No matter your rank or profession, being a first-time mom can be challenging. Lt. Hannah Steele is a US Navy pediatric nurse at the James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center located on Naval Station Great Lakes in Chicago, Illinois. She has worked with thousands of children and parents, but she needed help of her own when her baby boy was born in December 2017.
“At my first newborn appointment at the pediatric clinic, I told the nurse I was having issues getting my son, Jackson, to latch onto the breast to breastfeed,” Hannah recalled. The clinic connected Hannah with NMCRS visiting nurse April Pearson. “April came to our home, which was amazing,” Hannah said. “When you have a newborn, you have a hard time even showering or leaving the house. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to get everybody ready and make the 25-minute drive. I was blown away by April’s home visit, a service I didn’t know was available.”
April checked Jackson’s weight and reassured Hannah that he was doing well, then she worked with Hannah to resolve the breastfeeding issues.
“Hannah’s body was producing too much milk and her baby wasn’t latching on to feed which resulted in a lot of pain, mastitis, and abscesses,” explained April. “I explained and helped her resolve each of those issues, which took a couple months. I would talk with her a couple times a week.”
The problems that Hannah experienced while nursing would discourage any post-partum mom. “Honestly, I wanted to stop trying to breastfeed because I had such a rough time,” Hannah said. “But the breast surgeon I was referred to recommended not stopping because it would cause even more problems. I’m glad I didn’t. Breastfeeding was very hard in the beginning, but now my son is seven months old, still nursing, and very healthy.”
“Everybody needs to know about the Society’s visiting nurse services,” Hannah said. “April was awesome and I she really helped our family.”
By Betsy Rosenblatt Rosso