Chelsea Wright needed help. She wanted to breast-feed her first baby, Josie, but didn’t know how.
“I was having trouble getting Josie to latch and considered giving up almost right away,” she said. “Then Annie walked in.”
Annie Havner, R.N., IBCLC, is Lake Regional’s board-certified lactation consultant. She helps moms achieve their breast-feeding goals.
“She was so positive and encouraging,” Wright says. “She helped me position Josie in a few different holds, and finally, I was able to get her latched. As we spoke about the benefits of breast milk and the hard times that can come with breast-feeding, I realized I had a great person to help me on the journey and renewed my dedication to nursing my daughter.”
August is National Breast-feeding Month, a time to raise awareness about the benefits of breast-feeding and to rally support for breast-feeding families. At Lake Regional Family Birth Center, Havner works on these goals every day. In addition to helping moms start breast-feeding while in the hospital, she also offers one-on-one support to any mom, regardless of where she delivered. Plus, Havner teaches “Baby, Breast-feeding & Beyond,” a class for expecting families offered in Eldon and at the hospital, and she facilitates Amazing MOMS Take Five, a free support group that gives breast-feeding moms a place to interact.
“Support for moms is critical for breast-feeding success,” Havner said. “They need to be able to ask questions, share concerns and receive encouragement and reassurance. I love having the chance to empower moms who want to breast-feed.”
With Havner’s help, Wright succeeded in nursing Josie, who is now 5 years old. She also breast-fed her son Charlie, turning 3 years old this month, and is currently breast-feeding her 3-month-old son, James.
“In fact, I have been nursing or pumping continuously since that first day I met Annie in 2013,” Wright said. “I’ve stuck with it for a few reasons. There are health benefits of breast milk for baby, it’s convenient — most of the time — and free! There are also health benefits for moms.”
And for Wright, there’s an extra health benefit.
“I have multiple sclerosis, and it has been found that women with MS have a significantly reduced relapse rate and severity while breastfeeding,” she explains. “I have had very little disease progression for the five years I’ve been nursing my little ones. I am beyond grateful that I’m able to breast-feed and have stuck with it.”
Community of Support
Wright is a regular attendee at the Amazing MOMS Take Five support group, held at 10 a.m. the first Wednesday of the month at the new Lake Regional Family Birth Center. At the July meeting, Wright had James weighed — Havner always brings an infant scale to the meetings — and she interacted with fellow breast-feeding moms Tierney Earp, there with her 3-month-old son, Foster, and Kirsten Stamper, there with her 4-month-old daughter, Una.
The women’s conversation covered breast milk storage, tongue-tie surgery, cloth diapers, nursing bras, how the babies were growing and more.
Wright said she appreciates the chance to share stories and struggles with the group.
“Having moms at all stages of breast-feeding at the MOMs meetings is invaluable to anyone who may come with questions they may not feel they can ask friends or family,” she said. “You can always find answers and encouragement there.”
Show Me 5
Lake Regional Family Birth Center is proud to be a Missouri “Show Me 5” birth facility. Lake Regional earned this designation by implementing these five practices:
- Help mothers initiate breast-feeding within the first hour of birth.
- Practice “rooming-in,” allowing infants to stay in the same room as their mothers.
- Give breast-feeding infants breast milk only (no other liquids), unless medically indicated.
- Do not give breast-feeding infants pacifiers or artificial nipples.
- Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge.