Why I Participate: By Parent Chair Trang Neimetz

Trang Neimetz, a mother of two, shares the story of what led her to join the Texas Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a Parent Chair in order to help improve breastfeeding rates in Texas.

May 30, 2013

Trang Neimetz
Trang Neimetz and her family.
After I got married, we were blessed with two little children, Aaron and Christine. Aaron is 4 years old and Christine is 13 months old.

I knew right away that I would want to breastfeed Aaron. I was a breastfed baby; my mother breastfed me for five years. It’s something everyone does in my country of origin, Vietnam. However, I didn’t know what to do exactly, since this was my first time being a mother and I didn’t have anyone in our family with me but my husband.

The breastfeeding experience with Aaron was quite rough at the beginning. I had a C-section delivery and immediately after giving birth, we were separated. After a few hours, the hospital staff brought Aaron to my room for a while then they took him back to nursery. I hadn’t had a chance to breastfeed him or even be close to my baby on the first day. The second day got worse. I got instructions from the nurse, who took care of Aaron, how to feed Aaron with the bottle of formula and when to feed him. My hormones were terrible. I still remember when I walked down to the nursery and looked at Aaron inside, I cried and cried so much like someone was cutting my heart. Perhaps if we weren’t separated, I wouldn’t have felt depressed. The third day got better. My friend, who was a breastfeeding counselor, and another woman, who was a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) breastfeeding counselor, came to visit my room. They talked to me about breastfeeding and helped me to get Aaron to latch. It felt weird and a little hard for I had a lot of pain from my surgery and from the latch because Aaron had gotten used to the bottle and pacifier. I came home and continued to try breastfeeding Aaron day by day. I had breastfed exclusively for the first six months, then mostly for almost a year.

Two years later I had an opportunity to work for WIC. Being a breastfeeding counselor, I have acknowledged how important human milk is and learned how to get breastfeeding off to a good start. I have the privilege to serve all the mothers in our community as well as mothers who speak only Vietnamese. I feel fulfilled as I’m able to transfer my knowledge and my heart to these moms I serve.

When I got pregnant with Christine I had a second C-section but the experience was extremely different. Christine and I were together all the time. I had the experience of skin-to-skin contact with Christine during the hospital stay. I was able to breastfeed her right as her very first food on this earth. I felt awesome as a mother because I was able to be there for her anytime for anything. Beside exclusively breastfeeding Christine, I had practiced my hand expression frequently. I had three ways to express, which are with my daughter Christine, my hands and my breast pump. I realized that I didn’t cry like before and that I was actually happier than ever. The big difference between Christine’s and Aaron’s births was that I had talked to all the nurses before the delivery to tell them I wanted to do—skin-to-skin contact with my baby right after giving birth, rooming in with no separation, and no bottles or pacifiers given to Christine. As a result, I have been exclusively breastfeeding for 13 months!

I give thanks to the support of my husband especially. Without him, I don’t think I could have completely made it. That’s why I think mothers really need a lot of support from their partner, their family, their friends and the communities that serve them to make breastfeeding happen.

I wanted to help other families have the same positive experience I had with Christine. I am participating in NICHQ’s Texas Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative with a hope that I can provide a mother’s voice to the team as well as improve the breastfeeding rate in our community. Through the collaborative, parents and healthcare practitioners are working together to find the best ways to improve breastfeeding support for families. I believe that every mom deserves to have the experience of breastfeeding like I had with Christine. Same with Christine, all babies deserve to be with their mothers and to be nursed with their mothers’ precious milk. With this support, I believe babies will grow stronger and healthier; mothers will be happier, healthier and more confident; and the family will have less stress, live healthier and be full of love.