The following is written by guest author and first-time mother Jesse Porter,
23, of Hickory. She shares about the joys and challenges of breastfeeding,
plus offers some useful nursing tips that worked for her.
Everything about my experience giving birth at
CVMC was absolutely great – including my first attempt at breastfeeding.
Within the hour after my daughter Piper was born, I brought her to my
chest, skin-to-skin, and she started rooting around like a tiny little
bird. She latched on easily and started suckling – it seemed so
instinctive and natural. I was so proud! Deciding to breastfeed was one
of the important first parenting decisions I had to make and I wasn’t
sure it would be easy.
I always knew that I wanted to breastfeed. My friends having babies were
doing it, research says it’s best, and the nurse at my prenatal
visits encouraged me to give it a try. So, when asked to specify a feeding
preference when I registered at the
CVMC Birthing Center, I enthusiastically checked “breastfeeding” as my option.
A few days later, my confidence suffered a major blow. As my milk came
in, achieving a balance between supply and demand became challenging and
Piper started having trouble latching on. Frustrated and emotional, I
remembered that the
Lactation Consultant who had visited me in the hospital had given me a phone number for CVMC’s
Breastfeeding Helpline. Jackie Echelberger, a Nurse and an International
Board Certified Lactation Consultant, patiently listened and suggested
I try to hand-express or pump a small amount of milk before feedings to
reduce the firm, overfull feeling. It worked immediately and helped me
continue successfully breastfeeding. Piper was able to latch on again,
plus it gave her Daddy (Chris Ikerd) a chance to feed her the extra breast
milk from a bottle. This gave them a special time to bond and have an
emotional connection. It also helped me get some much-needed rest.
It’s hard not to get discouraged. It’s not completely easy.
The best advice I could give another new mother about breastfeeding is
to understand that it might take time for the ebb and flow of supply and
demand to adjust. I definitely didn’t have a milk shortage, but
it took a couple of days during a time when I was completely exhausted
to figure it all out. Not taking time to call the lactation consultant
would have been a big mistake. I’ve had such a good experience with
breastfeeding, it’s now hard for me to not be outspoken about it
and encourage others to at least try it. It’s free. It’s natural.
It’s best for your baby. And, it helps with post-baby weight loss
– which is just an added plus.
It still surprises me that the public is not always supportive about breastfeeding.
I practice discrete nursing, especially in public. But, I’ve experienced
more than one situation where I’ve felt defensive about breastfeeding.
Once I was feeding Piper under a shawl in a restaurant booth when a mother
at a nearby table was obviously making fun of me. She was pointing and
making snarky comments to her kids. I feel like you can never have too
much mom-to-mom encouragement and support. Criticism isn’t helpful.
At the same time, people can’t get caught up in the perfect story
– no one has the perfect answer. You have to figure out what works
best for you.
Now, at 10 months, Piper weighs a healthy 23 pounds and is on the verge
of walking. It helps knowing that she is so healthy. It validates my parenting
decisions. I introduced some solid foods at six months – bananas,
avocados and oatmeal were a few early favorites. Although she has started
drinking breast milk from a Sippy cup sometimes, she still enjoys snuggling
with me and nursing, especially when she’s tired. My goal is to
keep breastfeeding through at least the first year. For my baby, who is
so active, it’s the only time I get to sit down and relax!
CVMC actively promotes breastfeeding through our prenatal breastfeeding
classes, our one-on-one sessions with the 2,000+ new moms who deliver
at our Birthing Center each year, ourbreastfeeding helpline (828.326.2086) and our twice a month
Breastfeeding Support Groups. To learn more about the classes, please visit
the POD, our Maternal Child Education Center found on the entry level of the Women
& Children’s Pavilion at 810 Fairgrove Church Road in Hickory. Walk-ins are welcome,
or contact us for an appointment by calling 828.326.3062 or emailing
firstname.lastname@example.org). If you are a breastfeeding mom, come celebrate World Breastfeeding Week at the
Big Latch On – 9:30am on Friday, August 5th as we make a group attempt to bypass the previous record set by moms breastfeeding