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Staff Spotlight: Ayden Cox, LMBT

For nearly a year, Ayden (she/her, they/them) has been providing infant bodywork as part of the collaborative lactation support offered in Mother's Milk | Baby's Body appointments, as well as individual Baby's Body appointments . It is is a gift to watch them practice. Their sense of bodies, intuition, knowledge, and skills are apparent in every single consult.

In addition to the support she provides through her practice with families, I love the way she talks about the work she does. Her descriptions are grounded and clear to anyone with a body.

I am delighted to have Ayden as a colleague at Teaching Babies to Nurse!


Where are you from and how did that shape you growing up?

I’m from Wanchese, which is a small commercial fishing village on Roanoke island, NC. It gave me a lifelong love for and awe of the ocean. Being from an extremely small town in eastern North Carolina, I saw firsthand how small communities can often fail to receive basic healthcare services, but also how many of people’s needs are met by each other. Peer support becomes even more important if your access to health information and quality professional care is lacking.

What brought you to North Carolina and why did you stay?

I’m from NC originally–my family has been from the same coastal 60 mile radius for 11

generations. I left North Carolina to travel and see other parts of the world, and lived on the west coast for a few years studying in a direct-entry midwifery program, but knew I would always come back to NC because it’s my home. Plus, they don’t have grits or real BBQ on the west coast so I couldn’t stay there forever.

What do you do for fun?

When I’m not chasing my toddler or my dog around, I love riding my motorcycle, making excessive amounts of food or herbal medicine, and making art of all kinds, including the work I do as a professional tattoo artist and illustrator. When time and weather allow, I can most easily be found in a body of water, preferably the ocean or attempting mediocre surfing, kayaking, gardening or yoga. 

What initially drew you to working in lactation support?

I started my journey into reproductive health by informally studying herbal medicine in my early 20’s before deciding to become a massage therapist in 2010 with a focus on prenatal massage. I trained as a doula around the same time and began attending births and teaching pelvic exam techniques in various medical settings across the state.

After a number of births that I attended where I felt like the parents weren’t receiving the care they really deserved, I made the decision to attend midwifery school in Oregon. I also trained as a childbirth educator during this time. I also had the wonderful opportunity to train under Carol Gray, who started my journey into craniosacral therapy (CST) and pediatric bodywork in general. When I moved back home to NC in 2017, the pediatric bodywork was the piece that really stuck. I saw a need for it more than my other offerings and decided to really focus on that path.

I was inspired by the way a great deal of change can happen in a baby’s body in a very short amount of time, and what a great deal of help that can be for a family that is struggling in the early days, especially around feeding issues. 

What is unique about your experience in lactation support?

I think having training from many different educators, disciplines, and settings allows me space to see the various struggles families run up against, without getting attached to one particular dogmatic view of care. 

I genuinely believe in making the tools fit the family, as each family has its own unique needs and value systems. 

Additionally, having had a difficult journey in feeding my first child while dealing with low supply (which I navigated largely due to help from Ellen), I can easily find empathy in the struggle of feeding in the early days - and oftentimes the dissonance between how you thought it would go and what scenario you’re actually facing in the moment. I really believe in focusing in on what a parent's goals are, rather than some imaginary “ideal” in how babies should be fed. 

What do you wish more parents knew about breastfeeding/chestfeeding?

It’s often really hard! And there’s no “right” way to feed your baby. You and your baby and any additional caregivers in the mix are all bringing different skills, different needs, different pieces to the puzzle. It’s okay to adjust your tools as you learn more about all of the unique pieces– tools are neutral.

I also wish that more parents heard the message that the way they feed their children shouldn't ever come with a value judgment. They aren’t “bad” parents if they have low supply, or supplement with formula so co-parents can be involved, or don’t pump because they need sleep or it’s too uncomfortable or for any other feeding specifics. All the tools are valid and every parent I’ve ever met is doing everything they can to make it all work. So I guess at a baseline I wish more parents knew they were doing a great job!

What is your favorite aspect of working in lactation support?

Normalizing people’s struggles! I remember in those early days, even with so much professional experience behind me, I still had so many, “Is this normal?” worries.

I think with the way social media works, people often see a lot of easy, shiny, best case scenarios and

I love being the provider that’s just willing to acknowledge and normalize the hard, unsexy parts of this journey. 

I also believe that getting to talk to families really early on about their child's physical development, their musculoskeletal systems, their alignment, their comfort in their bodies - it can all set them up for keeping an eye on postural and developmental issues as their kids are growing to avoid more difficulties in the future. 

What are you most looking forward to expanding with your work at TBTN?

I am a person who is always trying to learn more, and I never feel done. Working at TBTN feels great because I feel surrounded by other providers with curious minds who are always growing and expanding in their skill sets, and constantly finding new ways to approach problems. I’m excited to continue to feel inspired by the collective growth as we strive to be able to better meet the needs of our clients. I’m always delighted by, and learn a lot from, working in a multidisciplinary setting, so getting to treat kiddos alongside IBCLCs is such a gift because it helps better inform and reinforce the work that the other provider is doing.

Learn more and book a Mother's Milk | Baby's Body appointment with Ayden and one of our lactation consultants here! If you would like to schedule a bodywork-only appointment for your baby, please contact Annalee at admin [at]


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