How to Experience Breastfeeding Success
SIOUX FALLS (March 1, 2015) – As a new mom, you want to give your baby all the benefits of breastfeeding. Yet the calendar also reminds you that the day of your return to work will come quickly.
Breastfeeding delivers many benefits that cannot be replaced by formula: A closer bond between mom and baby, a boost to the baby’s developing immune system and better digestion. For mom, breastfeeding can help you lose post-partum weight, may help prevent cancer, and saves around $1,000 a year in formula costs.
A good plan will make the transition from home to work smoother, advises Lynn Josten, RN, IBCLC, Certified Lactation Consultant at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “First, educate yourself as to what’s realistic,” Josten said. Unless you’re one of the lucky moms who has access to daycare on site or within a few blocks of your workplace, you’ll likely need a good breast pump.
“An effective breast pump mimics how the baby removes milk effectively,” Josten said. “Beware of breast pumps that are suction only. That’s just going to be frustrating and painful.”
Because breast pumps don’t have standard labels or FDA approval, ask your provider or hospital lactation consultant to recommend a brand and/or model. Also, check with your insurance company because the breast pump might be covered as durable medical equipment.
Plan ahead as to when you’ll feed your baby, and when you’ll pump. Moms who work 8 to 5 often feed their baby right before work, pump over the noon hour, and then feed immediately after getting home from work, or even at daycare before heading home. If you plan to pump at work, ask your employer about a comfortable place to express milk. In fact, under the Affordable Care Act, employers are required to provide breastfeeding moms with a reasonable break time and a private place – other than the ladies’ restroom.
Right after your baby is born, just enjoy your baby and concentrate on learning how to breastfeed. “Don’t get frustrated at first. Things will quickly change within the first couple of weeks as you and your baby learn to breastfeed,” Josten said.
Once you feel totally comfortable with breastfeeding, then it might be a good idea to try pumping once a day or so, both to get used to the pump, and for the baby to get used to taking a bottle. Pumping while you’re still home is up to you. But it might take some of the pressure off that first day back at work, Josten said. “You start to get a milk supply built up for your baby, and you don’t have to worry about whether baby will take a bottle while at daycare.”
While it’s good to have a supply of milk in the freezer in case it’s needed, it’s also best to pump for the next day, so the baby has the freshest milk for the greatest immunity benefit.
Courtney Ehlers of Sioux Falls has breastfed three of her children through at least nine months, and she’s now breastfeeding baby number four, Eden. A nurse, Courtney now has a daily Monday to Friday shift and can pump over the noon hour. When she worked a 12-hour shift earlier in her career, she had to pump every four hours. “One perk of being a breastfeeding mom is a bona-fide excuse to take a 15-minute break. I always try to make pumping a relaxing time, maybe read an article or chapter in a book – nothing too stressful.”
After work, Courtney finds that Eden wants to feed right after getting home. “She wants that connection and bond with mom. It’s a good wind-down to the day, and a good start to the time when we’re back together,” Courtney said.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for babies up to six months of age, and then breastfeeding complemented with other foods for up to 1 year of age.
Don’t get frustrated if your baby isn’t sleeping through the night, and don’t blame breastfeeding. Most babies need to wake up to feed at least once during the night, and this is important to their development. “When you’re low on sleep, just remember, ‘this too shall pass,’” Josten said. “Know that you’re doing what’s best for your baby – even if it’s at 3 o’clock in the morning.”
Lactation consultants are available to help nursing moms adjust to breastfeeding, resolve any problems and reassure that baby is getting enough food. To learn more, go to www.AveraWomens.org