In honor of IBCLC Day, we’re celebrating our wonderful Lactation Consultants! Nancy Albrecht, Ellen Chetwynd, Rebecca Costello, Elley Schopler, and Deborah Adler work tirelessly to make sure every mother has the best available breastfeeding assitance. Here are some of the ways they’ve helped women navigate the sometimes difficult world of breastfeeding:
“We are a few days away from our 6-month nursing anniversary. We would not be here without Ellen. By the time I saw Ellen, my daughter was one month old and the nursing struggles had left me an emotional mess. Ellen was so kind and invested so much time into figuring out what was going on – after a few visits and a tongue tie clip, we have not looked back and breastfeeding became a wonderful, pain-free experience. I treasure my time nursing Zoya, because it helps me connect with her, and I would not have this opportunity if we hadn’t met Ellen. Her attentiveness and thoughtfulness are something I will always remember.” – Haniya Mir
“The wonderful IBCLCs, especially Rebecca since that’s who I saw mostly, always helped to ease my worries. They made me feel like I was doing an awesome job nourishing my baby, as I pushed my way through diet restrictions, constant nursing, pumping at work, and low supply. The best advice I got from Rebecca was that breastfeeding is not all or nothing. That statement helped to normalize how hard breastfeeding was for me at times and made me feel better about having to use donor milk.” – Sarah Jackson
“Sometimes I worry Rebecca will think I’m a total creep for the amount of praise I give her. I was probably at my most vulnerable after Rowan’s birth when I went to see her. He was born at 31 weeks due to severe pre-eclampsia. Nothing had gone right, or even right-adjacent. We were finally home from the hospital (I was inpatient for three weeks, owan for almost six), and he was really struggling to nurse. He was not transferring much milk and was choking every time he ate. I was falling apart emotionally from the trauma mixed with sleep deprivation from trying to pump, nurse, and bottle feed.
The first thing Rebecca did was give me permission to skip the nursing part during the middle of the night. She spotted the same tongue and lip ties that I had suspected, but been told not to worry about by the NICU. She wrote her “prescriptions” down on pieces of notebook paper for me. Not just ways to change the way we nursed, but ways to slow down the bottles. I believe one note said to make bottles ‘tortuously slow.’
After a few visits and a tongue/lip tie clipping, everything started to fall together. When my insurance refused to cover the visits, she worked so hard to try to fix it. Rowan will be two in April and is still nursing. And I am 100% sure that would not be the case without the WBWC IBCLCs.” –Rhiannon Giles
“I am so thankful to Rebecca! She helped out many times: teaching me new positions, reassuring a new
mom, getting rid of a milk bleb that I couldn’t do myself, and establishing this amazing group for us. Thank you Rebecca!!” – Jenae Delayen
“I can’t say enough about the IBCLCs at WBWC. Between my two babies, I’ve seen all of them at least once. My first was a traumatic delivery which resulted in pituitary damage and delayed/insufficient milk supply, and by the time we realized there was a problem, my daughter had lost over a pound and had forgotten how to eat. We sat on Ellen’s couch, often sobbing, at least once or twice a week until Ada was about 12 weeks old. Ellen reassured me that we were doing everything “right,” that it was more important that my baby was fully fed than that her food came completely from me, and that my worth as a mother wasn’t measured in ounces of milk – all of which I desperately needed to hear at the time. We also saw each of the other LCs with my daughter (incidentally, I think she might have been the first birth center client that Rebecca saw! If not THE first, certainly on her first day there), and they were all wonderfully supportive and helped us figure out how to maximize my supply while re-teaching my kiddo how to nurse. I should add that this was at a time when many folks, even lactation specialists, didn’t believe that low supply was real. We got a LOT of inaccurate information from well-meaning supporters of breastfeeding, but the WBWC IBCLCs never questioned that what I was experiencing was real, or that it was devastating. My daughter nursed until she was 28 months old even though I never achieved a full supply (and would have gone longer, but I was pregnant and had to stop her because my pituitary condition precludes nursing while pregnant), and I’m positive that would never have happened without the support we received in the beginning – I didn’t think we’d make it to six weeks at first.
My second is a completely different story, but we’ve received just as much support this time, mostly from Rebecca. Simon was born via a dramatic VBAC, so no trauma or damage this time, but my milk still was delayed (not surprising, given my history). So we had a prenatal appointment with Ellen to make a plan and saw Rebecca on day 3 to assess his latch and transfer – he had lost almost 10% of his body weight, so we began donor milk immediately. It wasn’t enough to prevent a readmission to UNC for jaundice, but he never forgot how to eat, and we realized very early that he was tongue tied. Our weekly visits to Rebecca from the very beginning have gotten our nursing relationship off to the best possible start – he’s got a fantastic latch, we addressed my supply concerns very quickly, got his tongue tie revised, and this baby is a committed and enthusiastic nurser. He has gained four pounds since he was born… and he hasn’t gotten any donor milk in over a month! More sobbing on the couch this time, but now it has been happy tears as we’ve celebrated the completely different path that this journey is taking. Rebecca finally told me this week that it’s silly for me to keep making appointments when the baby is consistently gaining over an ounce per day. It has been a lovely security blanket, but I’m excited to be out on my own, just feeding my baby the way that I’d hoped I’d be able to. The phrase ‘EBF’ is not something I take at all for granted, and again, I’m sure that I wouldn’t be here if not for the support and guidance that I’ve gotten from the amazing MILC IBCLCs.” – Sarah Stokes
“I’m very grateful for the support and care I got from Rebecca and Elley with my son Mason. Since I had had some difficulties with early latching and mastitis with my first baby, we scheduled an early (day 2) lactation visit for Mason. When I arrived, Rebecca immediately noticed that Mason’s color was off; she helped me me positioning and latch then called the midwives in to check on him. Sure enough, his bilirubin levels were super high and we needed a direct admit to UNC. Her acute observation, outside of strictly breastfeeding, got him into the hospital quickly. He was barely under the level at which he would have been put in the NICU for a blood transfusion. On the second day of our stay at UNC, Mason was improving, and I was desperate to get home. Elley came for an LC visit and really listened and validated my distress about being in the hospital and unable to care for my postpartum needs. She suggested we do a weighted feed, which Mason passed with flying colors, so she then helped advocate for me to be able to be discharged that day rather than staying another night. Both Elley and Rebecca’s help with breastfeeding was great, but it was their care and attention to me and Mason’s health as a whole which made an immense difference for us, and I’m extremely grateful.” –Sarah Marsh
“I was an emotional wreck in week 2 postpartum as the result of 1) being on my own for the first time after all guests left and 2) reading very unhelpful not breastfeeding-friendly resources in my panic. Rebecca reassured me and turned my panic completely around! Did the weigh-in before and after feeding and turned out my baby was getting everything she needed, told me to throw out those unhelpful resources, and gave me better things to read instead. Left visit so grateful and 180 degrees different than when I came in. Thank God! And thank you, Rebecca !!!!!!!!” – Nancy