Need help with breastfeeding? Or just want to talk to someone who’s been there? Since last summer, Porter Women’s Health in Middlebury has been offering weekly drop-in breastfeeding support — every Monday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No appointment necessary. And it’s free.
We reached out to Angela Scavo, the WIC breastfeeding peer counselor you’ll meet if you drop in at Porter on a Monday morning.
Tell us a little about your family!
I have two kiddos. Sebastian is 6 and Oakley is almost 2.
Why did you want to become a breastfeeding peer counselor?
I knew I wanted to breastfeed but had no idea it could be so hard. After a very traumatic delivery with Seb, I got off to a bad start. Mastitis by day four postpartum, then thrush, then mastitis again, which led to hospitalization. I managed to make it through because people kept helping me, even when I thought I was failing. I vowed to return the favor, so to speak, and became a breastfeeding peer counselor as soon as I could.
When did you start offering these breastfeeding support drop-in hours at Porter?
It started last summer and I hope it will continue to grow.
What are some of the common breastfeeding concerns you help women with?
My whole objective in providing support is to help mamas find what works for them. A lot of the moms I see have to go back to work early, so they have questions about pumping and bottle feedings. I’ve helped some mamas become familiar with the laws so they know what to ask for — and expect to receive — when going back to work. I also just provide an ear. Sometimes mamas just need to hear they are doing all they can.
I also talk a lot about the basics. How does breastfeeding work? How does it NOT work? Fact vs fiction sort of thing. Like “no, you don’t have to poke holes in your nipples for milk to come out.”
Tell us a bit more about your own breastfeeding experience. What have been the biggest challenges? Anything you wish you’d known when you were a new breastfeeding mom?
You’d think I would’ve been prepared for Oakley. And I was, but it was a different experience. He had a NICU stay that required around-the-clock pumping and bottle feeding (sometimes with donor milk). But at least I knew resources the second time around. And I knew it could be done.
We live in a community that has more support for breastfeeding than some. And I just want to keep that momentum going. So when WIC suggested a pairing with Porter Women’s Health, it seemed perfect.