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Finding Support Among Other Breastfeeding Moms: Jessica Gray

I am an odd combination of loving to try new things while hating the process of learning something new. I crave the feeling of success and knew going into it – motherhood would be a huge helping of humble pie.

Taking Birth & Family Classes at WakeMed

My husband and I signed up to take several birth & family classes through WakeMed during my pregnancy. We participated in Labor and Delivery, Bringing Home Baby, and Breastfeeding.  I was most anxious for this last class and had little expectations of myself breastfeeding successfully.

We were completely overwhelmed by the amount of information, but Sandy Arnold taught our class with this sense of reality and humor that I found comforting. She mentioned that WakeMed offered a variety of support for breastfeeding moms, including lactation consultants visiting you in postpartum and weekly support groups. I left the class telling my husband that I’ll try it, but I’m thankful there’s formula.

jennifer-gray-lyla-birthBuilding a Connection Through Breastfeeding

Fast forward to January – shortly after Lyla Kate was born, the nurses encouraged us to have her latch, and later that night a lactation consultant stopped by to assist with breastfeeding as well.

I was in shock that not only did I have a baby on the outside, but that my body was continuing to sustain her life through breastfeeding. I fell in love with this connection we had. I wanted to learn everything.

In our take home folder, there was a flyer advertising a breastfeeding support group and I remembered how much I enjoyed our teacher from the class we took and her mentioning she led the group.

The following week Lyla Kate and I attended our first support group meeting at WakeMed North.

Little did I know, this would be the single best decision I would make as a new mom.

1:1 Support for Breastfeeding

Sandy greeted us with a huge smile and just seeing other moms in the room was comforting to know that I wasn’t in this journey alone. We went around the room sharing highs and lows of the week followed by questions about not only breastfeeding, but anything baby related.  I was able to complete a weighted feeding to see how much milk was transferred when Lyla Kate breastfed.

Afterwards, Sandy provided one-on-one support and gave detailed explanations of each question I had.  After group that day, I felt empowered to know that my body was designed for this and that I’d be able to provide continued nourishment for my child.

Doing Motherhood Together

The WakeMed North group is the single most nonjudgmental group of people I have ever been a part of. We all want the same thing – to feed and care for our baby. Lyla Kate is now 4.5 months old, and going to group on Monday nights is part of our weekly routine. My questions have shifted from breastfeeding how-to’s, to building a freezer stash, to pumping at work and now preparing to begin solids.

Those moms are my tribe. We have celebrated the highs, worked through the lows, and watched our babies grow.

I can’t imagine how my motherhood journey would have been lacking without the support provided by Sandy Arnold and the other moms of the Wake Med North support group.

I truly am so very thankful for WakeMed North. The nurses and support staff there – particularly Cheryl, who helped me through an unmedicated birth, and Sandy – a breastfeeding angel – have been life changing for my little family of three.

About Jessica Gray

Jessica is a second grade teacher at Thales Academy-Knightdale and her husband, Kevin, is a project manager for South Atlantic Construction.  They welcomed Lyla Kate into the world on January 30 and are enjoying being first time parents.  As a family, they love traveling, being out on the lake, and Tennessee football.

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