Producing milk and breastfeeding your baby is a natural part of a mother’s postpartum journey. However, natural doesn’t always mean easy. Let our team help guide you through every phase of motherhood.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
If you are able and choose to breastfeed, there are a lot of health benefits to both mother and child, including:
- Your baby will receive nutrients they are able to digest easily
- Antibodies in breast milk strengthen your baby’s immune system
- Producing breast milk requires calories, which come from body fat
- Breastfeeding is a powerful way to bond with your baby
- Breastfeeding helps your uterus return to its normal size, and it may even decrease the incidence of ovarian cancer and premenopausal breast cancer
Common Breastfeeding & Lactation Challenges
- Low Milk Supply – The amount of milk you are producing is regulated by supply and demand. Try pumping and properly storing excess milk to promote increased milk production.
- Engorgement – If you are not breastfeeding or expressing milk frequently enough to keep up with your milk production, you may experience swollen, hard or painful breasts. Engorgement can lead to an infection if not addressed.
- Sore or Cracked Nipples – Avoid anything that may irritate your nipples, such as tight bras or clothing and harsh, drying substances. Applying a nipple cream can help alleviate your symptoms.
- Clogged Milk Ducts – There are many things that can cause a clogged milk duct. Try massaging the area or expressing milk more frequently.
- Mastitis – This is an inflammation of the breast tissue that can sometimes mean there is an infection.
- Positioning and Latching Difficulties – It may take time for you and your baby to get into a comfortable, positive breastfeeding routine, and that is okay! If needed, you can always pump and bottle feed when you need a break.
How Can I Get Help?
Lactation consultants are a great resource for mothers who decide and are able to breastfeed. Lactation consultants are registered nurses (RNs) who have experience helping mothers gain confidence and knowledge that ultimately leads them on a positive breastfeeding journey.
The process begins with prenatal classes and individual consultations that prepare new mothers to breastfeed once their baby arrives. Topics covered include:
- Establishing and maintaining your milk supply
- Reassurance and emotional support during your journey
- Selecting the right breast pumps and nursing bras for you
The following classes are held at Bellin Health Generations – Van Buren:
The Breastfeeding Bridge
The Breastfeeding Bridge is a support group for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. One of our lactation consultants is there to offer support with breastfeeding techniques, positioning, pumping, storing breast milk and returning to work.
This class takes place every first Thursday and third Tuesday of each month. You can sign up through MyBellinHealth or in person at your next appointment.
There is no cost to attend this support group.
Prenatal Breastfeeding Class
The Prenatal Breastfeeding class is for pregnant mothers who are in their second trimester, along with their support person.
There is a $40 cost to attend this class.