A Peer Counselor’s Personal Story of Breastfeeding

A Peer Counselor's Personal Story of Breastfeeding“My name is Faith and I have always acknowledged the benefits of breastfeeding.

Growing up with a lactation consultant for a mother will do that to you, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to witness them firsthand like I did.

Twenty weeks into my pregnancy, an ultrasound revealed a hole in my baby son’s stomach.

Things began to happen very fast. We were lost in a sea of doctor’s appointments, surgeon interviews, and NICU tours, all the while trying to come to grips that a “normal” birth just was no longer in the cards for us. The plan was for him to be taken early, via C-section, to prevent damage to his exposed intestine. He would be rushed to the NICU and operated on just hours after birth.

Calvin was born on May 15th, eight weeks premature, with his small and large intestine and stomach exposed.

While I was stuck in bed waiting for the okay from the nurses to visit my baby, I was given what every mother in my situation craves — the opportunity to help her baby in a way no surgeon could.A Peer Counselor's Personal Story of Breastfeeding I was given a breast pump. I couldn’t hold Calvin, I couldn’t even see him yet, but I could ensure that he had the nutrition he needed!  Within four hours after birth, I had collected over 36 mls of colostrum!

Due to his two surgeries and waiting for his gut to wake up, it was a full two weeks on intravenous nutrition before we could introduce some of my milk. Just two mls at first, but after a few initial setbacks, the volume increased and the Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) decreased. Calvin’s tiny body began to heal. He astounded the neonatologists and the nurses at how well he tolerated his feeds. I’ll never forget when he was up to two ounce feedings; I tentatively asked when I could breastfeed. The nurse just looked at me and said “Now.” The nurse started walking away to find a nipple shield when suddenly Calvin popped himself on perfectly and started nursing away no problem. The staff was astounded yet again.

A Peer Counselor's Personal Story of BreastfeedingAfter 35 days in the NICU, Calvin left the NICU without a drop of formula. After I got him home, I visited Debbie Vargas at my WIC clinic in Georgetown. She gave me a lot of encouragement.  I was not only able to feed Calvin, I had so much extra milk I donated it to other moms and babies who needed it.

Calvin is a healthy, happy little boy today and I owe so much of that to my commitment to breastfeed despite our initial challenges.”

Faith, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at Williamson County and Citiies Health District, Georgetown