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Published on August 30, 2022

Support for a Breastfeeding Mother

Support for a Breastfeeding Mother

When Sarah Davis’ daughter, Adelaide, was born three months early – at 26 weeks – breastfeeding was initially the farthest thing from her mind. With a background in maternal and child health, her plan had certainly been to breastfeed her baby, but the stress associated with the days leading up to her exceptionally early birth and then the birth itself left Sarah reeling.

But she recalls being brought to her hospital room after delivery and seeing a breast pump in the corner – something she would soon come to call her “new best friend.” There wasn’t much Sarah felt she could do for Adelaide at that stage, but she COULD pump. So pump she did – eight times per day, initially, to help her milk come in. Though she wasn’t producing much milk at all initially, Sarah remembers something a Cone Health lactation consultant told her when her daughter was about three days old that completely expanded her mindset: “What you’re doing now will make such a difference to her in six to eight weeks.”

Support for a Breastfeeding Mother: Sarah and Adelaide

Sarah and Adelaide

“I was thinking in 30-minute increments at that point, but I thought, ‘I hear you saying this can help her.’” Sarah, a Greensboro resident, recalls. “There wasn’t a lot I could do for her then, but I could pump, and so I focused on it and pumped all the time. And it worked! My milk came in and I was able to produce enough.” 

Sarah said the lactation consultants at Cone Health – along with the consistent support and encouragement of her partner, Ellen – are absolutely the reason her breastfeeding journey has been successful.

“The Cone team is amazing,” she said. “I went through the list of breastfeeding maladies in the first month – engorged, yeast infection, clogged ducts, you name it – and there was always someone I could ask. I remember Caroline Smith [RN, IBCLC] saying, ‘You’re going to do this. I know you can do this!’ That helped encourage me so much.”

Adelaide was in the NICU for 105 days, but Sarah says the support from the Cone Health lactation consultant team has been just as strong since her daughter left the hospital. MaryAnn Joseph, BSN, RN, IBCLC, an outpatient lactation consultant, helped them navigate a tongue tie situation, and Sarah says she contacts MaryAnn regularly with questions.

“Just when I think I have this breastfeeding thing figured out, something changes,” Sarah said. Luckily, she says, they see MaryAnn as part of Adelaide’s frequent weight checks, so the family gets consistent support from MaryAnn.

Now, eight months later, Adelaide is exclusively breastfed, and has been since she was just two weeks old in the NICU.

“It makes me really happy to know that I can do that for her, and at the same time I feel like I’ve been given a gift, because I wouldn’t have been able to do this for Adelaide without the support I received through Cone,” said Sarah.