Healthy Tahoe: Breastfeeding support available
August is National Breastfeeding Month — a time to promote breastfeeding and advocacy to ensure all families have the opportunity to breastfeed. Certified lactation consultants, like the team at Barton’s Family Birthing Center, help parents navigate the journey of breastfeeding and achieve their feeding goals.
Breastfeeding is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, offering a great balance of nutrients for a baby while boosting their immune system and helping protect against a variety of diseases and conditions.
And though breastfeeding may appear the easiest and most natural choice, families may face breastfeeding difficulties for a variety of reasons. Ultimately the decision to breastfeed or not is personal and up to the family to determine what will work best for them.
However a family chooses to feed their babies, breastfeeding support is available — from anatomical differences to lack of familiarity, new parents may need to overcome several breastfeeding hurdles before a natural rhythm is established. A lactation consultant will help breastfeeding parents learn different feeding positions, how to encourage a baby to latch, how to navigate potential breastfeeding-related challenges like milk supply, plugged ducts, and pain. Additionally, lactation consultants can provide education and information about expressing or pumping breast milk.
Partners or loved ones of breastfeeding parents should also be prepared to take an active role. Though they are not breastfeeding, they can remain attuned to the process and provide needed help and valued support.
Helping a breastfeeding parent may include encouraging adequate food/ water consumption, meal planning and preparation, helping them remain comfortable, and importantly, supporting the entire feeding journey. A breastfeeding parent often feels pressure to continue to breastfeed, but may need additional resources to continue. Before leaving the hospital, understand how to access a follow-up lactation consultation and feel empowered to make this appointment for your partner or loved one.
Whether or not a family chooses to breastfeed, feeding and caring for a newborn is a beautiful yet challenging time. Support is available — whether it’s a lactation consultant, pediatrician, or support group — parents and families aren’t alone.
The Barton Family Birthing Center offers specially-trained registered nurses to help families with their lactation needs. Certified by the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants, Barton’s lactation consultants help answer lactation questions and address any challenges. Lactation services are available during the baby bonding period after delivery, and by appointment after hospital discharge. Learn more about the Barton Family Birthing Center by calling 530-543-5547 or visit BartonHealth.org/FamilyBirthingCenter.
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