Carolyn shares her breastfeeding journey: “I’m not the only one going through this.”
HealthPartners’ Mom & Baby Cafés provide answers and support
Pregnancy brings along a lot of questions: What is the best stroller to get? What will we name him or her? What daycares are currently accepting infants?
These were some of the questions floating through Carolyn’s mind during her pregnancy, but she also had one more: Will I be able to breastfeed? “I have PCOS, so I knew that there was a high probability that I wouldn’t be able to breastfeed. Mentally, I had to prepare myself for that situation,” Carolyn said. PCOS, otherwise known as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, throws women’s hormones out of balance, which can make it difficult to get pregnant, or cause low milk supply among other problems.
On Thursday, Oct. 1, nearly two weeks after her due date, Carolyn was induced at Methodist Hospital. After many hours of labor, Carolyn had to have a C-section. While it wasn’t in her original birth plan, she was happy to do what was best for her and her baby. Martin (pictured above), a healthy baby boy, was born Friday, Oct. 2. Having to be induced and C-sections are also linked to a lower production of milk, but Carolyn was still hopeful that she would be able to breastfeed her son.
To Carolyn’s surprise, breastfeeding that first day went great. Martin was eating every two hours. Then came the second day, and it wasn’t quite as easy. Disruptions in the feeding schedule for pictures seemed to throw everything off balance. Luckily, Gina, a nurse in the Family Birth Center, arrived at just the right time. “Gina came in and I immediately felt calm,” Carolyn said. “She explained how everything worked, and really gave me other options and resources I didn’t even know I had.”
After three days in the Family Birth Center, the family headed home. One resource that has helped Carolyn with her breastfeeding journey after leaving the hospital is our Mom & Baby Cafés.
These groups are led by our lactation consultants. Moms and their babies get together weekly to ask questions about breastfeeding such as: My breast pump is on high, but why isn’t it working well? Do I need to stay away from certain chemicals while breastfeeding? What is the best hands-free bra for when I go back to work? One mom shared, “I had trouble breastfeeding after I went home from the hospital – I was in a lot of pain. Being able to come back to Methodist for a one-on-one with a lactation consultant and take part in the Mom & Baby Café helped me to continue breastfeeding my child.”
“I really like that it’s a bunch of moms in the same trenches I am,” Carolyn said. “I’m not the only one going through this.” Carolyn continues to breastfeed, and is actually producing enough milk that she wants to donate to milk depots.
Support for breastfeeding is one of 10 areas of focus of our Children’s Health Initiative, which is aimed at improving the health and well-being of children from pregnancy to age five. The support we give to moms who wish to breastfeed is one way we provide patient and family centered care. In addition to the work being done in our hospitals, we will soon have designated lactation rooms available to all patients and team members across our organization and our CareLine (800-551-0859) and BabyLine (800-845-9297) team members are available to provide 24/7 lactation support for mothers over the phone.