Hello, I’m Joy MacTavish, MA, IBCLC, RLC, ICCE, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, childbirth and newborn care educator, and birth and postpartum doula based in Shoreline, Washington. In 2016, I expanded my private practice and created Sound Beginnings. Please come visit us there to learn more!


After supporting breastfeeding families for years as a doula, my formal path to become a lactation consultant began in 2011 with a community-based lactation internship with my chief mentor Dolly Smith, RN, MS, IBCLC and the Beyond Birth Seattle lactation group. I assisted at the former Breastfeeding 911: Help for Hurdles, and attended in-home lactation consultations throughout the Seattle area. To increase and round out my skills, in early 2012 I completed a hospital-based lactation internship at Sibley Memorial Hospital, Johns Hopkins Medical in Washington, D.C. where I had the privilege to spend hundreds of hours supporting new breastfeeding dyads both in-patient and out-patient under the mentorship of an amazing group of IBCLCs.

In 2012-2013, I was the Worksite Lactation Support project coordinator for the Breastfeeding Coalition of Washington, a program of WithinReach. In this role I led a region-wide project to increase the number and type of breastfeeding-friendly employers in the Puget Sound. Through developing and implementing a worksite lactation support toolkit for employers, and providing training to regional breastfeeding coalitions, this community outreach effort ultimately benefits those who are breastfeeding and returning to work.

During this time, I continued my pathway to board exams through the completion of all Health Sciences Education requirements and Clinical Competencies for the Practice of IBCLCs, before sitting for and passing the international board exam in July 2013.

In August 2013, just 11 days after the exam, I welcomed my son into the world and began my personal breastfeeding journey. As a mama who’s experienced nursing a baby with latch challenges, posterior tongue-tie and upper lip tie, and food sensitivities, I have a personal and professional understanding of the concerns, emotions, and support necessary to overcome breastfeeding challenges.

In the fall of 2013, I officially joined the non-profit parenting and lactation support organization Beyond Birth Seattle through which I enjoyed teaching, serving clients, and answering calls on the former Breastfeeding Services Line. In the fall of 2014, Beyond Birth Seattle shifted from offering community-based breastfeeding support to focusing exclusively on providing professional education. I continue to serve on the conference planning committee.

In 2014, I accepted a position as adjunct faculty at the Simkin Center for Allied Birth Vocations at Bastyr University to create a Breastfeeding for Doulas online course. Through this position I feel I’ve come full circle in my perinatal career and am able to educate new doulas with my lactation related knowledge and experience.

In addition to Sound Beginnings, and Sound Breastfeeding, I own Sound Doula (not currently offering doula support services), and have been a Great Starts Birth and Family Education instructor since 2009. I am passionate about continuing education and social justice. I have served on the REACHE conference board and the PALS Doulas PERC committee, and been a founding member of the LGBTQ Birth and Family Professionals, Puget Sound Perinatal Collaborative, and the Collaborative for Breastfeeding Action and Justice.

In 2010, I received a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies and graduate certificate in Women Studies from the University of Washington, with a focus on identity, intersectionality, and anti-oppression. I enjoy bringing my research and analysis skills to my perinatal, parenting and advocacy work.

My family lives in Shoreline, where we enjoy exploring the Seattle area, visiting with family and friends, and traveling as we are able.