Breastfeeding: Empowering Parents to Overcome Challenges

Breastfeeding: Empowering Parents to Overcome Challenges

By: Lisle Cole, WIC Nutrition Associate, CLS, and BPC

Last week, a mother of a one-month old baby girl called the WIC office at Mary’s Center to speak with one of our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors because she was worried about not having enough breast milk for her baby. Our team member comforted the mom and was able to give her suggestions on ways to increase her milk supply.

That same week, another breastfeeding mom with a four-day old baby was almost in tears because her breasts were sore. She knew breastfeeding would give her baby a healthy start and protection against some illnesses, but she was feeling physically uncomfortable. Mary’s Center’s offices were closed, as it was late on a Saturday evening, but as we partner with Pacify, a free 24hr/7day lactation support line, she was able to talk to a Lactation Consultant. The consultant provided her with information on relieving soreness from engorgement and helped her find a position to allow her baby to latch correctly, therefore alleviating the pain. Having someone to talk to in real time, made a huge difference for that mom, who was then more relaxed about her breastfeeding process.

Mary’s Center has more than thirty years of providing prenatal care, and in that time, we have helped countless women with a myriad of breastfeeding concerns. In our experience, the most common breastfeeding issues are latching, milk production, lack of family support, and struggles returning to work. One of the ways we help breastfeeding mothers navigate these concerns are through our monthly Beautiful Beginnings Club where we equip mothers with the tools and information they need to make informed choices about breastfeeding. When we bring these women together and they share their experiences with a group, we are also able to eliminate breastfeeding myths and barriers.

Our goal through all of this is to give breastfeeding mothers the knowledge, skills, resources, and reassurance to allow them to be strong, competent parents. That is why we are so excited that this year’s theme to honor World Breastfeeding Week in August is Empowering Parents. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for moms and babies and at Mary’s Center, we want to make breastfeeding a natural and enjoyable experience. As a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor myself, it is rewarding to be able to offer all those resources in a friendly clinic atmosphere to help improve the bonds mothers have with their babies.

I personally invite every mom-to-be to seek information to make the best decision for them or to find ways to improve their breastfeeding experience. To learn more about breastfeeding or to talk to one of our Breastfeeding Peer Counselors, please contact Mary’s Center WIC Program at (202)-232-6679.