One local lactation consultant is doing what she can to increase breastfeeding rates and provide support to moms in rural communities.
Libbie Stroud is a nurse and lactation consultant. After having her second child, she had some difficulties breastfeeding her daughter but attributes her success to attending support groups. "So, when I had similar struggles with her, I was able to get through them because I had that extra education and also extra support that I didn't know what available," said Stroud.
Now, she's trying to help other moms who are in similar situations. Stroud created Nurture Love Grow which offers support to moms in 7 different counties. Those counties in the Big Bend are all at or below the average breastfeeding initiation rate for the state. In the last year, Wakulla county's rate has dropped more than 6%.
In an effort to increase these numbers, Stroud is starting a breastfeeding support group in Wakulla to give local moms the support they need in their own community. "By bringing services closer to them, I'm hopeful that we can maybe get that to increase whenever they do those reports again in the coming years," said Stroud.
Bringing resources closer is something Sadie Stevens is excited about. "Having to keep coming to Tallahassee for that support or lactation consultants, it's going all the way to TMH. It's a long process and a lot of gas. Gas is not cheap."
Stevens is a mom to three kids, including a two-month-old. She said breastfeeding her new baby has been challenging. "It's been a struggle because I feel like my production is lower than what it's supposed to be, and I ended up getting actually a clog."
However, Stroud's new support group will offer the tips and support Steven and other moms in the community are looking for. "We don't have that you know support group. We don't have that like Tally Mom group. We're just a small county, so I mean it's good to find moms who not only understand what we're going through but also meet that friendly support," said Steven.
This is the only breast-feeding support group in Wakulla County. For anyone interested in joining, the free support group will be meeting at Bryker Body Care in Crawfordville every Tuesday night at 6:15 p.m.