A Personal Story by Carolyn De Paula, Certified Lactation Counselor and Breastfeeding Peer Counselow for WIC


Whether you take care of your health or not, it’s a personal decision which leaks into the public health narrative. Similarly, breastfeeding is a personal decision at the individual level with public health implications. 

I would like to briefly share my own personal journey with breastfeeding. My first child took to breastfeeding as fish to water – he was breastfeeding as soon as he was born and barring my initial inexperience in holding and caring for babies, it was easy. As a twenty-something mom, I didn’t have the confidence in my ability or the way the breastfeeding system works (supply and demand) had it not been for my unwavering, confident, and nurturing support of my midwife, doula, and last but not least, my husband, who encouraged me every step of the way.  

It was also instrumental seeing other moms breastfeeding. I joined a La Leche League group and met other moms like me, and others not like me.  I learned from all of them, and I was told some learned from me.  

My second child was born in the presence of a doula who is a friend of mine as well, and she supported me through a few minor snags as my middle child didn’t grasp breastfeeding as well as the first, and needed a little bit of encouragement and practice as well as some growing to do. After two weeks, it’s like the initial discomfort and tenderness never happened – she was also to become a very good nurser. With my third and last child it was much easier, as I already knew how to troubleshoot, check for a good latch, and had been living firsthand the innumerable emotional, psychological, physical, and intellectual benefits of breastfeeding, having breastfed my older two children exclusively. 

I attach an old photo of my daughter and me. She is turning fifteen next week, I can scarcely believe it. Does she remember breastfeeding? No, none of them do, but just like her siblings, she remembers the hugs and the closeness.

To this day, I can say with certainty the best thing I have ever done is breastfeed my three children exclusively. The bond is inextricable, their health, vitality, and confidence undeniable, and I treasure those beautiful memories always.

As I reflect on the past four years of my position at WIC, I thank Hannah for affording me the opportunity to help moms discover their own journey in breastfeeding. It has been a privilege.  

Free breastfeeding resources and counseling are available in Key West, Marathon, and Tavernier.  Please call the DOH-Monroe at: 305-293-7500.

Photo credit: Kristin Jayd. Pictured is Carolyn De Paula and her daughter.

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