According to the World Health Organization (WHO), breastfeeding is one of the most effective ways to ensure child health and survival. In fact, breastfeeding has many benefits, for both babies and moms:
- Breast milk contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections.
- Breastfed babies have stronger immune systems, fewer colds and ear infections, and less gastrointestinal issues. These benefits last into childhood and adulthood.
- Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers and a reduced risk for postpartum depression.
Preparing for Breastfeeding
Although we know breastmilk is considered ‘best’ for baby, breastfeeding your baby – especially in the beginning – can be somewhat challenging and requires lots of practice, patience and support. Doing your research, talking to your doctor and participating in breastfeeding classes before your baby’s birth can help ease any stress and anxiety you may have about breastfeeding.
Those first few days of your baby’s life can be the most challenging – in the hospital and then when you return home. Be sure to consult with your mother-baby nurse if you’re struggling during your hospital stay. The guidance you receive in the hospital will hopefully help you as you transition to breastfeeding at home.
Lactation Support at Parkland Health Center
At Parkland Health Center, all of our mother-baby nurses are well-trained to assist new moms with breastfeeding. They participate in monthly lunch and learn sessions, which cover various breastfeeding topics, including the power of skin-to-skin; addressing latch pain; optimal hold techniques; and when to use nipple shields, syringes, breast shells, etc.
Our nurses will help you initiate breastfeeding shortly after delivery. They’ll also offer access to one of our hospital-grade pumps and other breastfeeding tools, such as lanolin, nipple shields and syringes to help with feedings. Our goal is to educate and support you, giving you the best start and chance for continued, long-term breastfeeding success.
Lactation Support at Home
Once you return home, you may notice some dramatic changes in your breasts and your baby’s feeding behavior. You’ll both go through an adjustment period during those first few days and weeks as you work to find your rhythm.
If you’re struggling or are concerned about your baby’s intake, you can contact our certified lactation consultant – Tara Wadlow, FNP – for more guidance to help you overcome those challenges. Rely on your friends, family and baby’s pediatrician for ongoing support and encouragement as well.
If you’re ultimately unable to breastfeed your baby, don’t feel bad or stress yourself up. How you feed your baby is your decision, so choose what’s best for you and your family.