Online Originals: National Breastfeeding Month


August is National Breastfeeding Month. It’s a month to celebrate, protect and normalize breastfeeding.

9 On Your Side spoke with a local mom, Alyssa Ballestero, to learn about her journey and success with breastfeeding.

Alyssa’s baby, Beckham, was born in February 2019 at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville. He’s 5 months old.

Before leaving the hospital, Alyssa and Beckham met with a lactation specialist to learn about breastfeeding and to make sure the process and transition home would be smooth. Since then, Alyssa continues to see a specialist once a month.

Since the beginning, the young mom knew she wanted to try breastfeeding.

“It was a nerve-wracking thing at first,” said Ballestero. “But it was something that while I was pregnant I always wanted to do…I wanted to try.”

Breastfeeding has several health benefits for both mom and baby.

“There’s less incidents of ear infections, juvenile diabetes,” said Donna Brooks, a lactation specialist at Vidant. “The list goes on and on for babies. There’s higher IQ.”

In mothers, breastfeeding decreases the chance of breast and ovarian cancers and burns calories.

Alyssa says meeting with a lactation consultant is the reason for her success.

“I can support them right where they’re at with whether they have questions about breastfeeding or are unsure whether they want to breastfeed,” said Brooks.

Alyssa continues to meet with a consultant once a month.

“First time anxious mom. I want to make sure he’s getting everything he needs,” said Ballestero.

She wants other new moms to know there are resources available.

“There’s a community of women here that want to support you and support your baby and answer your questions and make it as painless as possible,” said Ballestero. “It takes work and it’s not something that just happens.”

She says the bond makes the tough times worth it.

“I just can’t imagine not doing it,” said Ballestero. “I come home and it’s just me and him and it’s awesome.”

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