This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Brittany Butler, CLC, WIC Peer Counselor-3 for the Mississippi Department of Health. Brittany was nominated for doing a great job supporting women with breastfeeding within and outside of WIC, and for meeting her personal breastfeeding goal of 2 years!
“My favorite part of my job is seeing a mom's face when she has successfully breastfed,” said Brittany. “I've had mothers who cry with happiness and some who grin ear to ear with excitement. I love helping them succeed and meet their goals.”
As a WIC Peer Counselor-3, Brittany covers Wayne, Jones and Greene counties, and her main role is to help women have a positive breastfeeding experience. She teaches clients about the benefits of breastfeeding, helps with breastfeeding issues, and offers support when needed. She also teaches a breastfeeding class once a month; issues breast pumps to mothers who have a baby in the NICU, issues with breastfeeding, or are returning to work; and attends community events to promote WIC. Brittany also finds herself promoting breastfeeding outside of work, with family and friends, and on Facebook.
Brittany shared her personal breastfeeding story with CHAMPS, one that will surely resonate with many others:
“I wasn't able to exclusively breastfeed my first child who is now 6 years old. We had to supplement from the start and I didn't have the support I needed. I did pump every day and gave him 2-4 ounces a day for 26 months. I was glad he got some breast milk. Then, I got a call one day asking if I would be interested in becoming a WIC Peer Counselor and I jumped at the chance. I wanted more women to have support and be successful with breastfeeding.
“When I got pregnant with my second child I knew things would be different. During that pregnancy, I attended a Certified Lactation Counseling training and received my certification. I delivered my daughter at Forrest General Hospital, the first hospital in Mississippi to become Baby-Friendly the month I delivered. I did skin-to-skin with her, and everyone was so supportive and caring.
“I told my husband I wanted to fully breastfeed no matter what until she was 2 years old. He gave me his complete support and told others about the benefits of breast milk. As her 2nd birthday approached she started self-weaning; she went from nursing 7-8 times a day to 4-5. I started to get nervous we wouldn't make it. Then she maintained that and her birthday came and WE MADE IT!
“I find it so rewarding to know I was responsible for her growth and for giving her the best thing I possibly could. My husband asked me on her 2nd birthday if I planned to continue to nurse her. ‘Of course!’ I told him. ‘I met my goal of 2 years now let's see what Kaylee's goal is and meet that.’ My favorite time of every day is nursing her. I love it when she looks at me and smiles or giggles while nursing. The connection we have is so special. This is something I will treasure for the rest of my life, and I’m sure she will too.”
Congratulations, Brittany! Your work and personal story are inspiring!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), 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).