. So I’m actually a pediatric registered dietician, and I’m an internationally board-certified lactation consultant. I … Just to go way back, I live here in Orange County, California but grew up in Columbus, Ohio, went to Indiana University, got a master’s degree in Clinical Nutrition, and then actually spent a long time at the University of Chicago hospitals.
I spent an obscene amount of time … and I mean that kind of in a good way. I guess I shouldn’t use that word, but … in a pediatric burns, actually. So I … What happens with a pediatric burn is that they come into the hospital … I was doing a lot of adult intensive care units, but a pediatric burn patient comes into the hospital, and they stay in the ICUs for a very long time, ’cause they have to do two things. They have to heal, and they have to grow.
So it’s an amazing experience for dieticians who work in burn units. It’s very sad and tragic in a lot of ways, but from a clinical perspective and medical perspective, it’s fascinating.
From there, I moved through different intensive care units and landed in the NICU …
Amanda Selogie: Oh, wow.
Melanie S.: … with all these premature babies and was already … knew a lot about formula, but became obsessed with breast milk and became a lactation consultant in the NICU at the University of Chicago with three IBCLC International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants, registered nurses trained me.
Amanda Selogie: Oh, wow.
Melanie S.: So I worked really intensively in the hospital, in mother babies, and still had the burn unit and just had a lot of input from what kids go through from the time they’re born – either they’re on-time or premature – all the way up until they’re three, four, five years old.
So then I opened up a private practice in Chicago, and it was interesting because what started to happen is I started to see, “Oh my gosh, it doesn’t matter where you live, where you come from, even what country you’re from. Parents have similar concerns when it comes to feeding their children.”
Amanda Selogie: I bet, yeah. We’re all people, right? The same process, right?
Melanie S.: That’s correct. So when I opened the private practice, these are people that could pay. Then I’m working during the day with … on the South Side of Chicago, and they have the same fears. So I had this really large perspective of what parents are dealing with and what they’re going through.
Then shall I discuss how I fell into Pacify?
Vickie Brett: Yeah, yeah. Please do.
Melanie S.: It’s a great story.
So it’s kind of like … I wanna say, in a kind of cute way, it’s a family business, to a certain extent. My husband is Scott, and he … His first cousin’s name is Ben Lundin, and Ben called me in 2014, out of the blue, and said, “Melanie, tell me everything there is to know about lactation consulting and breastfeeding.”
The funny thing is …
Amanda Selogie: Did you say, “How much time do you have?”
Melanie S.: I said, “Ben, you better sit down.” No, so we sat down and had several hour conversations about … He was working in healthcare consulting, and we had several hour conversations about kind of the nuances and what breastfeeding is about in the United States and when moms don’t breastfeed, what do they do, and I kind of painted a picture for him of the landscape of how that goes.
He had said to me, “Do you know that women go to the ER for breastfeeding help?”, and I said, “Well, I know there’s unnecessary ER usage. People don’t know where to go.”
Vickie Brett: You saw that. Right, right.
Melanie S.: He said, “You know, I’m thinking about building an app. I’m thinking about building an app and putting it into people’s hands, because all these people have smartphones, so they don’t go for the ER for lactation or nutrition or a nurse call.”
So we talked and talked and talked, and then he said, “I think I wanna hire you as the Chief Clinical Officer for Pacify.”
Then he was also in talks with his best friend, George Brandes, at the time. They grew up together. So the three of us got together, and they said, “Build me a network.”
So I spent time building … putting together registered dieticians and IBCLCs across the country to provide this care on an app for moms. So that’s where we are. Four years later, we’re moving along, and we’re giving moms care that really need it, oftentimes for free. So we can talk about that.
Vickie Brett: Right [crosstalk 00:12:56] mention … Yeah. No, I mean, especially because it’s one of those things where there’s no manual for having a kid, right? I mean, we probably have more access now than our mothers and grandmothers and great-grandmothers did, but it’s so difficult, just like in our area of the law.
I mean, yes, we have the law, but so many different people have so many different experiences. “Well, Bobby’s best friend’s mom, he has autism, and she got him a one-to-one aide.” I’m like, “What was the story to get us to a one-to-one aide?” I’m sure it’s very similar, and people don’t know where to turn.
Amanda Selogie: Or even just … I mean, you could read 100 books …
Vickie Brett: Right.
Amanda Selogie: … on a subject. It doesn’t mean you really know or are diving into it and could replicate it or teach it or even experience it the way that you need to. So, I mean, it’s …
Vickie Brett: I’m sure they call it “the practice of law” because we did read 100 books, and I think we learn more …
Amanda Selogie: Just because someone graduated law school and passed the Bar does not mean that they’re still not practicing.
Vickie Brett: Shade. Ooh, shade. But, I mean, having an app, it’s just … yeah. I mean, that’s where we go for anything, right? I mean, I think [crosstalk 00:14:00].
Amanda Selogie: What’re we missing?
Vickie Brett: Yeah, like …
Amanda Selogie: How many apps do you have on your phone? I probably have …
Vickie Brett: I don’t even know.
Amanda Selogie: … way too many. I remember back in the day, I still had a BlackBerry – like in law school, I still had a BlackBerry, because … and I held on a long time. Everyone was on iPhones. Everyone was on Androids.
Vickie Brett: Too long.
Amanda Selogie: She was making fun of me. She was making fun of me, and I was like, “I don’t need all these apps. I don’t do anything with my phone. I like the email feature, and that’s really all I need,” and I was very into … I was like …
Then one day, I realized I was paying for a data plan that I couldn’t even use ’cause they didn’t make apps for BlackBerry, because it just didn’t function. So I was like, “Why am I” … So I said, “Well, I guess I gotta switch, because I’m paying for it, but I’m not gonna download … I’m not gonna be one of those” … Now how many screens do I have full of apps? It’s …
Vickie Brett: Oh, I mean …
Amanda Selogie: Slippery slope.
Vickie Brett: You’re just like … here, you’re just like, “Oh.” Anywhere you get, you’re like, “What’s the wifi?”, ’cause you’re just automatically … Right? You’re just automatically … So, I mean … and a lot of people have access, like one of the one things that they have is a smartphone.
Melanie S.: In Chicago, at the time, Michael Jordan was very popular. Everybody had Air Jordans, and so my patients would come in the office with Air Jordans. I’d be like, “That child is gonna grow out of those Air Jordans.” [crosstalk 00:15:08] gonna be for the child?
Now what the neat thing is … What we found at Pacify is over 90% of women in the birthing age, in the birthing space, have smartphones. Why not put something on there that can assist them? Nutrition and lactation and any of that support, nursing support, is so important from the minute …
Vickie Brett: So why don’t you describe what this app looks like?
Melanie S.: Yeah, okay. So … You mean the screen? You want me to describe …
Vickie Brett: Yeah, yeah, like the screen.
Melanie S.: It’s purple, and it’s very lovely. We’re big purple fans, and so it’s a … I believe it’s a purple screen or some … There’s some purple decoration, and then there’s three buttons on the app. It’s very simple to use. People … We’ve had no complaints about user feeling. I don’t know what the proper term is.
But you have three choices in the palm of your hand. You have a nurse, you have a pediatric nutritionist, and you have a lactation consultant. I’m proud to say … I mean, these people that are staffing the app are some of the … They have such heart, and they’re such caring people. They wanna answer these phones.
So we actually promise a three-minute answer time, but the average pickup time is less than 30 seconds. So when we press the button, when a mom needs help breastfeeding or a mom has questions about formula feeding or whatever it is – a rash, an earache, a fever – she’s got these three buttons to press, and within about 30 seconds, she gets the care, as opposed to calling up and making the appointment and sticking the baby in the bucket and taking the baby to the doctor. It’s a lot, and so it’s instant care.
Amanda Selogie: We can speak to user-friendly. When we met up for coffee, you showed us exactly … You did a test call. I mean, it was so easy to use. I mean, I think we’re going that route of … We’ve got Uber Eats and all the other delivery services, right? We have everything that comes to us, because there aren’t as many hours in the day as we would like, and especially for moms and parents, especially ones that work, trying to figure out how to fit it all in. So it’s good that it’s kind of at your fingertips.
So they can choose … and remind us, it’s … Some of them are video, and some of them are just on the phone?
Melanie S.: Yeah, no, great point. So the nurse line is an audio-only line right now but extremely effective. Nurse lines have been around for a long time, and you can do such great care on a nurse line.
Then the dietician line, the pediatric nutritionist line, and the IBCLC, the lactation consultant line, is video. So somebody pops up, and the mom is able to explain what the problem is. Then, afterwards – which we think is very important – the mother reviews the situation, reviews how her experience was, and we have … I’m, again, proud to say, after tens of thousands of calls, that we’ve had really great reviews.
Also, my providers – and I think you’ll think this is important as attorneys – they document what they did. They must document.
Amanda Selogie: Right, yes.
Vickie Brett: Important.
Melanie S.: So it’s really important to have that happen, and we have a really great group of people that wanna pick up. These moms are … They want help, so they’re willing to press the button to get help.
Vickie Brett: You’re nationwide, right?
Melanie S.: We are.
Vickie Brett: Yeah, basically, yeah.
Melanie S.: Pacify is nationwide. Actually, there’s a couple ways people can get Pacify. Do you want me to explain?
Vickie Brett: Yes, please.
Melanie S.: I will explain for you now.
So here’s how it goes: The first is that anybody in the United States can download Pacify to their phones through the App Store or Google Play Store, download it. It costs $40 a month, unlimited, to call and get the help you need.
The second is it’s actually a baby shower gift. So we can go together to our best friend Laura’s baby shower, and we can gift her Pacify. I think it’s three months for about $99, which is nice [crosstalk 00:18:29].
The third is we just started getting into the business of employers, which so many employers actually were starting to reach out to us, like, “Hey, could this be something we show to our employees, that we really care when they” … So we’ve started talking …
Amanda Selogie: Google, get on it. They’ve got so many … I mean, we structure our benefits packaged based on, “If Google does it, we can do it.” So, Google, here you go.
Melanie S.: I mean, it’s really a signal to moms that … and dads, “We wanna help. We wanna promote the family. We wanna help you to move back into the workplace, because there’s breastfeeding support.”
The fourth and the most important part of what we do is we work a lot with the Women and Infant and Children program, Medicaid, where we actually partner with different programs to give Pacify for free to moms that qualify on their phones. So we have partnerships through the WIC program with the state of Nevada, West Virginia, Virginia, Mississippi, DC district-wide, and there’s other states that are really communicating with us all the time, trying to get this in their state. That’s been extremely rewarding.
Vickie Brett: Do you know, on average, how long people … ‘Cause I noticed with the baby shower gift, it was like, “Oh, it’s a three-month thing.” Is that typical, or are people holding onto it a little bit longer ’cause they see the benefits of it?
Melanie S.: Okay, this is … I love this question, and I’ll tell you why. The reason I feel like Pacify is kind of … Three months is a great time …
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: … ’cause there’s a lot that happens in the first three months.
Vickie Brett: Oh, I’m sure.
Melanie S.: But a lot of the people that work with the WIC program or Medicaid will get it for a year, or some people just buy it for a year …
Vickie Brett: Wow.
Melanie S.: … ’cause things happen over the year.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah.
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: So at first you’re breastfeeding or infant formula feeding. Then at four months, you start hitting the dietician button, the nutritionist button. Introduction to solid foods, four to six months. “What do I introduce? When do I introduce it? How does it happen?”
Then maybe the baby gets a fever. Maybe there’s lots of rashes that pop up. So it kind of goes that way, and so there’s buttons … You can kind of hit the button for the first year and have this access to all these providers that can really help – hopefully, and what we see is – steer you away from using unnecessary resources like ERs.
Vickie Brett: So if I’m an employer, I’m looking at the year, right?
Melanie S.: You’re looking at the year.
Vickie Brett: Yeah, and so then would it work like we would just purchase it and you would just … How much would that be? Would that …
Melanie S.: So if they would purchase is about $200 for the membership.
Vickie Brett: Oh, that … Wow. For the … Wow.
Melanie S.: Let me just say this: So that’s for a year, right?
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: Let’s just put this in perspective.
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: So when I used to make lactation visits in people’s homes, it was $150 an hour. An hour, for me.
Vickie Brett: Right.
Amanda Selogie: Easy.
Melanie S.: An hour, and maybe I make a couple phone calls, like, “How you doing? What’s going on?” We got a lot done, but to have the care 24/7, 365 for a year at $200 is pretty good.
Vickie Brett: So I’m calling, and it is … It could be someone different each time, correct?
Melanie S.: Yes.
Vickie Brett: But everything is documented …
Melanie S.: Yes.
Vickie Brett: … so if it’s a follow-up – I just hang up, and I’m like, “Oh, crap, I should have asked this other question” – I could call back and they’re like, “Oh, yeah, we have everything here. What was your follow-up?”
Melanie S.: Well, actually … So that’s a really interesting question. So that’s something that we’re building, to …
Vickie Brett: Oh, okay.
Melanie S.: … go back. But I wanna explain something that happens.
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: So when you’re an infant, your life changes day to day. So what we found is we got really nervous in the beginning, like, “Oh my gosh, they can’t reconnect with the same person,” but what I found, clinically, and what we’ve seen over time is everything’s different.
So they could call day of life 10, get one of my lactation consultants, and have these issues. Then they’ll call day of life 27, and it’ll be something completely different. So getting a different lactation consultant actually isn’t as … I don’t wanna say “negative” … as we thought it would be …
Vickie Brett: Right.
Melanie S.: … because the baby’s different.
Amanda Selogie: Right, right.
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: They literally gain an ounce a day. They literally gain … I think the other thing that’s neat is we’re really trying … and I think this is … will speak to the two of you, too, like our … Everybody on that app, whenever they call in, are really trying this kind of early intervention nutrition to really lay a foundation so these children can get the best nutrition that they can in order to succeed later.
Amanda Selogie: So talk to us a little bit about the benefits of if you’re having difficulties with the child breastfeeding and deciding to try to move through the issues you’re having rather than going straight to formula. What’s the long-term benefit for the child that you guys see, that you see happening?
Melanie S.: Yeah. Well, I haven’t seen it, but probably hundreds of thousands of research articles have seen it. Not maybe with my kids – I’m glad that they’re pretty healthy – but I think that there’s benefits. With breast-feeding, there’s benefits to baby, there’s benefits to Mom, there’s benefits to society. It’s just a global benefit.
So what our goal is, and I really wanna emphasize this to any moms that are listening out there, is that we never shame moms. That’s not in the business that we’re in. We just wanna see, “Can we help you to extend your breastfeeding? Can we find a way to do that?” So we very carefully craft a plan to try to help them to extend their breastfeeding, knowing that it’s best for them.
I think a lot of people know … If you ask somebody walking down the street, people know breastfeeding is healthy.
Amanda Selogie: Right.
Melanie S.: It’s more … It’s a surrender. Parents have to get into the right state of mind to really feed eight to twelve times a day. It’s a lot, and if you see somebody else that may be feeding formula that they’re feeding six times a day and getting sleep through the night, it’s really hard.
So I think what we try … What I try to do, ’cause I actually have to say this: I pick up the phone, actually, ’cause I wanna feel what my providers feel when they pick up the phone …
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: What I try to explain to moms, and this seems to resonate whenever I’ve counseled before, is, “This will get better. It is not good right now. I know it’s not.”
Vickie Brett: It’s temporary, yeah.
Melanie S.: “It’s temporary. This will get better. So call us tomorrow.”
That’s the beauty of Pacify. They can just keep calling. They call … I would say 40% of our callers call crying.
Vickie Brett: I’m sure.
Melanie S.: Well, how many cry in your office?
Amanda Selogie: Well, yeah. Yeah.
Vickie Brett: Well, yeah. Just the impact with postpartum and a lot of stuff, and people at the forefront, Chrissy Teigen … Shoutout to Chrissy Teigen, if you listen. #ChrissyTeigen.
Amanda Selogie: I was trying to think of it. She has a good hashtag. I follow her Instagram.
Vickie Brett: She always …
Amanda Selogie: @ChrissyTeigen. Is that her handle?
Vickie Brett: She’s fabulous. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But she just, in the last year or so, had come out with her struggles with postpartum, and people just with anxiety and depression and just thinking about … If you’re a parent and you’re just like, “I’ll go the ER,” the cutdown in costs for going to the ER, I mean, just that alone, I can’t even imagine.
But imagine. If I’m going through something new, if I’m trying kickboxing for the first time, I’m gonna call Amanda and just be like, “I’ve got all these bruises on my arm,” and you’re just like, “Ice.”
Amanda Selogie: “Deal with it.”
Vickie Brett: “Deal with it.” Dang.
Amanda Selogie: Just kidding.
Vickie Brett: I can only imagine.
Amanda Selogie: Or even … I even think I see … I’ve had a couple of friends that had gone back to work and the struggle of getting enough … pumping enough to feed their baby, going to daycare and sending enough, I’ve seen those struggles. So can the specialists and the … the dietician, I guess, help with putting together a plan for when the mom does have to go back to work?
Melanie S.: We do this all the time. So one of our biggest questions that we have – and I’ve categorized all of these questions – is, “How do I deal with going back to work?”
I’ll tell you something. A pump is a really important thing, and we’ve seen lately that there’s reductions in people … in insurance companies funding pumps. So we want to make sure that we try to teach moms all the different things that they need so that they can be successful working and providing breast milk for their patients.
Amanda Selogie: I didn’t realize a pump could be something that an insurance company provides. I feel like it’s always on the list when people register for their baby shower.
Melanie S.: Right. But it’s … Pumps, really good ones, I mean, $300.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah.
Melanie S.: They’re expensive.
Amanda Selogie: I’ve seen them on the registry, yeah.
Melanie S.: Yeah, they are expensive. So we have to, kind of as a nation, recognize … I mean, we know breastfeeding is excellent for mom, baby, and society.
Amanda Selogie: Right.
Melanie S.: So we need a workforce. We need people to pay their bills. So the logical thing for us is really to support … Pumps are the vehicle, and it’s interesting, I have to tell you. So people say, “I hate my pump. I hate it,” and I say, “Okay. We have to have a moment. I need you to leave my office or leave the Pacify call. We have to fall in love with it,” because it’s giving them the vehicle to get that breast milk into their baby …
Amanda Selogie: Right.
Melanie S.: … for their health, for baby’s health. So we talk a lot about how to deal with maintaining a supply while working. It’s very stressful, and we all should just take a moment. It’s very stressful for moms to go back to work when they have newborns, and it happens all the time, every day. People go back, and we really need to take a moment and just support.
That’s why Pacify’s so great. We’ve had so many calls from work. So people call us from their office, and they’ll just pull up their phone and be like, “I’m at work. I have a meeting in 30 minutes. Can we just talk for a second?” So my providers will provide for them then.
Amanda Selogie: Remember when we were up in … We went to visit a colleague of ours who’s an attorney in San Francisco, and we were walking through his office. We went to go to the restroom, and we realized that there was a room. It looked small, and it was quiet. There was a couch or something.
Vickie Brett: There was mood lighting.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah, it was …
Vickie Brett: It was … and a fridge.
Amanda Selogie: We look at it, and we’re like, “This is pretty cool.” At first we thought, “Maybe it’s like a meditation room.” Then we talked, and we were like, “No, it’s actually a room where employees can go, and they can pump if they need to or do whatever they need.”
I was just thinking what they should do is they should have an iPad on the wall, and they should have the Pacify app. Then while they do it, they can just go in and just call. It’s like a service that …
Melanie S.: Well, funny that you should mention that.
Vickie Brett: What?
Melanie S.: What? So we actually do that, in certain situations. In certain WIC programs across the country, there’s been many NICUs that have been interested in … Because what happens in NICUs is that they have nurses that are allocated, but lactation consultant, it’s hard sometimes. They don’t have the ability to really be staffed fully, and moms need help.
Actually, my colleague Laura and I are going up to Stanford to talk about this very thing next week. So it’s a … Pacify can be used in lots of different ways.
Vickie Brett: Yeah.
Melanie S.: It can be used in the hand of people.
Amanda Selogie: Right.
Melanie S.: It can be used as a tablet, in WIC programs, in NICUs where moms are sitting in that pump room and those babies are in there for weeks and weeks and weeks.
So we’re really trying to lay that foundation and give moms … to feel empowered and to have access right at their fingertips. One of our taglines is, “Don’t Google. Call Pacify” kind of thing, ’cause how many people …
Amanda Selogie: Oh, that’s good.
Melanie S.: I was reading …
Amanda Selogie: #GoGoogle. Oops.
Vickie Brett: Oh, no. Don’t say that.
Amanda Selogie: But we love Google, but maybe …
Melanie S.: It’s exactly what you’re saying about what you deal with with your clients. It’s never gonna give you … It can never diagnose the full picture.
Amanda Selogie: Right.
Melanie S.: You really need to look at the client and to see what’s going on fully to understand before …
Amanda Selogie: Yeah. I mean, there’s so many details involved, and … But that’s kind of nice. It’s that personal touch of having a person on the other side, especially when you have the video of it, because, I mean, I know that that’s a big thing that we get all the time, is that … With us, a lot of our families, they do wanna come into the office and see us in person.
Vickie Brett: Yeah. We’d love to be able to just video-chat you, but, I mean …
Amanda Selogie: That personal touch, I mean, you can’t beat it. I mean, as much as Google can give us information … Just like books, reading, right? You don’t know it until you have all the facts, and having someone that kind of walks you though. I think that’s … I’m sure it’s also a shoulder to cry on, too, is a big thing.
Melanie S.: Oh, yeah.
Amanda Selogie: I mean, we always say that we’re counselors in every sense of the word, ’cause sometimes our families just … They just need to talk, and I’m sure … I mean, if they call up crying, I’m sure sometimes they just need that reassurance that, “You can do it.”
Melanie S.: Yeah, I mean, I see that all the time in the charts, and we encourage that. I say to people a lot, and I would think that lactation consultants out there would agree with me, about 90% of what we do is cheerleading. But we have to know the expertise behind it for the 10% when it’s complicated.
So I just think we’re trying to start these … help these parents to start these kids off in life in a good way, with good, solid nutrition advice and breastfeeding advice or whatever way that a mom is gonna feed her baby.
So that’s what we’re trying to do every day and just spread the word about all of this.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah, that’s great. So we like to end episodes with … Do you have a touchy-feely or a success story or something that you would wanna share, like a story of something that just … It inspired you to either keep going on where you’re going or reinforce that you’re doing what you love to do?
Melanie S.: Yeah, so Ben and George, every week we kind of sat down, and … Ben is a lover of numbers, and he said, “I want … Let’s pull some stats every week about what goes on.”
So I kind of … On Fridays, I sit there, and I look at, “How was our week at Pacify? How were the calls?” I look and see what happened.
So, like I said, at the end of each call, the patients are allowed to make comments. I guess my touchy-feely moment is really every Friday, I see these comments come in that are just heartwarming, about the providers that I’ve hired who love their jobs, and it reflects in the patients’ comments.
So it just kind of … Fridays are kind of feel-good days for me at Pacify, ’cause I’m doing the stats for everybody, and then I get to send it to the entire team. We have this amazing team full of people that are super passionate, and so I get to share with them, “This is what we did this week, everybody. Keep going.”
So the comments are stuff like, “She talked me off the ledge” or “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this. I thinK I can keep going” or “This person was amazing, and this app, I can’t believe I didn’t have this app before.” So those are … That’s my answer.
Vickie Brett: I mean, it just goes to mental health. It just goes to early intervention somewhat, and I don’t think it’s just such a great idea. Obviously, the government is funding some of the WIC programming that you’re able to kind of be a part of, but your passion.
We get people telling that to us all the time, but I think just seeing, from the core of the people that are involved, that’s what makes it so great, ’cause, I mean, it’s a great idea, but your passion behind it in wanting to make it nationwide, the global aspect of it, I think that’s what attracted us the most.
Amanda Selogie: Yeah. Right, ’cause you have impact in people’s lives on a bigger scale than just … It’s not an app just to make money or have a business, and that’s what we love. We love women who empower us and that we can empower back. We’re very big into that, but …
Thank you so much for being here today.
Melanie S.: I loved it.
Amanda Selogie: It was so much fun.
Melanie S.: Please invite me back. This was fun. Let’s talk more.
Amanda Selogie: Oh, we will. I feel like we have so much that we can talk about.
Vickie Brett: Yeah, I know we will.
Amanda Selogie: We just scratched the surface, so we will have you back.
Melanie S.: Good.
Vickie Brett: Definitely.
Amanda Selogie: If someone is interested in learning more about Pacify or getting in contact with you, how can they do that?
Melanie S.: Well, the best thing to do is go to our website, which is simply just pacify.com. You can find us very easily. There’s contact forms.
If you’re a professional listing to it – you’re an IBCLC or an RD and you’re listening …
Amanda Selogie: Or Google, and you wanna sign up.
Melanie S.: … you can actually go to our website. Then our Twitter handle and our social media is @pacifyapp. So find us there. Get in touch. We are responsive people.
Amanda Selogie: Awesome.
Vickie Brett: Great. Well, thank you so much for listening to the Inclusive Education Project podcast.
I wanted to just end with me saying that again and me saying that we’re attorneys, we’re not your attorneys, ’cause I feel like that’s a good …
Amanda Selogie: #NotYourAttorneys?
Vickie Brett: #NotYour …
Amanda Selogie: But #WeCouldBe?
Vickie Brett: Call us. All right, guys. Enjoy the rest of your day, evening, and we will be in your ears next week.
Amanda Selogie: Bye.
Vickie Brett: Bye.