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Breastfeeding: Donor program in Austin, Texas (DEBM)

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The benefits of breastfeeding

During my pregnancy with Charlie, like all moms I had to make many choices. Co-sleeping or crib? Baby wearing or stroller? Breastfeeding or formula? I must admit that having grown up in France where it’s against the trend, breastfeeding wasn’t my first choice. Breastfeeding isn’t given much importance there. But after learning more about the benefits of breastfeeding here in the U.S., I changed my mind. I decided that I would try my hardest to breastfeed my children.

When Charlie was born, everything about caring for a newborn was new to me. I was overwhelmed. Right after his birth, when I tried to feed Charlie, he wouldn’t latch. After a few hours with no success, I started worrying that breastfeeding wasn’t going to work for us. Thankfully, I had a great support system at the hospital. The lactation consultant had a few tricks up her sleeves and suggested a nipple shield, which allowed Charlie to finally nurse. Sadly, after two months, Charlie quit nursing cold turkey. I was heartbroken, feeling like a failure, but I continued to pump breastmilk for another ten months, feeding him through a bottle. It was tiring and not as rewarding, but we made it to almost a year old this way.

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting support from the right professional at the beginning of your breastfeeding journey. Choose a hospital like Seton Medical Center Austin that will support you every step of the way. And if you can’t breastfeed on your own, they now have an awesome program that provides your baby with breastmilk from a donor.

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Donor expressed breastmilk (DEBM) program

Breastfeeding can be hard, and it’s possible that no matter how hard you try, you won’t be able to nurse your child. And it’s not your fault. But your child doesn’t have to go without breast milk and all that it offers them. With Ascension Seton’s donor expressed breast milk (DEBM) program, donor milk from the local non-profit milk bank is kept in-stock at the NICU at Seton Medical Center Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center. Other Seton sites are considering initiating the program as well.

My breastfeeding journey with Jude was a lot smoother than with Charlie. In fact it was so much easier that I pumped breastmilk to donate to a family whose baby wasn’t able to breastfeed because the mother’s milk supply was too low. I knew from my experience with Charlie that this is hard on parents who want to breastfeed their babies and I was happy to have been able to donate breast milk.

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Daily support for mothers trying to breastfeed

I’m glad there are programs like DEBM that exist to help mothers and their babies during this exciting and often stressful time of their life. Expressed breast milk should be the first choice for supplementary feeding so it’s great that programs like DEBM make this possible for mothers.

The ultimate goal of the DEBM is for moms to be able to move away from supplementing and provide for their babies themselves. While enrolled in the program,  the mother’s care team meets daily to ensure that the family has all supplies needed. The lactation team also meets with the mother daily to help with direct breastfeeding, possibly supplementation at breast, and pumping.

Having a great support system really makes a world of a difference during these times. Thanks again to Seton Medical Center Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center.

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