My name is Irasema Martinez and I have been a WIC breastfeeding peer counselor for 10 years.
I had my oldest son at a very young age, I wanted to nurse, but I was uncomfortable nursing in public or when we had visitors. So, I would pump, but I would only pump when he was ready to eat and starving. He would cry and I would cry because he was crying, and my milk wasn’t coming out fast enough. After a couple months of struggling, we gave up and formula fed.
Six years later I had my daughter, nursing started off great. Then I needed surgery, gallbladder removal. Again, I did not have the support or the information that I needed in order to have surgery and still be able to keep my milk supply. Feeling like a failure, we started to formula feed.
Six years after that I had my youngest son, I worked at WIC by this time and had received lots of breastfeeding education. Even though I worked at WIC and had the information I needed, I still needed support. I would call my coworkers because it hurt too much, all he did was cry, he wanted to nurse every 15 minutes, and the list grew bigger of why I wanted to stop. But I did not, in fact I nursed him until he was three years old, even with the remarks I would get from friends and family like he was “too old” to nurse. Why did I not stop? Because I had the support and encouragement that I needed.
Now it is my turn to give that encouragement and support. I want our clients to understand that I am here to help, that it is ok to have issues and there is nothing wrong with her if she asks for help. I will support them in any way that I can, even if they call me every day; that I will give them all the information that they need so they can make the correct decision for their family.