Our Team Members

Our Team Members

Bayou City Breastfeeding provides Lactation Consultations in Houston and surrounding areas by International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC).  We specialize in comprehensive breastfeeding education services.

Suzanne Juel IBCLC RLC CLC
Lactation Consultant

“I believe that when a mom and baby are struggling, whether it be with feeding, sleeping, colic, reflux or other issues, it is important to look at the whole picture to find the root cause of the problem.  You can treat symptoms all day long, but as your baby grows, they will just develop into new symptoms.  If you don’t find the root cause, you will always be chasing a new treatment.”   Click Here for Bio

Suzanne began her career as a Breastfeeding Educator and founded Merry-Go-Round in Kingwood in 2003.  Merry-Go-Round quickly became known as the go-to resource for new parents in the area as it provided everything from private lactation consultations to breast pump rentals to hosting a weekly breastfeeding support group.  While in private practice, Suzanne provided lactation support to numerous local mothers in the North Houston area and became known for her expertise in handling complex breastfeeding issues.  In 2010, she received the Family Time Woman of Achievement in Business Award, recognizing the contributions that her business had made to the community.   

In 2014, Suzanne transitioned from private practice to working for The Woman’s Hospital of Texas.  While working at the hospital, Suzanne not only provided lactation support to mothers in the early postpartum period, but was instrumental in helping the hospital become the first Baby-Friendly (BFHI) designated hospital in the Houston area.   A hospital can only receive the BFHI designation when they implement specific practices that have been shown to support successful breastfeeding.

In 2015, she was approached by Dr. James Liu at Adult and ENT & Allergy of The Woodlands to establish a lactation practice in his office to provide support for parents and the babies being seen in his office for lip and tongue ties. In her role at the practice, she wrote the infant frenectomy discharge guide, established procedures and protocols for the infant frenectomy procedure, and recruited and trained other lactation consultants for the practice.

In 2016, Suzanne returned to Private Practice, this time with Tessa Gardin, IBCLC, founding Bayou City Breastfeeding to provide in-home lactation consultations to mothers in central and north Houston.  Since that time, the practice has grown, and now has two office locations and has expanded to include several other IBCLCs.

Over her lactation career, Suzanne has continued to pursue additional lactation training and certifications, becoming a Certified Lactation Counselor in 2006 and eventually an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2016.  She continues to pursue advanced lactation training to further her knowledge by taking classes and attending conferences.  She is a member of ILCA (International Lactation Consultant Association)USLCA (United States Lactation Consultant Association), the American Laser Study Club, and IATP (International Association of Tongue tie Professionals).  She also serves as co-Vice President of HALCEA (Houston Area Lactation Consultant and Educator Association).

Suzanne and her husband have been married 20 years, and together have three children.  She enjoys spending time with her family, is an avid runner and enjoys working out, reading, biking, cooking and painting.

Tessa Gardin IBCLC RLC
Lactation Consultant

“I have a true passion for helping moms breastfeed their babies, I can’t believe I get to do what I love for a living. I am truly blessed.”  Click Here for Bio

Tessa has been helping parents and babies with breastfeeding since 2008.  She holds a Bachelor of Science in Maternal and Child Health and Human Lactation and became an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2010.  She is a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) and the Houston Area Lactation Consultants and Educators (HALCEA) group.

She began her career in Lactation as a hospital-based lactation consultant at the largest delivering hospital in Houston (The Woman’s Hospital of Texas). Along with providing personal direction for parents, during that time she was also integral in establishing the first Baby Friendly (BFHI) hospital in Houston, Texas. In 2015, Tessa also began working in the lactation clinic in the office of Dr. James Liu, ENT, a well-known pediatric Ear Nose and Throat physician that performs frenotomies on babies diagnosed with tongue tie.  This provided her with extensive experience assessing lip and tongue ties and assisting these patients with managing and recovering from the frenectomy procedure.  Her family life directly led to her interests in cases and conditions connected to tongue tied babies as both her daughters were born in need of intervention.

In 2016, Tessa, along with Suzanne Juel, established Bayou City Breastfeeding to provide advanced in-home lactation support for patients in the Houston area.  Since that time, the practice has grown, and now has two office locations and has expanded to include several other IBCLCs.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and four wonderful children, cooking, taking road trips and crafting. In addition to family time, she is active in her church and enjoys catching up with longtime friends, running outdoors and improving her yoga practice.

Kyna Patrick BS IBCLC RLC
Lactation Consultant

 Click Here for Bio

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Science-Nutrition and Foods, in 2003, Kyna began her career as a Nutritionist for the Woman Infant and Children Program (WIC). During her tenure at WIC, she provided breastfeeding counseling and began teaching breastfeeding classes, and it was through this work that she discovered her desire to help babies and mothers.  This ultimately led to her pursuit of the IBCLC. Kyna Patrick has proudly been an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant since 2009.  After becoming an IBCLC, she began working as hospital-based IBCLC in the Austin area, with a specific focus on supporting parents and babies in Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU).  In 2011, while working in the Austin area, she established a private practice to provide home visits to new parents.

After moving to Houston with her family in 2012, Kyna began working at The Woman’s Hospital of Texas with a team of fellow IBCLC’s.  During her time there, she was a key contributor to providing the breastfeeding training to the nursing staff which was required for the hospital to attain the Baby Friendly (BFHI) designation, which recognizes health organizations that specifically encourage successful breastfeeding policies and practices.  After 6 years at TWHT, Kyna transferred to the Kingwood Medical Center and is currently one of the inpatient IBCLCs providing lactation support to new parents.

In 2015 Kyna began working with Suzanne and Tessa at the office of Dr. James Liu, ENT and continues there as a team member, providing pre- and post-frenectomy support for families struggling with breastfeeding/feeding issues and oral anomalies such as tongue tie.  In this venue, she has gained extensive knowledge of how to support families through the frenectomy process.

Kyna joined the Bayou City Breastfeeding team in 2019 where she provides in-home lactation consultations for new families in Northwest Houston, Cypress, Katy and surrounding communities.  Like the other IBCLCs in the practice, Kyna continues to pursue advanced training in lactation to provide the best support possible for families dealing with complex lactation and infant feeding issues.

She is a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA)United States Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) and the Houston Area Lactation Consultants and Educators (HALCEA) group.

Kyna is a dedicated Christian and is active in her church.   When not working, she spends time with her husband, stepson, young daughter, infant son, and Max (the doggie), Mel and Cloud (the cats).

Karen Zacharias RN BSN IBCLC RLC
Lactation Consultant

“I believe each family should feel supported & encouraged in their breastfeeding journey. I think it’s so important to look at family’s individual needs and be able to meet them exactly where there are.”  Click Here for Bio

In 2010, when Karen initially graduated from nursing school, she knew she wanted to work with mothers and babies.  After graduation, she started her career in Labor & Delivery at Women’s Hospital of Texas. She enjoyed working with new and expectant mothers and found it to be tremendously satisfying.  She decided to further her nursing education and returned to school at Texas Tech University, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2011. 

After the birth of her first child, she had a difficult breastfeeding experience which resulted in her becoming passionate about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.  She realized soon after that she had a calling to become a Lactation Consultant. 

Karen began to pursue her dream of becoming a Lactation Consultant in 2013 while working in the Family Birthing Center at St. Luke’s The Woodlands. She was inspired and encouraged by their lactation consultant to start her training towards becoming an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).   In her role at St. Luke’s, she took on many projects such as the Skin to Skin Initiative and also started teaching prenatal classes to the community. 

In 2015, Karen passed the boards to become an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) and took a position as the Lactation Educator at St. Luke’s Vintage where she brought her experience and training to the staff. She worked passionately to establish the lactation program at the hospital from the ground up.

In 2017, she was given the opportunity to return to St. Luke’s, The Woodlands to work on the Lactation team, supporting new mothers and babies in the hospital.  She enjoyed working with new mothers, but after having three tongue tied children and difficult breastfeeding journeys herself, she learned that she desperately wanted to help these moms even more than she already was. 

In August of 2018, Karen began working with Suzanne, Tessa and Kyna at the office of Dr. James, Liu, ENT who specializes in diagnosing and treating tongue and lip tie.  There she works closely with the mothers and babies to help overcome breastfeeding issues related to tethered oral tissues. 

In 2019, Karen left inpatient hospital lactation after 3½ years to join the team at Bayou City Breastfeeding and pursue private practice to give moms, babies and her own family the attention they need and deserve.  In her role at Bayou City Breastfeeding, Karen provides in home lactation consultations to new mothers in North Houston, The Woodlands and surrounding communities.

She is a member of the Houston Area Lactation Consultants and Educators (HALCEA) group.

Karen is a mother of three young boys that keep her busy. In her spare time, Karen and her husband enjoy being active members in their church, and volunteers in the Pre-School Ministry. She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking and running.

Nicole Kerbow RN BSN IBCLC RLC
Lactation Consultant

“I love to help parents fulfill their goals.”  Click Here for Bio

Nicole has always had a passion for caring for others, so after completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology at Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2004, she decided to pursue a career in nursing.  She graduated in 2007 from Delmar Collage in Corpus Christi with an associate degree in Nursing.  After graduation, she worked in various nursing capacities before realizing her passion for working with new and expectant mothers while working in Labor and Delivery. 

In 2011, Nicole began working at Hermann Memorial Southeast on the newborn nursery team and postpartum.  It was while working at Hermann Memorial Southeast that she decided to pursue a career in Lactation.  She initially became a Certified Lactation Counselor, and transitioned into the Lactation and Education Department in 2014.  While in the Lactation Department, Nicole provided bedside lactation support to new mothers.   She worked on various teams to improve the care given to new mothers and babies, including instituting skin-to-skin after deliveries, newborn bedside transitioning to keep babies with their parents instead of the nursery, and teaching nursing staff basic breastfeeding support skills.  She received the Good Samaritan Bronze Award in both 2014 and 2016 for her work in the Lactation department. She successfully completed the boards to become an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) in 2015.  She also completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN) in 2015 from the University of Texas Arlington.  

In 2017, Nicole joined Suzanne, Tessa and Kyna working at the office of Dr. James, Liu, ENT who specializes in diagnosing and treating oral restrictions.  In her role at the office, she provided pre and post-frenotomy support for families dealing with feeding problems caused by lip and tongue-ties.  

Shortly after joining the team at Dr. Liu’s office, Nicole established her own private practice and began providing in-home lactation support to the southeast Houston area.   In 2019, Nicole joined her private practice with Bayou City Breastfeeding, LLC where she continues to provide support for mothers in south and central Houston.

She is a board member of the Houston Area Lactation Consultants and Educators (HALCEA) group

Nicole currently lives in Houston, Texas with her two daughters and husband. She is active in her community and enjoys Pilates classes.

Leah Whitley IBCLC RLC
Lactation Consultant

 Click Here for Bio

Tiphany Illyes IBCLC RLC
Lactation Consultant

 Click Here for Bio

Tiphany has been supporting breast-feeding moms since 2006. She started her lactation career as a breast-feeding educator teaching breast-feeding classes at The Women’s Hospital of Texas.

She shortly thereafter moved into the lactation department where she still currently works since 2008 helping moms and babies at the bedside as lactation consultant. Tiphany became an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC)  in 2010. Tiphany was conducive in the The Womans’s Hospital of Texas becoming the first Baby-Friendly (BFHI) designated hospital in the Houston area.

Having breast-fed her three children Tiphany knows the rewards and benefits of breast-feeding, but also the trials and tribulations. Having worked through her own ups and downs during her personal breast-feeding journey she is very empathetic to the struggles that new moms are working through. Tiphany Is committed to helping moms meet their personal breast-feeding goals and knows that success is different for each family. Tiphany brings a balanced and compassionate approach to helping mothers navigate through the challenges and joys of nourishing their babies.

Tiphany lives with her husband and three children in League City, Texas.

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