Celebrating breastfeeding with moms and babies
Bonding begins with breastfeeding in more ways than one for members of Falmouth Hospital’s Breastfeeding Support Group.
And through “World Breastfeeding Week Celebration,” which was held nationally, as well as at Falmouth Hospital recently, friendships and connections grew stronger as roughly 30 mothers and mothers-to-be shared cake, advice and tips on breastfeeding.
The second annual celebration, which was held on Aug. 6, at the Faxon Center, was initiated by Falmouth Hospital nurses and certified lactation consultants Suzan Scharr, RN; Lori Ruggieri, RN; and Cheryl Donahue.
The Family Birth Place at Cape Cod Hospital also held a celebration at the Lorusso Board Room on Aug. 7, which featured infant massage, reiki for moms, bra fittings and conversation with physicians, midwives and lactation specialist Heather Lakatos.
Scharr, who initiated the Breastfeeding Support Group at Falmouth Hospital five years ago, explained that the event’s activities represented the kind of support the group tries to provide throughout the year with its weekly clinics, support group meetings, and childbirth, lactation, and newborn classes.
“Every woman’s breastfeeding experience is different and it can often be challenging – especially for those that are going back to work. We want women to know that breastfeeding is a normal process and we can help them as they embark on that journey,” Scharr said.
The weekly sessions have not only helped countless women become more confident and comfortable with breastfeeding, but have also alleviated concerns through consistent communication, added Ruggieri.
“I’ve definitely seen a lot of women come in crying, feeling overwhelmed and they have questions about why their baby isn’t latching, or why their milk is slow to come in and helping them progress is such a gratifying feeling,” Ruggieri said.
Members often continue discussions and develop friendships by meeting outside the group for activities or stay in touch through the group’s Facebook page, she said.
Kellie Porter, a librarian who shared breastfeeding resources and literature with the group, has been a member since 2010. She explained that she has found “unexpected camaraderie” in the group. Group leaders, as well as the members helped her “normalize” what she was going through as a first-time mother, she said.
“We started coming to the group when my daughter was four months old and I remember wishing I had started coming sooner. I have made so many close friends and even the Facebook page has helped me stay connected since having my son. If I have had 3 a.m. burning question, inevitably the crew is awake and ready to answer and ready to help in any way they can,” Porter said.
New member Meaghann Kenney, mother to four-month-old Flynn Kriscivnas, is just beginning her parenting journey and referred to childbirth as “euphoric exhaustion.” She said she was initially having a hard time breastfeeding, but after attending sessions through the group, she began to have an easier time.
“No one told me that breastfeeding was going to be so hard. I ended up doing a lactation consult with Lori and she told me about the group and it opened up a whole new world for me.” Kenney said.
For Scharr, the most important aspect when it comes to breastfeeding is making parents comfortable in any type of situation. She said by celebrating breastfeeding, it can help normalize the process as a whole.
“We don’t want mothers to feel anxious or frustrated about their breastfeeding needs, and we want them to reach a comfortable level despite what anyone else thinks. It’s special that we have been able to create this close knit group that can help do that.”