By Lisa Britton

For the Baker City Herald

Amanda Grove didn’t want to stop breastfeeding her baby, but she was having such a rough time that quitting was a real possibility.

“It was pretty awful,” she said.

But then her friend Kate Johnson, also a new mom, suggested she call St. Alphonsus Medical Services in Baker City and schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant.

“It changed my life,” said Grove, whose daughter Quinn is now 5 months old. “I thought I was going to quit and fail. If it wasn’t for the support, I wouldn’t be nursing, which was my goal.”

Johnson knew about the program because she too sought help after having her son, Lucas.

Kcia Fletcher and Lynn Scarfo, both registered nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC), see patients through the program.

“She was pretty crucial during the time when I didn’t know what I was doing,” Johnson said about meeting with Scarfo.

At her appointment, Johnson was able have the nurse weigh her baby, then she fed him and weighed again to see how much he ate.

“She is resourceful and puts your mind at ease,” Johnson said. “Lynn is a rock star. There are so many ups and downs in the first four months.”

The Infant Nutrition and Lactation Program is offered through the Birth Center at St. Alphonsus Medical Center in Baker City.

The center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and moms with breastfeeding concerns can call for advice. If additional help is needed, an appointment is made with Fletcher or Scarfo.

The phone number is 541-524-7747.

The lactation consultants can help with latch issues, breast pain, nipple pain, low milk supply, over supply, infant weight issues and more.

Expectant parents are also encouraged to make an appointment to get information prior to the arrival of the baby.

“We highly encourage prenatal appointments,” Fletcher said. “The more you know going into it, the more successful you’ll be with breastfeeding.”

To be certified, Fletcher and Scarfo studied for and passed a certification exam. They must log continuing education hours after being certified, and retake the board every 10 years.