Kayla Phillips’ baby, Lakelyn, was three weeks early.
“As a first-time mom, I had no idea what I was doing,” Phillips said.
While she was learning how to care for her new baby, she also struggled with breastfeeding.
“When she was 2 weeks old, we were having problems with my milk supply,” Phillips said. “I couldn’t figure out how to latch, and I was exclusively pumping.”
She was also having to use formula as a supplement to make sure Lakelyn was getting enough nutrients.
“I was a wreck,” Phillips said. “I was mad at myself because my body wasn’t doing what it was made to do, and I felt like I was failing this perfect little baby.”
Frustrated, Phillips went to Table for Two, a breastfeeding support group where moms can discuss tips and concerns and celebrate victories. Table for Two is one of several programs offered by Spartanburg Regional to help moms learn the benefits of feeding their babies breast milk. These include breastfeeding classes and an outpatient lactation clinic.
“Everyone's breastfeeding experience is different,” said Hope Garcia, RN, BSN, director of women and children’s services for Spartanburg Regional. “We work with moms, because breastfeeding has many benefits for mom and baby.”
Benefits of breastfeeding include:
- Boosting a baby's immune system
- Enhancing a baby’s brain development
- Reducing the risk of childhood obesity, diabetes and sudden unexpected infant death (SUID)
- A reduced risk for some cancers and diseases for moms
- Helping moms lose pregnancy weight
- Hormones helping mom feel calm and connected with their baby
As a Baby-Friendly hospital, Spartanburg Medical Center works to create a supportive environment to help moms be successful with breastfeeding. After a baby is born, a lactation consultant works with moms before they are discharged from the hospital.
“Breast milk is the gold standard in infant nutrition,” said Staci Gallman, RN, BSN, program manager for women and children’s services. “Table for Two helps give moms the confidence they need in their breastfeeding journey. It’s a safe, judgement-free area where they can ask questions and get suggestions.”
When Phillips went to Table for Two, she was greeted by women who became part of her breastfeeding and motherhood journey.
“With the help from the ladies at Table for Two, my daughter was latching like a pro, and I finally felt like an accomplished mother,” she said. “I realized I was not the only mama who was suffering. I was able to realize quickly that I was suffering from anxiety and postpartum depression. We all had battles we were facing — whether it be milk supply, raw nipples or husband problems.”
Phillips credits Table for Two for helping her be the best mom she can be.
“It’s cliché to say, but Table for Two was my saving grace,” Phillips said. “If I could go back and tell myself one thing, it is that it’s OK to ask for help and you are a good mom.”
Are you expecting? Learn more about how delivering at a Baby-Friendly hospital is the best start for your baby.
The Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Women’s Services Fund supports community outreach programs, including Table for Two, along with staff education and equipment upgrades in the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System Women’s Services department. Donate here to help moms in our community.