Breastfeeding seminars

Lame Deer woman gives birth to her 7th child while attending breastfeeding clinic

BILLINGS – If you don’t believe in fate, maybe this story will influence you.

A Lame Deer woman gave birth to a healthy new baby boy on Monday after an extremely – or perhaps, fateful – coincidence? – series of events.

“I woke up and thought, ‘Oh no. Have I lost my water?'” Misty Pipe said to herself around 2:15 a.m. Monday.

It was news that Pipe really didn’t want, at least not this week during Montana’s first Native Breastfeeding Counselor Training Course.

“I heard about the course over the summer and knew I had to take it,” said Pipe, a licensed Native doula. “On Sunday, I came here and said, ‘Okay, I don’t have any warning signs of labour. That’s fine.'”

Photo courtesy of Misty Pipe

Misty Pipe was thrilled to attend Montana’s first ever Native Breastfeeding Counselor Training Clinic in Billings.

But she felt that Sunday night’s full moon was too much to overcome.

“These full moons will have pregnant women,” she said.

Sure enough, Pipe went into labor at just 38 weeks. Her husband was back in Lame Deer to take care of their six other children, so she was on her own.

“So I called the hotel front desk and said, ‘Are you just driving to the airport?'” she said. “He said, ‘Where do you want to go at 2:30 in the morning other than the airport?’ I said, ‘I was just wondering if I could get a ride to Billings Clinic because I think I’m in labor.’ He said, “Oh my God, yes! Come down now!”

The driver took Pipe to the Billings Clinic to meet his trusted midwife, Chantielle Blackwell. What happened next was an experience Pipe will never forget.

“She said to me, ‘You’ve done this six times already. You know your body. You can do it,’” Pipe said of Blackwell’s advice. “So when he started to come out, I reached out and pulled him out. Then I said, ‘I don’t have anyone to cut the cord. She said, ‘You’re going to cut the cord.'”

Misty Pipe and her son


Misty Pipe (left) gave birth to her son Hoksila on Monday morning after giving birth while staying at the DoubleTree Hotel in Billings for an Aboriginal breastfeeding counselor training clinic.

As if the story wasn’t good enough, Hoksila Jr. was the first Indigenous baby born on Indigenous Peoples Day at the Billings Clinic this year. It was also the 12th birthday of Pipe and Hoksila Sr. But all she thought about was resuming the training course.

“I said, ‘If you release me, I can still do it,'” Pipe recalled. “She said, ‘You have to stop with this lecture. You are going to this conference. You must stay here for 24 hours. “”

Pipe remained in the hospital Monday, but she and Hoksila Jr. were back Tuesday for the crucial 45-hour week clinic for rural reserves.

“It’s a system that has neglected many of our indigenous families for decades, and the result is extremely low breastfeeding rates,” said Camie Goldhammer, co-founder of the clinic.

Misty Pipe in breastfeeding tra

Photo courtesy of Misty Pipe

Misty Pipe was back at the Indigenous Breastfeeding Counselor Training Clinic the day after the birth of her son Hoksila, Jr.

Organizers say breastfeeding is 10% less common on reservations (82.5%) than the Montana state average (92.2%). They hope to change that as Pipe and 32 others bring knowledge and certification back to their own community.

“Kim and I are two of approximately 20 Native lactation consultants in the United States and Canada,” Goldhammer said. “It’s out of 20,000 in total.”

“This course provides participants with knowledge they can take back to their community and share,” said Kimberly Moore-Salas, the clinic’s other co-founder. “Share and support women who are like them, who share the same cultural perspectives as them.”

Aboriginal Breastfeeding Counselor Training


A wall inside the Aboriginal Breastfeeding Counselor Training Clinic displays rules for Aboriginal women to keep in mind.

“I was able to breastfeed my other six kids, and he’s been latching on well,” Pipe said. “When a woman calls me at 3 a.m. and says, ‘I’m just going to give them a bottle and make formula,’ I say, ‘No, you get it’ and go with them. That’s really important to bring that back to our community.”

That’s not the only important thing she’ll bring back.