With the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommending that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months, it seems the old adage is true – breast is best.
But the idea of providing all of your baby’s nutrients through breastfeeding can be an intimidating concept.
Scott & White lactation nurse, Patty Caplinger, BSN, RN, IBCLC, helps to allay those first-time breastfeeding jitters with some advice on preparing physically and mentally to breastfeed your baby.
How can I learn more about breastfeeding?
“[First-time breast-feeders] should probably take a breast feeding class, so they know how to position and latch the baby onto the breast,” Ms. Caplinger said.
Scott & White offers a breast feeding class on the first Sunday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. and on the third Wednesday of the month from 6 to 8 p.m., which is included in the price of the Scott & White childbirth classes.
“Our breastfeeding experts go over all of the basics—how to latch the baby to the breast, feeding cues the importance of breastfeeding, how frequently to breastfeed, and all of the skills you’ll need to know in the first few weeks.”
What are the most common challenges for new breastfeeders?
“Because mothers can’t see the milk that is coming out, they are concerned that their baby’s not getting enough,” Ms. Caplinger said.
But the nurse said that most of the time babies are getting what they need. If your baby is having several dirty and wet diapers a day, seems to be satisfied after a feeding and is gaining weight, then your breast milk is probably getting the job done.
Some mothers think that because their baby is waking often to eat, that they aren’t being satisfied by their mother’s milk.
But breast milk is more easily digested than formula by your baby’s system, so they make wake more often than a formula-fed baby. According to the AAP’s Healthy Children site, a newborn can wake every one-and-a-half to three hours to eat.
While learning how to deal with the fears and challenges that come with breastfeeding will help make those first weeks of nursing easier, Ms. Caplinger also said it’s important for new moms to have a strong support system.
What does Scott & White offer to help first-time breastfeeders?
Not only does the hospital offer breastfeeding classes for new moms, but they also offer consultations from the lactation nurses.
“We see them when they come in to have their babies, and then when they come back for their two-day follow-up,” Ms. Caplinger said. “We make sure that they’re comfortable with breastfeeding and that they’re doing well.”
They also help with breast pump instruction, rental and sales, and are there to help build up the milk supply of moms who have babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
And if you have questions about breastfeeding after you leave the hospital, you can call the lactation nurse triage line at any time and they will help you through whatever issues you may be having.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
While strictly breastfeeding can be a nerve-wracking task, Ms. Caplinger said it could be the best for you and your baby.
Here are a few reasons you should consider breastfeeding, according to the lactation specialist.
- Less ear infections
- Less upper respiratory and GI infections
- Better teeth and jaw formation
- Builds immunities to disease
- Less instance of childhood obesity
- Saves money
- Better bonding for mom and baby
- Easier to lose baby weight
- Hormones return to normal quicker after giving birth
- Less instance of post partum depression
What advice would you give to a new mom attempting to breastfeed?
Choosing whether or not to breastfeed is a personal decision every mom has to make for themselves. But if you are going to attempt it, Ms. Caplinger said the most important thing to have is patience.
For more information about the lactation services offered at Scott & White, call 254-724-4867 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m., any day of the week. You can sign up for breastfeeding classes by calling 254-724-2376.
Are you a breastfeeding pro? What do you wish you would have known when you were a first-time breastfeeder?