But What I didn’t Know……

“I always knew I wanted to breastfeed.  Even before I became pregnant with my first daughter, I was planning to breastfeed my children.  There were two major reasons for this decision. The first was financial.  My husband and I were on a tight budget, to say the least, and I couldn’t justify such a great expense as formula.  The second was based on many hours of reading.  The list of breastfeeding benefits was so long that it could not be ignored: Breastfed children have better recovery from illness, and protection against so many childhood diseases, to name only a few.  I always knew I wanted to breastfeed, because it was a well researched decision.

But What I didn’t Know……But what I didn’t know was the way breastfeeding would make me feel like a mother.  I breastfed my first daughter through her second year of life, and I have such a special bond with her that I cannot put it into words.  She will be six this summer, and I am so proud that she has been perfectly healthy, and never even taken an antibiotic.  She is also extremely secure. Breastfeeding allowed me to give her the care and attention she needed, and it was always me.  I was the only one capable of feeding her, and she knew that.  She depended on me for life, and through that, love.  What impact that has on a new mother.  Tears would fill my eyes when I looked down at her, feeding in my arms, and she would look up and smile at me-not whoever was feeding her-but me.  She knew I was not just her caregiver, but her mother.  It has created a security and bond between us that warms my heart.

But what I didn’t know was the way it would all be new again when my second child was born, and then my third.  During each pregnancy I was planning, of course, to breastfeed.  I was so surprised to find that the wonder and amazement I felt with my oldest daughter, was just as strong the second and third times.  I am still breastfeeding my third, and again feel the awe of motherhood that comes with breastfeeding.

My children will only be babies for one short time in each of their lives, but the choice to breastfeed during that time will have an effect on both of us for the rest of our lives.”

Breastfeeding Mommy, Pike County WIC

Breastfeeding Superstar Mom, Melissa

The San Felipe WIC office has an incredible tradition to support moms for their amazing breastfeeding successes. They have a “Superstar Wall” where women who exclusively breastfeeding for one year or more are featured with a framed photo and story about their breastfeeding journey. The conference room is used by tribal groups in the area. Melissa discovered the wall at an event last year and said she wanted to be on it.  This year, she was honored by becoming a mom on the “Superstar Wall”!

Breastfeeding Superstar Mom, Melissa

Melissa

daughter Nizhoni 8/2015

Tell us who supported you the most to breastfeed and continue breastfeeding: 

My mom and sister supported me in breastfeeding my first born.

Tell us about your biggest challenge to breastfeed or continue breastfeeding:

My biggest was the places I could breastfeed and the pain. But I learned that it was OK to breastfeed.

What feelings surprised you the most:

The connection you get and the bonding feeling is the best feeling you can ever get.

Tell us your “secret” wish about breastfeeding:

It comes natural.

Tell us about your “perfect/dream” breastfeeding experience:

Was when my daughter latched on fast after she was born.

Tell us what you would like to share with a pregnant mom that has never breastfed:

Don’t be scared to breastfeed.  It all comes natural and the best drink your child could ever have at no cost!

Melissa, San Felipe WIC

Breastfeeding Support for Twin Moms

Breastfeeding Support for Twin Moms“My husband and I have seen great benefit from being able to use the WIC Lactation Center with our twin boys. I can say with certainty that our boys would not be breastfeeding today had we not had access to this wonderful resource. Breastfeeding is difficult, especially with multiples. Twin mommas also often have their babies early and/or have complications, which makes the start of the breastfeeding journey more difficult. Although the NICU nurses were wonderful, they did not provide the lactation support and help that we needed to be successful. They were more focused on getting the boys healthy and big enough to be discharged from the NICU, and not so much on the long term goal of breastfeeding.

My twins were born at 33 weeks and although they did very well considering how early they were, they were small and slow to grow and therefore had difficulty breastfeeding. In addition, my delivery was very traumatic; I had some serious post-delivery complications that made our situation more difficult because we did not get started out the best way possible.

My husband and I were struggling with deciding what was best for our family, as our pediatrician was recommending that we follow each breastfeeding sessions with a bottle of pumped breast milk that was fortified with Similac Neosure to add extra calories.

The stress between my husband and I was lifted when we met Christine. She helped us feel more confident that although we were struggling, if we continued to be dedicated to breastfeeding that the boys would grow and get better at it, and that this difficult journey was worth it. She also helped me be more confident that my breast milk was exactly what my babies needed; when she tested the calories of my breast milk, it was 26 calories, so we felt confident that we no longer needed to add the Neosure to my breast milk in order to get the milk at or above 22 calories.

Christine helped the boys to learn to latch better, and by going each week, we were able to see them progress and eventually they could get out enough milk that we could try to not follow immediately with a bottle. By seeing Christine once a week we were able to continue our breastfeeding journey.

There is not a lot of support for twin moms. I had tried to attend a breastfeeding support group at the hospital I delivered at; however, no one else in the group had a premature baby, let alone multiples, so I really didn’t feel like they could understand or help me. I highly recommend the WIC Lactation Center to any moms of multiples that I know who are dedicated to trying to breastfeed their multiples.”

Sarah, WIC Lactation Care Center Dallas, TX

Breastfeeding Tears of Happiness and Sadness

“I am a 24 year old mother of two, living in Denison, TX. I hated breastfeeding in the beginning because it was so hard. But now, I LOVE it! Here is my story:

Breastfeeding Tears of Happiness and SadnessOn April 11, 2014, I was induced at 39 weeks at 12:50 p.m. My 5 lb 15.5 oz baby boy was born. (Eliott James Taylor) I was only able to do skin-to-skin for about five minutes before they had to take him to the nursery because he was unable to hold his temperature. After I got him back, I tried to get him latched every chance I got and both of us were having a hard time. All he wanted to do was sleep but I knew I needed to keep trying. All the while I was getting so frustrated and sad. I wanted what was best for my baby, but at the same time I was ready to quit.

When we were finally released from the hospital, he slept all night long. I tried to get him to latch that morning but it was not happening. He was crying, I was crying, and all day I tried to latch him with no success. I knew he was hungry so I kept trying. I pumped and gave him a bottle and that worked for a couple of hours. That evening I realized that he was extremely cold. I checked his temperature and it was 94.5. We rushed him to the ER and they immediately admitted him and started an IV. He had become dehydrated and was beginning to get hypothermia.

While in the hospital, we learned that he had the cord wrapped around his neck three times in my uterus. So although I was 39 weeks, he was only measuring at 35 and was unable to latch because he was so under measured. On top of that, he was also tongue tied. This still wasn’t going to stop me from trying to give my baby what was best for him. The lactation consultant and the nurse at the hospital tried to help with a shield and that worked. I was so happy. I was pumping while latching him and we were finally able to be discharged again.

Breastfeeding Tears of Happiness and SadnessWhen we got home he stopped latching again, even with the shield. I continued to pump and give him bottles, but unfortunately I was not pumping enough, and eventually lost my supply. So we were forced to go to formula. He was constantly sick, but now he is a happy, energetic two year old little boy.

Now for my second story, which began on February 9, 2016: At 36 weeks my breached baby girl decided she wanted to get out. A C-section was done at 5:36 p.m. and Brelynn Joyce Taylor was here. I requested to do skin-to-skin as soon as they pulled her out but unfortunately I could not due to her not breathing correctly and her sugar level was low so she was rushed to the nursery. When I got her back, I immediately tried to feed her but she would not latch. She would latch for a second then stop with sugar water, and she was very sleepy. I tried to wake her every two to three hours but we were having quite a bit of trouble latching. I started using the shield and it worked.

We went home and I continued using the shield because it seemed to be the only way she would latch. I was beginning to become engorged so I pumped and used the shield because that was working for us. A happy baby is a happy mama. After my milk came in I did away with the shield and we were doing just fine.

We are now five months strong on breastfeeding and doing wonderfully. There are days I just wanna give up because she wants to eat all day long and I don’t get anything done. But then I just cherish being able to hold my baby and bond with her, knowing she is getting the very best. While her brother who was on formula was sick all the time, she has never been sick.

So this is my success story. Breastfeeding is very challenging. We have spent many nights just crying together, both happy and sad tears. If you stick with it then it is so worth it. My goal is to reach a year and once I reach that I will try a year and a half and so on. We are only seven months away so fingers crossed.

Thank you for reading my struggle and my success stories. I hope this can motivate you on making your decision on breastfeeding.”

D’Anna, Grayson County, TX WIC

A Mom’s Breastfeeding Tale of Keeping Her World Spinning

“I have three beautiful baby girls. My oldest just turned 2 in June and my twins are 7 months old.

My oldest was a big surprise for her daddy and me. At the time I knew nothing about breastfeeding. I had never seen it or even heard it be talked about. But seeing as I can be an overachiever and I was only nineteen when I got pregnant, I read a ton of books, asked a ton of questions and decided that I wanted to give it a go.  We had a hard time at first nursing, because she had a tongue tie which I had no idea even existed or what it was at the time. Even with all my reading and questions! I cracked and I bled. I hurt every time that I would nurse her. But after talking to the lactation consultant we figured out that the tongue tie was probably what had caused the troubles and she helped me and my baby relearn how to latch and eat.  I was blessed to get to nurse her for six and a half months, then my supply dried up due to working 8 to 16 hour shifts and not being able to pump or nurse during that time.

A Mom's Breastfeeding Tale of Keeping Her World SpinningWell when she was about 8 months old, we decided to start the journey for # 2. We got pregnant the first month that we tried and I knew that I was pregnant before any tests including a blood test at the doctor’s office would agree. I was super tired, super light headed, and nauseous and starving equally, and unable to stomach anything. Well I finally got home tests #23-30 to agree with what I already knew! My doctor got me in for an ultrasound right away because I was not yet regular with my periods and had been feeling sick and would be early, but no idea how early, he was worried about viability and safety. Well ultrasound showed I was only barely 5 weeks along. Late enough to see the sac and fetal pole but too early to see baby. Oh and I had a weird air bubble behind the baby. NO WAIT, THAT’S ANOTHER BABY!? CONGRATS IT LOOKS LIKE YOU’RE HAVING TWINS!!

Fast forward, babies got here a little over a month early but did not spend more than 8 hours in NICU. But still it was 8 hours before I got to hold my babies!!!!

I also had a rough start with the twins. They had trouble maintaining their temperature and sugars and they lost a bit of weight. I had to fight for my right to breast feed because the hospital did not believe it possible to nurse the twins and they get everything they needed. I had to put my foot down and tell them that I appreciated their concern and suggestions but I needed to try my way first and if it wasn’t working then I would follow their recommendations.

So I did kangaroo care with both babies and latched them every second I could and by the next morning they had gained, their temperature stayed better when I had them together with me and their sugars were fine. Since then for the most part it has been an easy go of it. My Supply has been amazing and stayed up, regardless of my poor eating or lack thereof. I have even managed to tandem nurse them and we have officially made it longer than I did with big sister.

My biggest challenge with the twins has been making sure I eat and drink enough.  And my little Emma is a lazy eater. About 75% of the time I have to hand express to encourage my letdown so that she will latch and stay latched. They still wake at least once or twice a night and their big sister wakes up during the night as well.

There are so many days when I am overwhelmed and want to cry. Because I’m in charge of all bill paying, grocery shopping, Dr’s and WIC appointments, housework, assisting my husband with managing his business, bathing and bedtime, making sure they all hit milestones on time and making sure the earth keeps spinning…ok maybe the last one was a little exaggerated. But just a little! I do make sure my own little world keeps functioning properly the best that I can.

I guess my point is that, it is not always easy, and you may start out not knowing anything at all. But with good support, a ton of education and a very stubborn personality it is possible to achieve your goals.”

A Brave Mom from the Southwest District Health-Nutrition and Health Promotion Services (WIC)

Learning “What’s Normal” in Breastfeeding and Following Your Motherly Instincts

“In the beginning, breastfeeding my daughter was a challenge.  We both had a traumatic birth experience which led to complications getting breastfeeding started.  We had several lactation consultants try to help, but we were still struggling after leaving the hospital.  I had always been told that it was normal for things to hurt in the beginning and felt I just needed to try harder to get her latched on correctly and that would solve the problem.

Well, weeks went by and my nipples started feeling better, but my daughter was still having issues with nursing.  She was choking on my milk and was getting a lot of air while nursing, leading to lots of burps, hiccups, and spit up while nursing.  I had a gut feeling that something was wrong, but I kept hearing everything we were going through was normal and that I just had an oversupply and a strong letdown which was leading to the issues. My daughter’s weight gain was good so the doctors and midwives weren’t concerned.

Learning "What's Normal" in Breastfeeding and Following Your Motherly InstinctsSo we kept on going with the promise that things would get better as time went by.  Around three months old my daughter was still having the same symptoms. I still had a lot of milk and a strong letdown, which was making me feel uncomfortable and my daughter was having problems taking it all in.  I finally decided to go in to see my WIC peer counselor, Lyssa, to get her advice.  I had recently been doing some reading about lip and tongue ties and after looking at my daughter suspected that she had both.  Lyssa said she couldn’t diagnose that condition, but gave me a referral list of local providers to contact and a manual pump and some milk savers to help me manage my oversupply while I found a provider to evaluate my daughter for lip and/or tongue tie.

At four months old my daughter was finally diagnosed with a lip and tongue tie by a pediatric dentist and I felt so relieved that I finally had an answer and knew I wasn’t crazy for thinking we were having issues.  However, despite the diagnosis I was still nervous about going through with the procedure.  I perceived that things were getting better with nursing and didn’t know if the revision was necessary at that point.  So we declined it and kept on nursing.

More months went by and my daughter started getting more teeth.  It was at that point I really noticed just how shallow her latch was and how it felt like she was just chewing on my nipple to get the milk out instead of drawing the nipple back into her mouth like she was supposed to.  She was also having some issues eating solids.  After continuing to research more about lip and tongue ties I realized how important it was for baby to have a good latch for not just nursing success, but for future oral health.  So I finally decided it was time to get my daughter’s lip and tongue tie fixed to help avoid future issues like speech, dental, and ENT problems, just to name a few.

At 9 months old Ava had the procedure to remove her ties, which was quick and not too painful.  I also took her in weekly to see a speech language pathologist to help her learn to use her tongue properly not only for nursing, but for eating solids and speech.  Her latch improved tremendously in just three months of therapy.  She also started eating solids better and was beginning to talk a lot around that time.  I always wonder now if her speech would have been delayed or problematic if we would not have revised her tongue tie.  At 20 months old, my daughter is still breastfeeding with no plans to wean any time soon.

It took us a long time to get a groove, but with help from my peer counselor and other breastfeeding moms we figured out what was causing issues and were able to have a breastfeeding success story to share with other moms.  It’s because of that journey that I myself have decided to help other moms with breastfeeding with the long-term goal of becoming an IBCLC.  Support is so important for a breastfeeding mom and the WIC peer counselors and staff are just another great resource to have in your corner.”

Kristen, Kyle, TX WIC

Lyssa’s story of Giving Her All

Lyssa's story of Giving Her All“I started my breastfeeding journey with the goal of making it to a year. During the first month I had a hard time due to having to deal with Dysphoric Milk Ejection Reflex. But once we got past that things leveled out. Once I made it to a year I was very happy, then I thought, “Why not keep going?”

Then two years came around. Kept going. Then three years came around. I decided to stop breastfeeding at three years and the next thing I know we were 5 months away from her fourth birthday. So we decided to go to age four.

Last night as we laid down to nurse after suckling for a minute or so my daughter got a sad face and said there was no milk. So I told her to try the other one. She suckled at the other breast for a minute then again looked at me and said there was no milk. She got sad and turned into her pillow.  After a few minutes she decided she wanted call everyone and tell them.

I feel like we have come to the end of our journey and what a journey it was. I have proven to myself over and over that I can do this. And since this is my last child I was happy to be able to give her my all.”

Lyssa, Lockhart, TX WIC

The Lifesaving Gift of Breastfeeding

The Lifesaving Gift of Breastfeeding“I was 23 years old and terrified the first time I walked into WIC. My birth control had failed and I found myself thrown into a foreign world. Besides the typical fears first time moms have – for their unborn babies, impending labor and of course the constant thought that my body is ruined – I had the added fear of how does a poor single woman from Lorain provide for another human being?! I struggled to care for myself alone. And so great was my fear that I couldn’t support a child that I spent my entire first trimester researching adoption.

As I searched for ways to provide for a family, I found myself at WIC. I expected to get some stamps or coupons to help with food but I had no idea of the wealth of support and information they would offer.

As a child I was breastfed and so I planned to breastfeed. But only because that was what my mom did. At WIC they taught me the hundreds of benefits of breastfeeding. The more I learned, the more excited and passionate I became about breastfeeding. And of course one HUGE perk is it’s free (saving moms $2,000-4,000 a year)! WIC also provided amazing breastfeeding tools that I use daily (to this day!) such as a breastfeeding cover and pump which I would have struggled to afford and probably would have not purchased on my own.

As I learned more I decided to “term” breastfeed my daughter (some people call it extended breastfeeding). I read of all the benefits breastfeeding can offer to toddlers and decided to let my daughter self wean when she is ready. When my daughter was 2 I had my second child. She breastfed throughout my pregnancy and we are now tandem nursing. My son (8lb 6oz at birth) is 8 weeks and over 12 pounds and my daughter is a thriving, happy, healthy little girl.

I hear a lot of people say how hard breastfeeding was when they first started. And I have certainly had my struggles throughout my two years of breastfeeding. But I can honestly say that I’ve never once thought of quitting because of the arsenal of information and support I’m armed with. I know that this is something fully worth doing and that I absolutely can do. Thank you WIC for the lifesaving gift of breastfeeding (and everything else). And thank you to all those who support WIC so that they can continue to nourish families in our community.”

Hannah, Lorain County, OH WIC

Welcome World Breastfeeding Week!

Welcome World Breastfeeding Week!

WIC counselor from Tawas City, MI sharing a precious, breastfeeding moment with her baby.

The annual World Breastfeeding Week started this past Saturday, August 1st! The world celebration of breastfeeding has occurred every year since 1991, when the World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) was formed. This week long event encourages women to embrace their motherly attributes and praise their abilities to give their children the essential nutrients they need to grow up healthy and strong!

We’ve all heard about the benefits breastfeeding has for both mom and baby, but did you know breast milk is constantly changing to meet the needs of our children? Researchers and moms are continuously finding ways breastfeeding is better and better, and how it out wins formula every single time. Breast milk gives our children the best possible nutrients and protection. Moms who breastfeed are shown to have lower risks of cancers, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, etc., and babies who drink breast milk are given immediate and long term protection and have a lower risk of infections, obesity, and cancers. What’s even more amazing about the power of breast milk is it can alter its self to meet a baby’s needs. When a baby breastfeeds their saliva communicates with the mother’s body and their breast milk can give the baby anything they need at that time. If they are sick the milk will produce extra antibodies and antioxidants to help them recover and feel better. Same goes if the mother is sick!

During this week, August 1st to the 7th, organizations such as, La Leche League and WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) are hosting special events for breastfeeding moms and their babies. This year’s theme: Breastfeeding at Work: Let’s Make it Work! will be all about women who want to continue breastfeeding while they pursue their careers. A few spotlighted events are Camden County, NJ, who will be hosting their “Big Latch On” affair where global counts of mothers simultaneously nurse their babies for one minute, and in Caldwell, ID where the Southwest District Health WIC has their “Latch On” event, which this year will be a full day of giving breastfeeding mom’s tips on how to tie both breastfeeding and work together!

 

Find your local chapter near you and checkout all the excitement going on this week and celebrate breastfeeding as it should be: loving, nurturing, and supportive!

 

 

We’re Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Nursing Bras…Are You?

Happy World Breastfeeding Week, everyone!  We’re excited to kick-off this annual celebration with big news:  Loving Moments by Leading Lady is donating $18,000 in nursing bras to moms through Women, Infant and Children (WIC) offices nationwide.  We can’t think of a better way to help new moms on this most important life journey with their babies than to support them with new nursing bras and other breastfeeding essentials.

We’re Celebrating World Breastfeeding Week with Nursing Bras…Are You?

WIC counselors admire the Loving Moments by Leading Lady nursing bras and breastfeeding essentials they received as a donation celebrating World Breastfeeding Week.

Dedicated WIC staff and volunteers work tirelessly to help new moms nurture their babies through breastfeeding.  Local chapters often support women without the means to other resources but who want the best for their babies.   Breastfeeding research shows that educating new moms on the benefits of breast milk and providing logistical help along with encouragement are major factors in a mother’s decision to breastfeed and continue to breastfeed throughout infancy.  Loving Moments salutes WIC for their efforts and for making a huge difference in the lives of moms and babies in their own communities.  That’s why we’re doing our part to support these valiant offices and the mothers they serve.

At Loving Moments, we know that nursing bras are more than a piece of clothing.  Nursing bras help create a bond between mother and child.  Nursing bras help provide the very best nutrition a baby can receive.  Nursing bras help make mothers feel supported, comfortable and even stylish as women and moms.  Nursing bras are a critical part of every new moms’ arsenal to help her achieve her breastfeeding goals.  We’re proud to help moms on this most precious adventure in life.

Fifty WIC offices around the country will receive Loving Moments nursing bras and other breastfeeding essentials as a donation to show our encouragement, admiration and support of new moms striving to nourish their babies with breast milk.  We selected these offices after receiving stories, photos and testimonials of the difference that WIC makes on a community level.  We were inspired and we hope to continue to support new moms nationwide through our donation.

We want you to be inspired too!  Throughout World Breastfeeding Week and beyond we will share anecdotes from WIC counselors and the mothers they serve on Facebook and Twitter.  We hope their dedication inspires you and you find your own personal way to support new moms during World Breastfeeding Week and all year round.

Again, Happy World Breastfeeding Week!  We hope you’ll join us on our Loving Moments social media channels to applaud new moms everywhere who are nurturing their babies through breastfeeding.