Ensuring that your baby is getting proper nourishment in the early stages of life can be worrisome. His or her inability to communicate with you, coupled with the importance of meeting their basic needs, may bring a number of concerns, like knowing when to feed, when the baby has had enough, etc. On top of this, many women struggle with the task of breastfeeding, itself, and experience difficulty and even pain.
“Breastfeeding is accepted as the standard for infant feeding,” said Teresa McCullen, IBCLC, RLC, lactation consultant at Augusta University Women’s Health. “Augusta University Health is hoping to increase the number of mothers who start breastfeeding, the number who are exclusively breastfeeding for six months and those who continue to breastfeed until 1 year or beyond.”
Keys to success with breastfeeding
In order to increase your chances of breastfeeding successfully, check out the following tips:
- Learn how it works! Research using your favorite sources. Attend a class designed to teach you how to get started with breastfeeding to learn evidence-based information. This will help you know what you can expect and make it easier to troubleshoot.
- Set your breastfeeding goals, and share them with your doctor and family.
- Get your baby skin to skin from the beginning, and keep him or her close.
- Know who can help you once you get home, and call them even for reassurance.
- Trust your body to make milk for your baby, and trust your baby to tell you when he needs to eat.
Struggling with breastfeeding? We’re here to help.
Augusta University Health, a Georgia 5-STAR Hospital, staffs an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant who helps pregnant women and new moms navigate these concerns by offering education and support, as well as three nurses in the mother/baby unit who are certified lactation counselors. The health system offers the following to new and expectant mothers:
- Breastfeeding class for mothers-to-be focused on setting breastfeeding goals.
- In-hospital support during the first days of your baby’s life.
- Treatments for low milk supply, sore nipples, infections, latch problem and other issues.
- Ongoing support after the mother leaves the hospital through telephone assistance, outpatient lactation consultations and Moms Connection, a weekly mothers group facilitated by McCullen. This is particularly important because many women quit breastfeeding within a few weeks when they experience trouble getting expert help when problems arise.
- Help meeting the special breastfeeding needs of preterm babies.
- Breast pumps and other supplies.
The good news is that, despite hurdles and challenges, most mothers are able to meet their goal of having a rewarding and fulfilling breastfeeding experience.