Hello! It’s Mel from New Life Doula Services. Because it’s International Breastfeeding Week (August 1 – 7 every year), I wanted to take some time and talk with one of our very own Wenatchee Mom Bloggers and an amazing breastfeeding advocate, networker and collaborator: Carrie Bews.
If you’ve ever attended a mother and baby support group at the Wenatchee Library on a Monday, then you know just how caring, supportive, sweet and knowledgeable Carrie is. She is a huge asset to our community. I always learn something new when I talk with Carrie and always come away uplifted and encouraged. I hope you enjoy this interview.
Mel: First of all tell us a little about your role and where you work.
Carrie: I am an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant). I am the Lactation Department Coordinator/manager at Confluence Health. We have 5 IBCLC’s now at Central Washington Hospital, and 1 in the OB-GYN clinic as well. We have one consultant on shift every day, even on the weekends and holidays. We are available by phone or in person for mothers to come in for feeding assessments and consultations. We get calls from people from Wenatchee and East Wenatchee, of course, but also Ephrata, Quincy, Moses Lake, Cashmere, Leavenworth, Plain, and up farther North — all over, we have a wide reach.
My role was also created to bridge the gap into the community and increase awareness and breastfeeding support. This includes running the Mother and Baby Support group at the library, being a member of the Breastfeeding Coalition and organizing the donor breast milk program we have now at Confluence Health.
Mel: What is the phone number so people can get lactation support?
Carrie: Here at Confluence it’s (509) 433-3331 and it’s open to any mother with breastfeeding questions regardless if you birthed at the hospital. Someone is not always at the phone to answer the call in person, but leave a message and we will be sure to call you back! We check messages many times throughout the day, and want to be sure that you get some good help and information about your breastfeeding concern.
Mel: I know that WIC also offers breastfeeding support. Do you know a little about that?
Carrie: Yes! I love the options for breastfeeding support here in the Valley and we are happy to collaborate with them all. WIC offers direct breastfeeding support from their breastfeeding peer counselor, Alma Sanchez, who can give 1:1 help to mothers and answer their breastfeeding questions. WIC also gives great breastfeeding education, especially prenatally, in both English and Spanish. Their number is (509) 664-3771.
Confluence also offers a free 2-hour breastfeeding class once a month at the hospital. It’s called “Successful Breastfeeding” and covers the basics of breastfeeding and teaches about some common problems (and how to prevent them!)You can come with a partner or even on your own. You can call (509) 433-3002 to get added to the class list for the month you’re interested in attending.
Mel: These are great resources! So tell me why you are so passionate about what you do.
Carrie: This is my 20th year working with moms and babies. Working in Labor and Delivery, postpartum and breastfeeding support is my passion, joy and calling. It’s the reason I went to nursing school. My passion is about supporting women and helping mothers. It takes a lot of work and time as a new mom and you need lots of support. I was the cheer-leading captain for my high school and I still see that as my role now — cheering the mothers on!
I have a quote on my wall in my office that says: “When a mother is mothered, she can live her life and succeed in her role”. I want to be that voice of encouragement. When I was a brand new mom, I was a part of a mother and baby group and it was a very significant thing in my life. To this day I still know some of those mothers, and now we all have 18-year-olds! I’m very happy to provide that support group for mothers in the Valley.
Mel: Lastly I know the Milk Bank project has been dear to your heart. Do you want to say a little about that?
Carrie: I’ve been working on this project for 3 years to get human milk for human babies. Initially we were a “Milk Drop” location and we send the milk to Northwest Mothers Milk Bank in Portland. And as of April of this year, parents at Confluence now have the option of using donor milk for their babies if they are in need! If you want to know more about donating milk, visit www.donatemilk.org