Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Mercédez Cahue
Posted March 31, 2016 by Mercédez Cahue
|Mercedez Cahue has a passion for breastfeeding and helping others to meet their breastfeeding goals. That is why she joined the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a parent partner.
Mercédez Cahue shares her breastfeeding experience and why she joined the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a parent partner.
After 8 years of marriage, I was pregnant! My dream was about to come true.
To prepare, I attended prenatal classes at our hospital and heard about long-term benefits of breastfeeding for both babies and mothers. On our way home from class I told my husband that my decision was made. I was determined to breastfeed our baby girl.
My mom never breastfed any of her four children. She wanted to, but didn’t know how to and had just arrived to this country, had no family members here and was afraid to seek public help. I was not. I attend a breastfeeding class twice, once in English and once in Spanish. I also attended a breastfeeding class conducted by the McAllen Lactation Center on breastfeeding and asked for a one-on-one session with the lactation consultant on how to use my breast pump. I wanted to make sure I was equipped with all the information necessary to be successful in my breastfeeding process. I was afraid of the unknown, but determined to breastfeed my baby.
I had a birth plan and took it to the hospital nurses prior to delivering. I specifically requested no pacifiers and mentioned that I wanted to breastfeed immediately right after birth. On July 3, 2015 my baby, Catalina, was born. Within less than an hour of birth, I was breastfeeding. The nursing staff at The Women's Corner at Edinburg Regional Medical Center were outstanding in meeting my needs. My baby was with me at all times during my stay at the hospital.
A Rocky Transition to Pumping
Six weeks after delivery I had to go back to work. I honestly felt very guilty for leaving my baby behind at home, but breastfeeding helped me cope, knowing I was providing her with the food she needed.
It was a challenge to pump at work. My supervisor did not want to provide me with time to pump and I had to go to human resources. Thanks to a new state law, which requires Texas public employers to provide time and space for breastfeeding moms to pump milk while at work, I am able to pump at work and continue breastfeeding my baby. Each month is a milestone for me and an accomplishment. The journey hasn’t been easy, but today I can say that I have been successful at breastfeeding my baby girl for the past 8 months.
Having a Support System
|"Having the moms involved in this interdisciplinary team is critical for earning Texas' Ten Step achievement," says Mercedez Cahue.
A support system is extremely important for a breastfeeding mom. I wouldn't have been able to do this without my husband's moral support. He has been by my side since day one giving me that strength when needed. My mom and dad are constantly commending me for breastfeeding my baby and it has really helped. Both my husband and my parents are undeniably my greatest supporters.
It is evident that I have a passion for breastfeeding. That is why I joined the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative
as a parent partner. I love being able to assist someone interested in breastfeeding and offer advice and help. Being part of the improvement team at The Women's Corner at Edinburg Regional Medical Center has enabled me to meet other breastfeeding moms and provide them support.
Now that many Texas hospitals are improving their maternity care practices and some aiming to become Baby-Friendly
, I see how the hospitals are involving the parent partners and listening to their delivery experience in order to improve the quality of the delivery stay and mother’s experience with skin-to-skin contact (one of the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
identified by Baby-Friendly USA).
Having the moms involved in this interdisciplinary team is critical for earning Texas’ Ten Step
achievement. As a parent partner I reach to other parent moms and listen to their stories as they get involved with their local hospitals. Moms share how breastfeeding continues to provide closeness, warmth and bonding months after delivery. Moms are knowledgeable because they experience the benefits as well as difficulties in the lactation process—they truly are the primary source of input for healthcare professionals.
If all hospitals can become Baby-Friendly we will have healthier babies and provide optimal nutrition while promoting breastfeeding. How cool is that!
Intrigued? Learn more about NICHQ's breastfeeding initiatives, the value of parent partners and read other "Why I Participate" stories.