As part of our ongoing Five Questions series highlighting local maternal/infant health champions, we are honored to feature Maggie Todd, Breastfeeding Peer Counselor with Richmond City WIC.
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What drew you to the field you’re in?
I kind of fell into it. My last baby went away to school so I was looking for a job to fill the hours. I stumbled onto the peer counselor posting and thought it seemed interesting, so I applied. I had no idea that it would lead me to a vocation that I knew I was called to do. I can’t imagine doing anything else now. I had always helped young women at church who had breastfeeding issues, because I knew from my own breastfeeding experience that “it takes a village” to get off to a good start at breastfeeding. I received a lot of encouragement in my first early experience with breastfeeding.
What part of your daily work inspires you the most?
I love seeing a mom’s eyes when baby latches successfully for the first time. There is such wonder and amazement in them. The human body, birth and lactation, and the bond moms have with their babies seems so miraculous to me. Even though I know the science behind it, on an emotional level it blows me away.
How can RVA keep moving forward to become a model community for childbearing families?
We need to make breastfeeding, which is biologically normal, be the norm socially, too. We need employers to assume parents are going to breastfeed and proactively make it possible for their employees to do so. We need to make sure that breastfeeding parents feel welcomed wherever they are, be it the park, church, restaurants, businesses, etc. We need more Baby-Friendly Hospitals and workplaces.
If you could share one piece of wisdom with childbearing families or professionals who serve them, what would it be?
I would tell childbearing families to remember that breastfeeding is journey. There are going to be bumps in the road and maybe even detours that make you take extra time getting back to the main road. Expect that these bumps and detours are part of the journey. Don’t end the trip because you have hit a breastfeeding bump in the road.
Tell us about one of your favorite accomplishments.
My favorite accomplishments are when families leave my office or phone call feeling happier and more confident than they were when they walked in or picked up the phone.
Maggie Todd is a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor at Richmond City WIC. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) helps pregnant women, mothers, infants and young children stay healthy and eat right during important times of growth. Click here for more information about Richmond WIC services.