Mothers get expert help and camaraderie in the lactation support group for breastfeeding moms at Parkwest Medical Center. (l to r) Tetyana Miller with Leo; Ashley Dudley with Eleanor Grace; Brianne Huie with Wright

National Breastfeeding Month Local moms share their stories

     Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally to every mother and baby. Parkwest Childbirth Center gives moms-to-be and new moms alike the knowledge and self-confidence to work through the process. In celebration of National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, we talked to some mothers about nursing their new babies, and how the center has helped.

Ashley’s Story     

Ashley Dudley left work for maternity leave on May 19, which happened to be the same day her water broke. Baby Eleanor Grace arrived a little early, and began to struggle with jaundice and weight loss. Dudley used a combination of formula and breast milk to help restore her baby’s health. “For me breastfeeding has been much harder than the delivery,” Dudley says. “I am still trying to figure it out on a day to day basis, and I set small goals for myself.”  Dudley and her husband had taken advantage of prenatal classes at Parkwest Child Birth Center, and Dudley attended breastfeeding classes. She felt well informed, but always had the nagging feeling that she couldn’t fully understand breastfeeding until she started to do it.  “That’s why I was so grateful for TLC (The Lactation Club) at Parkwest,” Dudley says. “I attended my first class because I was lost and just really didn’t feel like I knew what I was doing. It was nice to have the lactation consultants there to offer advice, and it was even better to talk to other mothers who had been through similar situations.”  Patience and persistence paid off. Eleanor Grace weaned herself off of the formula and gained 31 ounces in just 23 days. Dudley continues to attend the classes for the support she receives, and so she can encourage other new moms.  

Laura’s Story 

When baby Mabyn Fern was born at Parkwest on Feb. 28, 2017, mom Laura Stinson wanted the close, mother-child bond that breastfeeding brings. But wanting to breastfeed and having the confidence to breastfeed are two entirely different things. Baby Mabyn was having a hard time, too. “She was very sleepy and would barely latch and continued to lose weight,” Stinson says.  Lactation consultants at Parkwest Childbirth Center helped Stinson learn to finger feed her newborn, a method that helps prepare babies for nursing. With help from an in-home lactation consultant, Mabyn graduated from finger feeding to feeding through a nipple shield. Then Stinson decided it was time to go to TLC. “Mabyn was two weeks old the first time I went,” Stinson says, “and we made a little progress getting away from finger feeding each time we went back.” Stinson and Mabyn have come a long way since then. Mabyn is a healthy baby, eating and growing well, and Stinson gives part of the credit to TLC at Parkwest Childbirth Center. “If it had not been for The Lactation Club meetings I would have given up breastfeeding for sure,” Stinson says. “I would recommend them to all new moms, those struggling and those who aren’t, because you get support and confidence in those first few weeks when things go crazy.”

Tetyana’s Story     

As any mother can tell you, things don’t always go as planned when you have children. After a problem-free pregnancy Tetyana Miller was looking forward to a special delivery experience without an epidural, but baby Leo arrived on April 25, 2017 via C-section, instead.  Miller says the nurses at Parkwest Childbirth Center were caring, kind and knowledgeable, answering all her questions about basic care. Lactation consultants helped her learn the best way to hold her baby while feeding him, and helped him to latch the right way.  “I think one of the biggest reasons why women give up on breastfeeding is that they fail to latch the baby correctly,” Miller says, “or the baby can’t latch correctly and it causes lots of tenderness that seems like will never end.”  After bringing the baby home, Miller knew she wanted to keep learning and to have a solid support system. She found both in the TLC breastfeeding group at Parkwest Childbirth Center.  “I can express all my worries and ask questions, and the lactation consultants there are absolutely wonderful and committed to helping you succeed in breastfeeding,” Miller says. “I love that I can talk to other women while we are feeding our babies, we share our experiences and support each other.   Miller calls TLC “a resource too good to ignore.”