When Sarah Davis’ daughter Adelaide was born three months early – at 26 weeks – breastfeeding was initially the furthest thing from her mind. With a background in maternal and child health, her plan had certainly been to breastfeed her baby, but the stress associated with the days leading up to her exceptionally early birth, and then the birth itself, left Sarah in shock.
But she remembers being brought to her hospital room after giving birth and seeing a breast pump in the corner – something she would soon come to call her “new best friend”. There wasn’t much Sarah felt she could do for Adelaide at this point, but she COULD pump. So she pumped – eight times a day, initially, to help her milk come up. Although she wasn’t producing much milk at first, Sarah remembers something a Cone Health lactation consultant told her when her daughter was about three days old that completely expanded her mindset: “What you do now will make such a difference to her in six to eight weeks.”
Sarah and Adelaide
“I was thinking in 30-minute chunks at that point, but I was like, ‘I hear you guys saying this can help him.'” recalls Greensboro resident Sarah. “I couldn’t do much for her at the time, but I could pump, so I focused on it and pumped all the time. And it worked! My milk came in and I was able to produce enough.
Sarah says Cone Health’s lactation consultants – along with the constant support and encouragement from her partner, Ellen – are absolutely the reason her breastfeeding journey has been a success.
“Cone’s team is amazing,” she said. “I went through the list of breastfeeding ailments in the first month – engorgement, yeast infection, clogged ducts, etc. – and there was always someone I could ask. I remember Caroline Smith [RN, IBCLC] saying, ‘You’re going to do this. I know you can do it!’ It encouraged me a lot. »
Adelaide was in the NICU for 105 days, but Sarah says the support from Cone Health’s team of lactation consultants has been just as strong since her daughter left hospital. MaryAnn Joseph, BSN, RN, IBCLC, an outpatient lactation consultant, helped them navigate a tongue tie situation, and Sarah says she regularly contacts MaryAnn to ask her questions.
“Just when I think I’ve figured out this breastfeeding issue, something changes,” Sarah said. Fortunately, she says, they see MaryAnn as part of Adelaide’s frequent weight checks, so the family receives constant support from MaryAnn.
Now, eight months later, Adelaide has been exclusively breastfed since she was just two weeks old in the NICU.
“It makes me really happy to know that I can do this for her, and at the same time I feel like I’ve been given a gift, because I couldn’t have done this for Adelaide without the support I ‘ve been given by Cone,” Sarah said.