Patience and Encouragement Lead to Successful Nursing Experience
September 28, 2017
Huron, S.D. – Even before their firstborn arrived, Elizabeth and Chris Opfer knew they wanted to give their child a healthy start through breastfeeding.
“During prenatal classes at Huron Regional Medical Center, our instructor Teri Weidner-Eichstadt affirmed our choice and helped us to make a plan to breastfeed once our son was born,” explained Opfer.
Barrett came into the world at 4:17 a.m. on May 26 and was a healthy, happy baby boy. However, during his first few feedings, he was having difficulty latching on. “I remember being so frustrated because I knew this was the most natural thing I could do, yet it just wasn’t working,” explained Opfer.
Weidner-Eichstadt, who achieved her accreditation as an International Board certified lactation counselor (IBCLC) in July of this year, was Opfer’s nurse in the hospital. “Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, but it does not always come naturally because for the last few decades it hasn’t been witnessed in the family system as often as in previous generations,” said Weidner-Eichstadt.
“Teri was very patient with me and Barrett and helped to explain what was happening as we learned how to work with each other,” said Opfer.
After the Opfers went home, Elizabeth and Barrett returned for additional outpatient breastfeeding assistance during that first three to four weeks. “Teri definitely encouraged me and made me feel like I had someone on my side telling me to just keep trying,” said Opfner. “We don’t have family here – so she was really a close support person.”
HRMC has long supported delivering mothers’ choices when it comes to breastmilk or formula feeding and has offered certified lactation support since 2014. HRMC nursing staff offer bedside assistance with feeding and positioning and can also answer questions about nutrition and newborn feeding.
To earn the IBCLC certification, Weidner-Eichstadt provided a minimum of 1,000 hours of clinical practice in lactation and breastfeeding care in addition to 90 hours of education in human lactation and breastfeeding in addition to passing a rigorous written exam. She is one of only 34 IBCLCs in South Dakota.
“Continuing my education to achieve International Board accreditation was very important to me because I knew there was a need in this area for lactation assistance,” explained Weidner-Eichstadt, who earned CLC in 2016. “The International certification process follows the World Health Organization standards, which are more forward thinking and focus on a mother’s desires, needs and right to choose breastfeeding.”
“Teri not only helped me and my baby to learn how to latch, she also explained how the actual nursing process protects Barrett by providing good bacteria from my skin as he feeds,” said Opfer. "She also explained nursing babies are able to increase milk production as they are able to get milk out of the breast better than a breast pump."
If you would like to know more about the benefits of breastfeeding or would like a presentation to your group about the topic, call the maternity unit at 605-353-6514 or visit www.huronregional.org.
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