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Mothers tell how breastfeeding helped them

By Tenika Reddick

Breastfeeding peer counselor

I work for the Rowan County WIC Program as the breastfeeding peer counselor. For three years, I have been fortunate enough to counsel, encourage and provide information to help breastfeeding women succeed.

I love counseling and encouraging breastfeeding women because I not only lift their spirits, I lift mine as well. Through the years, I have promoted World Breastfeeding Week, the first week of August. This year’s theme is “Sustaining Breastfeeding Together.”

Three moms wanted to share their stories so they could inspire the next breastfeeding mom.

“All during my pregnancy, I was unsure about a lot of things,” she said. “However, there were two things that I was sure about. First, I had to trust God, and second, I had to trust my body to breastfeed.

“In May 2017, my last WIC appointment before delivery, the sweet WIC lady shared a little wisdom with me, which was exactly what I needed to hear. She shared her experiences and details about breastfeeding. She introduced me to the WIC breastfeeding peer counseling program, and I thank God for her. The WIC breastfeeding program provided me with helpful information.

“An amazing woman helped me with the difficulties, pain and engorgement within the first days of me being home from the hospital. I want to thank them for going above and beyond to help make my breastfeeding journey a success.

“You would think that breastfeeding is easy until you get the chance to experience it. I thought I just had to stick the breast in his mouth, but, boy, was I wrong. It’s a lot more than that, and if it weren’t for the help from the WIC [breastfeeding program], I would have given up. I had someone to talk me through and better yet, even came to my house to show me through it. So I say thank you to Tenika Reddick for being placed into the WIC breastfeeding program. Keep up with the great work you are doing with the new mothers and to whomever is breastfeeding, because I know you all are making a difference.”

Here is another mom’s story:

“My son is almost 4 months old now, and he weighs over 14 pounds. He’s my youngest of three and the only one I have been able to breastfeed,” she said. “He weighed 8 pounds 2.7 ounces at birth and within the first week, he lost 10 ounces. I was upset and thought I was going to have to switch to formula.

“I was given Tenika Reddick’s contact information by WIC. Before I delivered, she came out to my house and gave me ‘getting started’ tips and told me if I ever needed advice or encouragement, contact her. While my baby was losing weight, I felt like giving up breastfeeding. I contacted Tenika and she was there every time for an encouraging word.

“Tenika came and did another visit after my baby starting losing weight. She worked around his feeding schedule because I was worried about his latch. She checked the position I was holding him in and informed me how important these things were. Through all the hard work and help, it has been the most rewarding experience and I have an unbreakable bond with my son. Without the help of Miss Reddick, I don’t know if I could have kept breastfeeding.”

And another mother’s story:

“Breastfeeding has always been a desire of mine,” she said. “Not knowing anything about breastfeeding, other than from the internet and word of mouth, I thought I was as prepared as possible. After giving birth, I soon realized it wasn’t nearly as manageable as I expected.

“With not having a big family or anyone in my family that had breastfed, I lacked that support. Meeting Miss Tenika has been amazing. I don’t think I would have continued with breastfeeding my son if I didn’t have her in my corner. From late nights to early mornings, Miss Tenika has made herself available any time of the day to help me with any questions, and even times of encouragement/prayers. She has been my biggest cheerleader.

“Walking me through [the process] and understanding what it’s like to want to give up and quit, she comforted me and helped me continue with the necessary resources and programs. I have truly gained a close friend.”

I can say in closing that I’m so honored to be a part of each individual’s life. Being a part of the WIC breastfeeding peer counselor program and being able to work with breastfeeding moms has changed my life. For those who are having problems with breastfeeding, please try to find a support system so you can “Sustain Breastfeeding Together.”

If you are interested in the Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Program, contact the Rowan County WIC Program at 704-216-8777, option 4. The program is based at the Rowan County Health Dept., 1811 E. Innes St.


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