Sheila Peters loves it when new mothers refer to her as the “breast whisperer.”
“I wear that title with pride,” said the lactation consultant, who is a 34-year veteran of Mercy Hospital Springfield. She’s taught thousands of moms how to breastfeed, and watched their children grow up to do the same.
“We’ve come full circle, and it’s the most rewarding thing,” Peters said. “I love helping new moms and dads learn the ropes and empower them to get the healthiest bond they can with their babies.”
For decades, Peters has guided new moms through their first year of motherhood, including their first Mother’s Day. This year, she has a new reason to celebrate: her first grandchild, Madison Lynn.
“She’s beautiful,” Peters said. “For the first month, I was by her side constantly. It’s an amazing experience, watching your own daughter be a mother to her daughter. I’ve had people say, ‘Wait until you’re a grandma; you’re going to be in love.’ It’s so true.”
Little Madison comes into the world with a well-versed grandmother, who has plenty of advice for new parents looking to breastfeed.
“Latching is everything,” Peters said. “If you’re in pain, you’re probably not putting the baby’s mouth in the right spot, and that can lead to irregular diaper schedules, difficult nights, improper weight gain and more.”
Peters says mothers should also be prepared to get emotional.
“I told my daughter she’d be crying a lot after giving birth, even though she insisted she’d be too happy and excited to do that,” Peters said. “But new moms get the baby blues, and often times suffer from postpartum depression, so I’ll provide the counseling and support they need to get back on track.”
Peters provides so much more than just "breast whisperer" services, and like any proud mom or grandmother on Mother’s Day, if you stop by Mercy’s Family Resource Center, Sheila will proudly show you pictures of her new grandbaby.
Have a great story about Sheila you'd like to share? Post a message on our Facebook page this Sunday, May 8!
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.