[As World Breastfeeding Week winds down, we thought it appropriate to share some uplifting stories of breastfeeding gone right…and the joy, empowerment, health and wisdom written between the lines of these stories. Thank you to all who contributed. ]
Never Judge, Nurture and Educate
I was helping a Hispanic mother who had an infant in the special care nursery. When asked if she wanted to breastfeed her baby the mother refused on several occasions. Finally I approached the mother; we discussed the baby’s progress, feedings and possible discharge from the hospital. The mother began to cry saying “I don’t want my baby to become sick from my breast milk.” The woman was under the impression that breastfeeding after an argument with her husband would spoil her breast milk. This was an old wives tale that had been told by her family. I talked with the mother each time she came in about the benefits of breastfeeding, evidence as it relates to breastfeeding premature infants and slowly gained her trust. By the time the infant was discharged mom and baby had bonded, breastfeeding was established and I had an eye opening cultural experience.
Sandra Escobosa, RN, Childbirth Educator
Hip Chick Birth www.hipchickbirth.com
Becoming a breastfeeding Peer Supporter, was an opportunity I couldn’t let amiss. I have not long completed my training, but already I feel proud to have helped mothers and their babies along the path of a successful breastfeeding experience! I volunteer on a placement within a maternity hospital, and one experience will always stay in my mind. A brand new mother desperately trying to encourage her beautiful newborn baby to attach, and to find what she had been searching for. Struggling and on the verge of giving up, she finally asked for a helping hand. With a little help and guidance, and heaps of positivity, the mother looked up with the widest grin I had ever seen and tears of joy running down her cheek. This tiny, clever baby of hers had just latched on for the very first time. Beautiful.
The Survival Hold
Quite often, I make a home visit for lactation challenges in the first week postpartum.
Without a doubt, the one skill I teach that gets the biggest applause is simply showing a mom how to use the side lying position to feed her baby. I call it the “Survival Hold”. Mastering the side lying position will help a sleep deprived new mommy “SURVIVE” the first few weeks.
Lying down for feeds often will reduce moms fatigue level tremendously. As an additional benefit, when lying on her side, the breast is compressed and often baby will feed more efficiently.
Lying down while nursing is a wonderful breastfeeding position that is often under-utilized.
Liz Pevytoe, RN, IBCLC
We got the phone call we’d been waiting for. We were getting a foster/adopt placement. Suddenly one day I had a new baby but no milk!
My little girl was a “safe surrender” baby. She was born in a campground weighing 3 lbs. 2.8 ounces. No prenatal care, drug exposed. Her birth mother relinquished her rights at the hospital. We met her when she was 17 days old, and brought her home the next day. One of my first calls was to my IBCLC, Debbie. Bring me the rental pump, and the SNS!
Debbie helped me with her weak suck, and was such a big support. It took me six months to bring in a full milk supply, but it was worth it! She is now 2 years old and still nursing.
I am one of the lucky ones. I have been an IBCLC for 10 years now and get paid full time to do what I love to do. Our hospital currently hovers at a 90% breastfeeding initiation rate so every day is a busy day! Today was just another ordinary day; I assisted a 36 weeker (born 4 weeks early) wake up and latch for the first time. I checked the latch of another newborn, whose mom I assisted with her first baby and told a third time breastfeeding mom that she was fabulous. My triumph today was when I assisted a mother of a sleepy 6 pound baby to latch for the first time after hours of attempts. Mom looked up at me and smiled in relief while tears of joy welled up in our eyes. And this was just a regular day. I am so lucky.
Donna Sinnott, BBA, IBCLC
Paoli Hospital, Paoli, Pa
Breastfeeding is normal, natural…and so darned hard for so many of us in the beginning! Desperate to make breastfeeding work with our first child, I sought help from one person after another—lactation consultants, family practice doctors, La Leche Leaguers, friends…in the end, I nursed our daughter for a year—but ended up supplementing her part time due to an ultimate lack of confidence in my own body. Two children, much reading, practicing, and accessing adequate help later, I finally discovered that my body really was able to do what it was designed to do. I breastfeed our second child for 14 months (still with some supplementation, but not much) and I exclusively breastfed our third child for six months, and continued on until he was nearly 18 months old.
[It’s not too late to add your story! What breastfeeding success have you been apart of? Please chime in via the Comments section…]
Posted by: Kimmelin Hull, PA, LCCE