Each woman’s breastfeeding experience is different (even from her first baby to her second), but the one constant is that there are a variety of supports in place to provide answers and encouragement. At no point should you feel like you have to do this alone, because there is a team of people and resources to support you.
During your pregnancy, spend time learning about breastfeeding.
- Talk to other expectant or new moms. Expectant moms are welcome at our monthly Breastfeeding Moms Network group. Women attend for a variety of reasons. Some women have questions, some new moms look forward to spending time with other moms, and some who have had very positive breastfeeding experiences come to support other women.
- Take a class. U-M’s Briarwood Center for Women, Children, and Young Adults offers breastfeeding classes. I’ve also heard positive feedback from women who have taken other breastfeeding classes locally through organizations like Lamaze, Center for the Childbearing Year, and Women, Infants and Children (WIC).
- Find out if your insurance will pay for a breast pump. You don’t need to arrange for one this early, but it is one more piece of information you can get before your baby’s arrival.
After your child is born
- At University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital your delivery nurse will be a great resource for helping you start breastfeeding after your baby’s arrival.
- Start breastfeeding within the first hour after your baby is born. Research has shown the importance of getting a baby to the breast within the first hour. That is true for women with c-sections as well as women with vaginal deliveries.
- Skin to skin contact (kangaroo care) is beneficial for parents and their newborns for a number of reasons. Read more about the benefits of kangaroo care.
- If you feel you need additional help right away, ask your nurse. At the University of Michigan we have a specially trained group of nurses who make up a breastfeeding support team that can offer additional assistance while you’re in the hospital.
- Ask your childbirth provider for recommendations on lactation support. At the U-M, each woman is given a packet of information before she leaves the hospital which includes information about breastfeeding resources.
- At University of Michigan, a visiting nurse checks in on each mom after you go home from the hospital. The visiting nurse is another great resource to answer any breastfeeding questions.
- The University of Michigan Health System lactation consultants have a Lactation Help Line (734-232-7885). Even if you call with an important question an hour or two after being discharged from the hospital, you won’t be the first new mom to do that. That is why we offer the line, to support moms and breastfeeding. The lactation help line is not limited only to U-M patients. We are happy to support any woman who has questions about breastfeeding. Some women are reluctant to get help from a lactation consultant, because they think lactation consultants tell women what to do. We realize that breastfeeding is not possible for everyone. Our goal is to offer support so that women can decide what is best for them and their babies.
- U-M’s Briarwood Center for Women, Children, and Young Adults offers a Multidisciplinary Breastfeeding Support Clinic which is staffed by a lactation consultant as well as an OBGYN and pediatrician specializing in breastfeeding support. Women can be self-referred, although you might want to check with your insurance to see if the visit is covered.
- You are always welcome at the Breastfeeding Moms Network group. It can be very helpful for new moms to talk to other moms.
I hope you take advantage of the available resources and get your questions answered. It can take some time to get breastfeeding well establish, but the benefits are well worth the effort. We look forward to supporting this new relationship with you and your baby.
Also on the blog: Easing the back-to-work transition for breastfeeding moms
Carrie Pawlowski RN, BSN, IBCLC, is a lactation consultant at the University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital. Carrie works with mothers and babies at our birth center as well as in our multidisciplinary lactation clinic at U-M Briarwood Center for Women, Children and Young Adults.
University of Michigan Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital opened in December 2011, offering women a state-of-the-art place to welcome their babies to the world in the most caring and comfortable way possible. From private rooms to birthing tubs, each feature was designed around mom and baby’s every need. Learn more at www.UofMhealth.org/birthcenter.