Finding Support to Succeed in Breastfeeding
When Caroline Sherman and her husband, Tyler, of Millsboro had their daughter two years ago, Caroline experienced some severe symptoms of post-partum depression. She breastfed her baby for a little while, but eventually gave up.
“I was always tired. I didn’t want to go anywhere. And, I didn’t even want to breastfeed to bond with my baby. Post-partum depression hits you bad and if you don’t feel supported in breastfeeding, it is one of those things that you just give up on,” she said.
When the couple was expecting their second child, a boy, Caroline didn’t want to make too many plans or set any goals, especially when it came to breastfeeding.
“I didn’t know what to expect, so I just decided to see what happened. My son was born at Beebe – I always knew I wanted to have him at Beebe.”
Caroline, Tyler, and their son went home after 24 hours. Due to COVID-19, patients are discharged as quickly as possible so they can get home with their new baby. The Labor and Delivery Unit at Beebe has numerous safety protocols in place to protect patients, including allowing only one healthy visitor to be with the expecting mom.
When Caroline arrived home, she still didn’t want to get her hopes up about successfully breastfeeding. Her son had been born with a tongue tie and a lip tie, which needed to be fixed in order to allow him the best chance at successfully breastfeeding.
“After we got home, Julie Oswald, the lactation consultant with Beebe, called me. I was worried I would feel pressured, but Julie was friendly and completely real. She made me feel comfortable and confident,” Caroline recalls. “My husband, Tyler, was there for me. He told me to do what I could, he brought me food and water, and he really helped me settle in as a mom of two.”
Caroline, a respiratory therapist at Nanticoke, has experience in healthcare, so she understands why breastfeeding is important, but she also knew that post-partum depression could hit her again.
“I think I did really want to breastfeed, but I knew I couldn’t mentally go down that road because I didn’t want to upset myself if it didn’t work out,” she said. “Julie was really my life-saver. She was there for me any time I needed help. I would just call her on the video chat, set up the phone so she could see everything, and she would talk me through it.
There was never any pressure. She was calm. And, now I am celebrating five months of successful breastfeeding with my son. I never thought it was possible.”
In addition to Julie’s support, Caroline also mentioned Labor and Delivery nurse Rachel Walker. “Rachel is a friend of mine, so even when I wasn’t calling Julie, I was calling Rachel. She even came over one time to help me and ease my worries.”
“I can’t say enough about all that Beebe does to support new moms. In addition to how safe we felt delivering at the hospital during COVID-19, they have been right there with us for the many months following my son’s birth. Even when I went back to work and started pumping more, I knew Julie and Rachel and the entire Beebe team was there supporting me. It’s an incredible feeling to know that even months after giving birth that they still have your back.”
Julie Oswald, BSN, RN, IBCLC, is Beebe’s Lactation Consultant. She works with new moms to provide virtual lactation support. In addition, Julie provides childbirth education and prenatal breastfeeding classes and support.
“Every patient who is breastfeeding has access to lactation help at Beebe – both in the hospital during their stay and after hospital discharge – and it is all being done virtually using secure videoconferencing technology,” Julie said.
“As part of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, our entire nursing team received extensive breastfeeding education, hands-on skills training, and annual skills updates,” she said. “Beebe is proud to be the first hospital in Delaware that earned certification as a Baby-Friendly Hospital.”
While classes are not being held in person, you can reach out to Julie to request an appointment for lactation support after having a baby, to learn more about Labor & Delivery at Beebe, and to join the breastfeeding support group: 302-645-3577.
Beebe is offering its Breastfeeding Class virtually on the first Thursday of every month from 5-7 p.m. Both nursing moms and support people are invited to attend. Patients can sign up to get the link to join the free virtual class by calling 302-645-3577.
Learn more about Labor & Delivery at Beebe: https://www.beebehealthcare.org/services/womens-health/you-your-baby.