Breastfeeding moms connect

Diane Crocker
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Program aimed at sharing information, successes and challenges

CORNER BROOK — When Kayla Stawarski’s daughter was born, the new mom was adamant that she would breastfeed her.

But Ivy Stawarski-Jesso, who is now four months old, had trouble latching on.

“I didn’t think she was going to be able to breastfeed period,” said Stawarski while attending the Bay of Island’s Organization for Breastfeeding Support’s (BOOBS) first ever breastfeeding support group meeting at the community health office on O’Connell Drive Thursday.

Stawarski said after having a caesarean section Ivy needed to be fed and so she received her first bottle of formula from her dad.

But the Hughes Brook mom wasn’t ready to give up and was eventually able to help Ivy latch by using a nipple shield.

“And when the nurse offered me that I was like ‘yes, my doorway into nursing.’ I was so excited.” Stawarski could have easily given up, but a family history of breastfeeding and seeing positive results kept her going.

“My mom breastfed me, and her mom breastfed her and so on and so forth, and everyone’s been super, super healthy,” she said.

“I just find it’s the one connection you can have with your child.”

It’s because of the trouble she had and questions that still come up that Stawarski was looking to connect with other breastfeeding mothers.   

“Definitely information,” she said was what she hoped to gain from participating in the group. “Having information from someone else is very, very helpful.

“That maybe if someone was going through what I went through, or what I am going through, then maybe they could give me some tips to deal with it better.”

She said knowing that she is not alone definitely helps.

Stawarski was among six breastfeeding moms to attend the meeting.

Erin Smallwood of the Bay of Island’s Organization for Breastfeeding Support said the turnout was great given the weather.

Smallwood, who is also a family physician, facilitated the first meeting.

She said the aim of the group is that it be driven by the participants. It’s up to them to decide how they want it to run and what they want to talk about, be it a specific topic or just general discussion.

The discussion Thursday focused on early experiences, challenges and successes.

“Just knowing what’s normal,” said Smallwood is what most moms are concerned about.

She said even if you have challenges, if you persevere it will get better.

“And hearing that from a fellow breastfeeding mom who has gone through that themselves, I think, is better than any sort of even health professional advice you can get.”

Smallwood said moms who’s have successful experiences say their biggest support didn’t come from health professionals.

“It came from somebody else like them who they could speak to on the same level, who they could chat with, troubleshoot, or just vent to,” Smallwood said.

It was finding other moms to connect with that drew Massey Drive mom Rebecca Milley and three-and-a-half-month-old Theodore Milley to the group.

Milley has been networking with other moms via the Newfoundland Breastfeeding group on Facebook, but most those women are based out of St. John’s.

“That’s great for getting lots of help when you have a little question, but I wanted to kind of to meet new people locally who have babies and are breastfeeding,” Milley said.

For her breastfeeding has gone good from the start.

The group will meet every Thursday from 1:30 to 3 p.m. upstairs in the community health building. A member of the committee and a public health nurse will be present at alternate meetings.

The meetings are open to all breastfeeding families — moms, babies and dads — in the area and visitors to the area are also welcome.

Organizations: Organization for Breastfeeding Support

Geographic location: Iceland

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