How the breastfeeding team supported me and helped my baby

Our daughter Ella’s birth was a planned C-section at 34 weeks – 6 weeks early – due to a complicated prenatal diagnosis. The day of Ella’s birth, we held our breaths as Ella took her first. The highs were high and the lows were low, and it often seemed that just when we had a handle on our daughter’s condition, something would change and there was a new concern to address.

Before Ella’s birth, we met with a breastfeeding consultant to help us understand life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and some of the benefits of breastfeeding. Besides being experts in the benefits of breast milk, the lactation nurses at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin are supportive, thoughtful, understanding and above all, never pushy. Not only were they my teachers, they became my confidants and friends.

In between battling medical emergencies, we were trying to be just like any other set of parents enjoying the first moments with our baby: seeing her eyes open, giving her a first bath, first diaper change, first snuggle. I focused on what I was able to do, and I knew providing breast milk for our daughter would provide her with nutrients and make her immune system stronger.

The stress of having a child in the NICU long-term took a toll and my breast milk supply suffered, even after Ella was discharged. The lactation team helped find ways to prevent my supply from dropping. I often looked forward to coming back to the hospital for clinic visits and overnight stays because I knew I would be able to use a Medela Symphony breast pump.

Today, Ella is a vibrant 2 ½-year-old child who balances her curiosity with sweetness and her stubbornness with determination. The breastfeeding team is a key part of the medical team at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. We are certain that providing breast milk to Ella helped give her a strong foundation.

Medela, a leading maker of breastfeeding equipment and supplies, is holding an online contest that will award $5,000 in breastfeeding products to six hospitals with the most online votes in the Medela Virtual Human Milk Collection Campaign. I encourage you to register and vote online for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Your vote could help other moms and babies at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

Please watch the following video to hear why you should vote for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in the Medela Virtual Human Milk Collection Campaign now through November 30.

~ Heather Kucharski, mother of a Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin NICU patient, guest blogger

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