Our story started in November of 2015 with a dynamic group of La Leche League leaders wanting to provide evidence-based breastfeeding care to families in the Valley of the Sun. Dr. Cara Riek started to realize this dream by becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant in 2015. Cara was (and still is) very involved in volunteer breastfeeding support, and has spent much time working to educate healthcare providers on the need for lactation-specific skills. With the loving help and inspiration of Rene Moore and Carol Kidd the vision of opening a centralized office that focuses specifically on breastfeeding medicine and holistic care of the mother/baby dyad came to be.
Arizona Breastfeeding Medicine and Wellness was founded in September of 2016 by Dr. Cara with the help of her supportive husband Brian to further expand the scope of care to help families with their feeding needs.
We serve families from all walks of life. We have two locations, with our main office conveniently located in the Scottsdale Airpark just off the 101 loop for all services and our East / Mesa location for follow-ups and lactation services just south of the north 202 loop, making both easily accessible from major freeways.
Our offices provide a comfortable, welcoming, caring environment to address all of your breastfeeding concerns and provide support for your family. We are in network with Aetna, Banner Health, United Healthcare, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, and TRICARE-West.
MEET Dr. CARA, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, IBCLC, DABLS, FAANP
My journey into lactation started with the birth of my son. Before he was born, I truly thought breastfeeding would be so simple and easy! Once he came earth side, I realized that breastfeeding and babies are complex and very emotional. There were times I felt lost in my journey and there were multiple occasions where I felt that the medical professionals who were supposed to be caring for me and my child were at odds with I felt to be right. Not wanting another a mother to experience the journey, I decided to change my career to working to care for, promote, and preserve the breastfeeding dyad.
My career, thus far, has been sprinkled with amazing adventures: research, teaching, nursing, and now lactation consultant. I want to provide meaningful, evidence-based care to mother-baby dyads. My mission is to support mothers where they are at and help them journey into the breastfeeding relationship they desire. Each family is unique. I want to make sure that each patient is able to reach their desired goal and have an amazing breastfeeding relationship.
Dr. Cara graduated from Arizona State University of with Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. She is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner in addition to having her IBCLC certification. Dr. Cara is also a diplomate of the American Board of Laser Surgery, specializing in “Oral Surgery in Infants, Toddler, and Adults.” She is a Breathe Institute Ambassador and has additional training as a Certified Specialist in Orofacial Myology (CSOM). In 2023, Dr. Cara was accepted as a Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Dr. Cara very much enjoys helping families to reach their breastfeeding goals.
MEET Dr. SHELLY KLEIN, MD, DABLS, CSOM
Dr. Shelly Klein is a board certified pediatrician who has been practicing for over twenty years. Dr. Klein is the owner of a general pediatric practice, Cornerstone Pediatrics, in Prescott Valley, Arizona, and also serves as a hospital provider in her local hospital nursery. She comes down to the valley when Dr. Cara is away to provide frenectomies to our patients.
Dr. Klein has always been a proponent of breastfeeding and corrected lip and tongue ties with scissors for many years in her outpatient practice. When she discovered CO2 laser treatments for tethered oral tissues, she was thrilled to be able to offer a more complete solution to her patients and their families. Dr. Klein became a member of the ALSC in 2018 and certified in laser surgery that same year. She also became a certified oral myofacial therapist in 2018. Dr. Klein provides her patients and their families with a totally inclusive experience, offering oral myofacial therapy, laser frenulectomies, cranio-facial therapy, and lactation services, all in her rural clinic.
MEET BEYAUNA, IBCLC, CLEC
I started my breastfeeding journey after several years in blood banking and dialysis. I recognized the importance of health education after working with populations that were unaware of the long-term impacts of their health related decisions.
My priority is to empower families with knowledge and information throughout their breastfeeding experience.
Beyauna graduated from the University of San Diego Lactation Education Program under the tulage of the amazing Gini Baker, RN, IBCLC. She has worked in healthcare for 15+ years. She is married to the love of her life, TR and mom to two sweet doggie babies: Chloe and Joey.
Beyauna currently serves on the board of the Arizona Breastfeeding Coalition and holds the President position. She participated in Achieving My Purpose, a mentoring group for minority women in business. In her free time, she volunteers in her community serving the homeless and underserved populations.
Beyauna’s goal is to continue to center lactation as a means to decrease currant infant and maternal morbidity gaps.
I’m here for you.
Women need women to nurture, support and strengthen one another.
If you’re sleep deprived, and your nipples hurt, and your breasts are sore.
I want to help
If your baby is fussy and gassy and you are overwhelmed mentally and emotionally,
I want to help
If you simply need an extra set of hands and eyes to give you perspective with feeding and
caring for your precious babe,
I want to help
I’m convinced we are at our best when we are well-loved and enjoyed.
We need community and the support of other-giving grounding.
I’m here to be present to you, to laugh with you over the cuteness of your baby’s little adorable
toes and smiles and to wipe your tears when those hormones got you crying and you don’t
even know why.
I’m your breastfeeding doula and your baby feeding helper.
I’ll give you my very best knowledge and wisdom,
and will do my utmost to get you the best care I can.
We got this, mama.
You’re a glorious human being—look at what you’ve given life to!
I honor you.
You’re not alone.
I’m here for you.
Melinda Estefano Indahl is a graduate of the ASU Academy of Lactation Education Program
through the Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She is a breastfeeding counselor candidate with Breastfeeding USA, and with a passion to support families has worked as a Post partum Doula, nurturing families after the birth of their babies; and as a Prenatal Breastfeeding educator teaching couples the basics of breastfeeding before giving birth.
As an AFAA certified and STOTT Pilates trained fitness instructor, Melinda led/managed group
fitness classes and personal training both in private practice as well as in the fitness center setting.
With a background in mentoring and elementary education, Melinda has worked in leadership training, tutoring, and teaching children, (including homeschooling her own children) for over 30 years. As a first generation, Spanish-speaking Latina, Melinda brings her warm Hispanic culture and hospitality to the way she shows up for the families in her prenatal and post partum care. She is the mother of two beautiful human beings, Gabriela and Noah, and the wife of her dearly loved husband, Ben.
MEET KERRI, IBCLC, RLC
Wanting to help other mothers enjoy their own breastfeeding relationships, I became a La Leche League Leader in 2010. I began attending breastfeeding conferences, pursued additional education in the health sciences, attended the Southwest Clinical Lactation Education Program through ASU, continued my volunteer work with LLL, and by the time I faced some of those same early breastfeeding challenges again with my second child, I was on the verge of being credentialed as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). Those challenges were much more easily overcome with the knowledge and experience I had from my years of helping other parents and babies, my lactation studies, and most of all from the lessons my first nursling taught me.
“I began the journey to providing lactation care after experiencing overwhelming breastfeeding challenges with my first child. I was so grateful to receive loving, skilled support from my local La Leche League Leaders, IBCLCs, and other nursing mothers. With their ongoing help, and with time and persistence, we made it through those early obstacles and went on to have a long and wonderful nursing relationship. A relationship I found to be one of the most rewarding of my life.”
Kerri joins our practice with many years of experience guiding families on their breastfeeding journey. Outside of caring for moms and babies Kerri plays an active role in community theater, directing Arizona Homeschool Theater Group. She also finds passion in caring for her two beautiful sons.
René’s interest in breastfeeding quickly turned into her passion with the birth of her first baby. She began volunteer work as a peer counselor almost immediately, with a desire to help others as she was helped, and continues to support families in this way. She eventually became an IBCLC in 2011 and also started a private practice to be able to provide more advanced, skilled lactation care to families in their homes and still enjoys home visits today.
She welcomes the challenge of the complexities of tongue tie to simple feeding position experimentation and never tires of the loving interactions between babies and their parents. “It’s an honor to be present and trusted with the very most important thing in their life and to witness the intimacy and beauty that is breastfeeding.”
My love for lactation began before having children. I was always a champion for breastfeeding growing up, and I really don’t recall why, other than the obvious; it’s the way nature intended our species survival, and it has endless benefits! When I had twin girls 7 weeks early, I soon knew I had found my calling in life. I wanted to help families be successful in breastfeeding, and be there to support the postpartum period, when quite often, so little support is given. This profession brings me so much joy, I love what I do!
I did peer counseling support with Breastfeeding USA for 2.5 years in order to obtain my clinical hours to sit for the IBCLC exam. I also have a bachelor of science in exercise and wellness from ASU. I love learning, and eventually intend on furthering my education more in order to continue to support breastfeeding, and the post partum period.
My dedication to being a lactation consultant stems from the years of personal struggles with breastfeeding and doing my best to figure it out on my own. I had very limited resources and answers as a young, inexperienced mom and also years later with my fifth child and his tongue tie issues.
My goal and priority is to help mothers and families feel guided and supported throughout their breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding is one of the greatest things you can do for your child, but the struggles are very real. I want to be there to help.
Laura graduated from Loyola University of Chicago with a degree in nursing and has worked in Women’s Health/Labor and Delivery for 25+ years. She is mom to 6 amazing children: Maggie, Danny, Quinn, Sean, Liam and Brody.
MEET ABBEY, IBCLC, RLC
Abbey graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in Business Management + HR. She worked for 15+ years starting small businesses from scratch and growing them to fruition and profit.
Abbey’s passion for breastfeeding came with the birth of her daughter, Winter. With multiple breastfeeding challenges, came learning experiences, and together they persevered to breastfeed into toddlerhood.
Abbey joined the office in 2018 as an Office Manager while pursuing her educational and clinical hours to become an IBCLC. She became certified in 2020 and has been passionately helping families since.
Abbey is continuously taking courses on breastfeeding, sleep, and infant massage so that she can provide evidence based care to families. She is a certified Holistic Sleep Coach and is also a Photographer mainly photographing breastfeeding dyads, newborns and families.
Abbey has a special heart for new Moms and making them feel supported in postpartum and in the journey throughout motherhood. In her free time she enjoys spending time with her partner and their blended family of 3 girls, 3 grandkids and 4 dogs. She also enjoys traveling, sewing, going to the lake and mountain biking.
MEET CAROL, IBCLC, RLC
“Breastfeeding has fascinated me since the day I became a mother. Such a simple activity with such complex biology and physiology, so integral to the development and attachment of a child, such a foundation to the connected family. The more I learn, the more there seems to be to learn.”
Carol’s goal is to help you meet your goal. She will employ all her skills, knowledge, evidence based information and resources to help your family.
MEET JACQUELINE, IBCLC, CLC
Megan came to us in 2021 to help with our front desk. She has always had an interest in babies and breastfeeding which lead to her wanting to become an IBCLC. In 2020, she enrolled in the lactation program at Arizona State University. She has been working diligently toward her certification and is excited to start taking on patients of her own.
Megan is a “boy mom”. She has 3 boys ranging in ages from 20 to 7. She breastfed them all and found different challenges with each, which only led her to getting into this field and helping other moms and babies.
Megan also owns a themed slumber party business. She is busy with that in her spare time and she also loves to travel, go camping, and spend time with her Husband and boys!
An Alaskan Native, Marie moved to Arizona in 2022 with her puppy Rico. She is the oldest of seven children. Her love for babies and breastfeeding comes from helping care for her siblings. Marie loves exploring the Arizona landscape, shopping, and spending time with her puppy.
Marie joined Arizona Breastfeeding Medicine and Wellness in October of 2021. She manages the front desk, taking calls, offering a listening ear, and providing guidance to families.