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Stories of Strength

Breastfeeding is not always easy for moms and babies. We hope that the stories we have included here will inspire other mothers when the going gets rough.

Nineteen years ago, when MilkWorks began, I was a sophomore in college and actively avoiding the science building with my political science and history majors.  I was a competitive debater but when we discussed health care, or even women’s health care, breastfeeding was never a topic.

Whether we like it or not, human mothers share an intimate behavior with all other mammal mothers: we feed our babies milk designed uniquely for our baby’s growth and development. Some people may squirm at the comparison of a human mother to a cat or a dog or a mouse. Yet we are all mammals, who feed our young in the same manner. Humans may have more highly developed brains, yet we are part of nature and the circle of life. Read more...

I may have imagined, when I graduated from college 10 years ago, that I would eventually have an opportunity to present to C-suite executives. But I definitely would not have imagined the presentation would be about a breastfeeding program.
Well, a lot changes in ten years and on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, that is exactly what I was doing!

Ellis was born an angel at 38 weeks and 5 days.
My pregnancy was seamless. I was measuring a bit big, so my doctor schedule a couple 3D ultrasounds. Baby was measuring right on time. My doctor schedule an induction date for me at 39 weeks. 
My 38 week appointment came that Thursday May 4, 2017. Nothing had changed. I wasn’t any further dilated or effaced, and my induction date was still set for that following Tuesday May 9 at 8:00am. The doctor let me hear the heartbeat (strong and steady) and I was on my way. Little did I know, that was the last time I would hear my baby’s heartbeat.

Amanda recently posted a thank you to MilkWorks and shared the unique role that breastfeeding has played in her daughter’s life. Sabrina was diagnosed with genetic form of leukemia and is now part of a research study involving the role of breast milk in helping to treat and support children who are going through leukemia treatment.

A smidge of the journey through the years of becoming mom at 18, single, broke, yet full of hope and ambition. A short note of how one consult, one other mom full of compassion, and a place that knew I could. When I first found out that I was going to be a mother, I had already decided to quit high school and settled with a GED instead, which I got right away. One other thing I was certain of is that, I wanted to breastfeed. I always had hoped for the “ideal” family, married, home owning, successful, and comfortable. Beginning so early and unexpectedly, my journey was far from a start I had dreamed.

When my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our third child we were excited, as expected. When we found out our baby was to be a little girl, we were over the moon! We loved the idea of adding a little girl to our family of two sons.

I am a proud mother of three. However, I hold one child in my heart instead of in my arms. I’m sharing my story with the hope that another bereaved mother will find some peace in knowing that she is not alone. Our stories may be different, but we share an extraordinary bond. And we will always miss our babies, whether they died yesterday or 30 years ago. Ours is a love that never ends.

I didn’t have any experience with babies when my daughter was born almost 17 years ago. I was the youngest child in my family. I had never held a baby. I didn’t even play with dolls when I was a little girl. Zero experience! I was somewhat new to a small Kansas town where my husband was a police officer. My only friends were single men from the editorial room of the newspaper where I worked. Family was far away. It also felt like I had zero support.

My first breastfeeding experience with my three-year-old daughter was difficult. When she was born I didn't have any friends or family who had recently breastfed. If I had questions, I didn't really have anyone to turn to. I exclusively breastfed my daughter for six weeks. When she was six weeks old, I started pumping during the day and nursing her only at night time. I was overwhelmed and tired and she was a very slow nurser. It was much faster to pump and feed her a bottle during the day.

When I was pregnant, I read about two things: birth and breastfeeding. By the time I was 38 weeks and finished my birthing class, I figured that one way or another this baby was leaving my body (hopefully) soon. Breastfeeding, however, I felt a little more ambivalent about. I wanted to breastfeed, but I didn't have a deep, driven desire to do so. I figured if it worked, it worked, and if it didn't, it didn't and that would be that. What I really heard, though, was that everyone makes enough milk. Period.

In June 2011, I became a mother to a beautiful eight-pound boy. Breastfeeding was an incredibly challenging learning curve for my son and me. For the first month we struggled with his inability to latch properly. I had massive pain and wounds on my nipples. After a month and a half of struggling, we finally went to meet with Suzy at MilkWorks. After doing our first weigh-feed-weigh, we discovered that my son was removing less than a half ounce and I was only able to pump a half ounce or less in 30 minutes. My son was still below his birth weight when I first went to MilkWorks.

I will never forget that feeling, the pain of finding out that Kash’s tears were from hunger (it felt like starvation to me!).

“Have you tried Fenugreek?” “Is he latching okay?” “What about steel cut oats, or the tea?” I have tried it all! Anything you could ever think of to make more milk…I’ve tried it. This is my breastfeeding journey…

I knew early on that my breasts were different: small, cone shaped, wide set, no cleavage to speak of even with a padded, push-up bra. I had PCOS as a teen, had always had extremely irregular periods and I had trouble conceiving. When I found out I was pregnant I rejoiced that I might finally grow some boobs. I didn’t know that breastfeeding was going to be one of the biggest challenges I have yet to face in this life.

Breastfeeding wouldn’t be possible without the support I have received from Milkworks and the support I get at home from my husband, Kody. His presence and assistance has been absolutely crucial.

I'm a mother of four and was introduced to food intolerances a few weeks after my second child was born. After some trial and error and working with a health care provider, once I figured out the foods that were bothering her and I removed them from my diet I had a completely different baby.

I came to you a little under a year ago as a first-time mom who was really struggling. I was determined to breastfeed my baby boy and never imagined there could be any issue that would stand in my way. After all, I am an educated woman and I took all of the classes and read all of the books. I also spent the past ten years working in social services, primarily with women & children, so that had to mean something, right? Wrong.

We got pregnant with our second baby shortly after our first baby, Evangeline, turned 1. I could tell very early in my pregnancy with #2 that things were going to be very different this time around. There was no time for morning sickness or exhaustion; I had a busy toddler to follow around.

Shortly after learning that I was expecting twins, I shared the news with Ann, my lactation consultant at Milkworks. She had helped so much with my firstborn, Jocelyn, and I wanted her support and wisdom to help me succeed in nursing my twins. I knew twins could have extra challenges with nursing but frankly I was not intimidated because I had so many problems nursing Jocelyn and still persevered so that we could have the health and relationship benefits of nursing.

The biggest dream of my life was to breastfeed. As a Spanish interpreter for WIC and MilkWorks, I helped many mothers breastfeed their children. I always wondered how neat it would be to live that experience!

I knew long before I became pregnant that I wanted to breastfeed my child due to the benefits it offered mother and baby. I also knew that it could be challenging at first to new moms that have never done it before. So I took two different breastfeeding classes during pregnancy to prepare.

Breastfeeding has been a journey of discovery for me and my three children. Before I became a mother, I did not really have an opinion one way or the other about breastfeeding. When my first child was born, I breastfed her because I was told it was best for my baby. I felt uneducated and unsupported and struggled with postpartum depression. My baby had trouble latching because I have flat nipples and I had to return to work outside the home. At three months I weaned my daughter to formula and did not think it was a big deal to stop.

I knew I wanted to breastfeed before I got pregnant with my daughter. While I had heard of moms who had problems breastfeeding, I was determined. After all, how hard could it be? I was excited and had very romantic ideas of how wonderful breastfeeding would be. To get ready, I took a class at MilkWorks and knew that somehow my baby and I would figure it out.

Last March, I took my 12-week old daughter to day care for the first time. I nursed her exclusively, but my mom and husband had luck feeding her breastmilk from a bottle. I pumped my milk and was able to collect 20 whole ounces to take to daycare that first day. I felt great that I was able to collect enough milk for her for the day, and maybe even the next day.