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Breastfeeding moms sent naked photos, videos to purported lactation consultant on Facebook. Now they fear it was a scam.

Angie Leventis Lourgos, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Women

“Cathy Marie Chan” is similar to the name of a real lactation consultant who is listed on the public International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Commission certification registry, though they have different middle names. Several Facebook group members told the Chicago Tribune they had assumed that the real credentialed lactation consultant was the same person they were communicating with on the social media platform.

The Tribune reached the real lactation consultant, who said she was “aware of this situation,” adding that she was not affiliated with “Cathy Marie Chan.”

“I was never a part of these Facebook groups, and I have no leads to who this person is, therefore I have no further information about what occurred,” she said.

The Tribune searched all 50 states and could find no business named Chan Lactation LLC. The website once used by “Cathy Marie Chan” to accept payment for services shows an “error” message.

“I felt hurt. Betrayed,” said Christina Gonzalez, 35, of northwest suburban Des Plaines, who was a member of several of these Facebook groups, including one for mothers of multiples.

Gonzalez said she sent the “Cathy Marie Chan” Facebook account video of her breastfeeding her twins via Facebook Messenger; she said “Cathy Marie Chan” had insinuated doing so would help promote education and better lactation support for other moms.

 

Many mothers describe feeling tremendous pressure to breastfeed their babies. The Chicago-based American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for approximately the first six months of an infant’s life, citing numerous health benefits for the mother and baby.

Yet following those recommendations can often be difficult for a plethora of reasons. Some moms have a low milk supply. Babies can have trouble latching on to the breast. Breastfeeding moms can develop mastitis, an inflammation of breast tissue that often causes pain and swelling.

“All of these women are coming together because they have similar problems and they want help,” Gonzalez said. “And you form like a connection with them because you’re all going through the same thing. Motherhood is tough. You want to know that you’re not alone.”

Looking back, Gonzalez was just grateful the videos she sent were low-quality with poor lighting and didn’t show her face. Gonzalez still has no idea who was behind the Facebook profile. She never spoke with “Cathy Marie Chan” on the phone nor had she ever seen her in a video.

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©2024 Chicago Tribune. Visit chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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