Congratulations to Briana Williams on the birth of her second daughter, Scarlett, and on her perseverance in pumping and breastfeeding despite a difficult birth and hospital experience! Despite early problems, Briana overcame all odds to feed Scarlett exclusive breast milk. Briana and her husband, Byron, have been guest speakers at our Mississippi CHAMPS conferences, and Byron was CHEER Champion of the Week for his wonderful participation on the popular “Dads of Breastfed Babies” panel at our September 2017 Mississippi CHAMPS conference.
“I was planning on having a natural birth. I had my birth plan. She came early at 34 weeks,” Briana shared with CHAMPS. “For two days I was having pain and diarrhea, but didn’t think anything was wrong. I went to the hospital and was having contractions.”
Quickly after arriving to the hospital, Briana was told she would need an emergency C-section. It turns out she had had a placental abruption, a very serious condition where the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before birth. It can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients, and cause severe pain and vaginal bleeding for the mother. Unfortunately, after the cesarean, Briana, Byron, and Scarlett experienced a long period of separation. Byron was only allowed to see his daughter through the nursery window, and Briana did not hold her baby until she was 3 days old. Sadly, this experience was similar to their first daughter, Violet’s, birth—a C-section followed by a long separation from baby.
“I didn’t like it at all. I was really upset and really wanted her to come home,” Briana said.
After 3 days, the nurses finally brought the baby into Briana’s room every 3 or 4 hours just for her feeding time. Briana always tried to get her to latch, but she did not latch in the hospital. So Briana pumped and fed the baby her milk in a bottle.
Chelesa Presley, CLC, Lactation Consultant for Tougaloo College/Delta Healthpartners Healthy Start, had been Briana’s breastfeeding lifeline after Violet’s birth. Briana phoned Chelesa before going to the hospital for Scarlett’s birth, and Chelesa visited her there to help with pumping and feeding.
When Briana and Scarlett first came home from the hospital, Scarlett started to latch on and feed at the breast. Chelesa helped Briana with the transition from pumping to breastfeeding, and for a while, Briana pumped to give her daughter a full supply of milk. Mother and baby have been home for about 4 months now, and Briana reports that she is no longer pumping and that breastfeeding is “going great.” Violet, almost 3, is doing well and is good with her baby sister. Once again, the family has a fresh start.
CHAMPS endorses and supports hospitals to follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, which are the pillars of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. One requirement is that infants room-in with their parents. Following the Ten Steps helps to guard against the kind of separation this family sadly experienced with the birth of both their children.
Best wishes, Briana! CHAMPS applauds your determination to breastfeed despite the challenges you faced!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).