Sarah Long, IBCLC
Lactation Consultant at Riverview Hospital
Throughout the world breastfeeding remains the norm, just as it has for thousands of years. Yet, for many new moms, establishing a regular breastfeeding routine feels like anything but the norm. With all the physical and emotional changes a woman goes through following the birth of a baby, it’s no wonder breastfeeding can seem overwhelming. Research shows that while more than three-fourths of women start breastfeeding, less than half make it to the recommended six-month mark. However, breastfeeding can be far less stressful—and much more successful—with proper care and support from nurses and lactation consultants.
To show its support, Riverview Hospital is launching a new breastfeeding program, in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7. The program allows new moms to schedule an appointment to return to the hospital for a consultation with an international board certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). The goal is simple: To help new moms identify and overcome challenges with breastfeeding.
As an IBCLC, I’m repeatedly asked the same questions. Mothers seem to share similar experiences and perceptions about breastfeeding, and all too often, it’s the “myths” that cause lots of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
I regularly hear new moms say “I wish someone had told me.” That’s the luxury of hindsight, right? Still, we can learn from others’ experiences. Here’s a look at the top three questions I get asked:
1. Is my baby getting enough and will my body produce what my baby needs?
What goes in, must come out! Being aware of how much your infant “pees” and “poops” is a good way to monitor how much food your baby is getting. As a general rule, you should see at least three yellow, soft poops and six pees in 24 hours by the fourth or fifth day after baby is born. Trust your body, as the vast majority of mothers produce more than enough breast milk. The amount produced is based on supply and demand. Thus, the more your baby demands, the more milk you’ll produce. Correct latching is also important so your baby can effectively remove milk.
2. I heard breastfeeding can be time-consuming and babies frequently wake up. Is this true?
Once breastfeeding is established, it can actually save time because you can run out of the house with just your baby, wipes and a diaper! All babies wake and feed frequently. Try to go with the flow rather than schedule when your baby eats, as this can lead to more stress and anxiety. And try to rest when your baby sleeps.
3. I’m returning to work. How can I balance breastfeeding as a working mother?
First, know your rights. Employers are now required by law to provide you with a reasonable break in a private, non-bathroom location to pump your breast milk. Be sure to talk with your employer and find out what provisions are in place. And don’t forget to talk to your childcare provider to establish a plan for how you will provide and store your breast milk. It’s best to be prepared by considering how much milk you’ll need and how often you’ll need to pump to maintain a good supply.
The more we learn about breastfeeding, the more we realize that it’s a natural, normal way to provide our children with the optimal nutritional start. So don’t be afraid to ask questions and know that other moms are going through the same thing as you. Be confident and enjoy this special mommy-baby bond!
Riverview offers a breastfeeding class and a breastfeeding support group. To register, visit riverview.org or call 317-776-7247. For questions or appointments with a lactation consultant, please call the breastfeeding support line at 317-776-7202.