Delivering caring, personalized, quality healthcare to women in an environment that is supportive, education-focused and compassionate.

Breastfeeding

Outpatient lactation services receiving support from TMC Mega Raffle

Little Kailey Nowak decided to enter the world five weeks ahead of her due date. Her mom, Kelly, experienced difficulties with breastfeeding almost immediately. “She wouldn’t latch on, or if she did, it would only be for a few seconds,” she said. “It was awful. I cried every single day for six weeks as I pumped and fed my baby through a bottle. My plan was to breastfeed, and when I couldn’t, it truly felt like I was failing as a mother. People were

The family lives in Sierra Vista and with few lactation support services available there, Nowak’s pediatrician suggested she seek expert advice from the lactation specialists at TMC, where she had previously rented her hospital-grade breast pump. “I didn’t know what to expect, but the lactation specialists solved my problems and had Kailey successfully breastfeeding just two minutes into my session. It was the most magical moment of being a mom. I finally felt like I was doing a good job for her, and I wish I would have pursued this help sooner.”

The Mega Raffle provides funding for new moms to visit the outpatient breastfeeding clinic even if the service is not covered by their insurance or if they cannot otherwise afford it.

 

 

 

This is the fifth of our six-part series of blogs that show how the TMC Mega Raffle is making a difference for patients and the community.

 

For moms struggling with breastfeeding the TMC for Women Lactation Consultants are here to help

Breastfeeding at its best is inexpensive, easy and provides a whole host of health benefits for both mother and child. But you would not be alone if at first you struggle with breastfeeding. A trained lactation consultant, typically certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners, can provide the insights needed to get over the stumbling blocks that prevent many women from continuing to breastfeed and reap the benefits.

Damiana Cohen and Noreen Carver with Jade Beall photographs

Noreen Carver IBCLC and Damiana Cohen Mother Baby Manager

 

Along with our weekly free breastfeeding support group, we also now offer private outpatient consultations. Supplemental funding from TMC Foundation ensures that all women can access this resource.

The TMC for Women Outpatient Breastfeeding Clinic was created to help women and babies with breastfeeding once they have left the hospital or birth center. Lactation consultants can help address latch problems, provide nipple shields and help with supplemental nursing systems (for those babies who are ineffective at nursing, preemies or special needs babies or for moms who have a low-milk supply or whose bodies need encouragement to lactate).

Lactation Consultation Room

The goal of the outpatient Breastfeeding Clinic to make sure all new mothers in our community can access trained lactation consultants and overcome hurdles to breastfeeding, no matter what their insurance or ability to pay. You can still access support via telephone on our breastfeeding warmline, 520 324 5730. (When clients call this phone number you can leave a message either on our Outpatient Line to schedule an appointment or the main line for questions. The lactation consultants return calls in between patient care and between hours of about 8 am to 6pm.) In person visits provide another level of support that is impossible to attain via a phone conversation. The appointments are typically an hour to an hour and a half long and take place in a distinctly non-clinical like setting, nestled in a quiet corner of our campus.

Call 520-324-5730 to make an appointment for an outpatient consultation.

What you should know about our breastfeeding consultations:

  1. Services are available to anyone in the community regardless of where you deliver your baby.
  2. You do not need a referral
  3. If you have insurance, they will be billed first, if they refuse to cover it or if you don’t have insurance, the cost will be covered under a grant from the TMC Foundation. Our TMC community recognizes the benefits of supporting breastfeeding for the health of mom, baby and the community at large.
  4. Don’t have easy transportation? Perhaps you’ve just had a C-section and can’t drive? No worries, we can help with transportation to and from your appointment. Just ask when you schedule your appointment.
  5. You will see a registered nurse who is a certified lactation consultant
  6. Need more than one consultation? No problem, multiple appointments are available.
  7. This is no cold hospital room appointment- appointments are held in a comfortable, private sitting area designed by the lactation consultants in line with what we know helps support women breastfeed.

Thanks to the support of the TMC Facilities Department who helped furnish the room and to Sandy Forbes, Donna Morton and an anonymous donor who donated the gorgeous photographs by Tucson photographer Jade Beall.

 

Breastfeeding – How to get off to a great start!

The TMC for Women Lactation Consultants have helped thousands of women successfully breastfeed their babies. Here are some of their suggestions to help you and your baby create a successful breastfeeding relationship:

Before baby arrives

1. Take a Breastfeeding Basics Class

Before baby arrives, take a breastfeeding class. This is a great time to connect with lactation consultants, other expectant parents and get pointers before baby arrives.

2. Ask potential pediatricians about their office’s approach to breastfeeding.

As an expectant parent, when interviewing pediatricians, include some questions about breastfeeding to make sure you and your child’s pediatrician are on the same page. Knowing you and your child’s pediatrician have similar goals can be important in ensuring your child’s breastfeeding success. The American Academy of Pediatrics provides a great list of topics to include, for example “Do you observe breastfeeding in the office to identify any problems?” “How can you support me in breastfeeding when I return to work.”

3. Identify resources BEFORE baby arrives

-Is there a breastfeeding support group at your local hospital? (If you’re in Tucson we have a weekly free breastfeeding support group at TMC open to all new moms, hosted by a lactation consultant.)

-What about a La Leche League group?

-Where would you access a breast pump if you need one? Did you know The Desert Cradle hospital-based shop offers electric breast pump rentals and sales, nursing and newborn products?

Susan Dennis IBCLC recommended these books as resources also:

9781558328495

FC9781572248618

Nursing Mother’s Companion by Huggins

Breastfeeding Made Simple Seven Natural Laws for Nursing Mothers by Mohrbacher and Kendall-Tackett

 

 

In the hospital and beyond

1. Enjoy the golden hour and more!

We know that the quiet ‘Golden Hour’ after baby arrives is a critical bonding time, but it isn’t just that hour following. Allow yourself, your baby and support person plenty of time after delivery to rest, and establish the nursing relationship without lots of spectators. Visitors are excited to meet the baby and to congratulate you, this is wonderful, but in the excitement and attention it can be difficult for new mothers to establish a comfortable nursing relationship with their child. Visitors can see you and the baby once you and baby are home and feeling a little more confident.

2. Skin to skin

You’ve probably seen the videos of newborn babies moving across their mother’s bodies to feed. Keep your baby skin/skin as much as possible and allow baby to feed at breast as much as he or she desires. Continue this at home.

3. Connect with the lactation consultants

While at the hospital or birth center. At TMC nursing assistance is available seven days a week.

4. Sleep when baby sleeps

It’s a familiar refrain – when baby sleeps you should sleep. The temptation is to try and get things done while baby naps, but try and get sleep during the day or when your baby is sleeping so you are ready when your baby is ready to feed more often (usually at night).

Remember if you’re having difficulty we offer one-on-one outpatient lactation consultations with our IBCLC Lactation Consultants.

324-5730

 

Make sure sore nipples don’t put an end to breastfeeding your child

Sore, painful or even cracked nipples are a common reason why a new mother may stop nursing her child. With the right kind of help and support you can often avoid or remedy problems. Our IBCLC lactation consultants weigh in on with tips to help you.

Why and when breastfeeding results in sore nipples

When breastfeeding you may feel strong sensations as your baby begins to nurse, but pain when breastfeeding isn’t okay. Often nipples become sore within 3-7 days of the start of breastfeeding, usually because your baby isn’t positioned or latched quite right.

Arizona Department of Health Services offers a 24-hour Breastfeeding Hotline 1-800-833-4642.You may have seen a lactation consultant in the hospital or birth center and talked about latch, but a few sleep deprived days into motherhood and it’s easy to forget and important to check in and review if you are having some difficulty. If one or both nipples begin to crack or bleed seek help as soon as possible. The lactation consultant can help you correctly position baby.

If your baby doesn’t seem settled after a feed, or your nipples are flattened or white these maybe signs that baby isn’t latching effectively.

SoreNipplesTMC

What can you do at home to prevent and treat sore nipples?

  • Check Latch on and positioning with an IBCLC.
  • Nurse on the side that is least sore side first, if possible.
  • Apply warm, moist compresses to your nipples after feedings, this is comforting and removes residue of milk and bacteria before applying ointments.
  • Try hand expressing a little breastmilk and applying to your nipples to soothe the nipples and reduce the chances of infection (human milk has antibacterial properties.)
  • Try keeping nipples covered with a medical grade (100% pure) modified lanolin ointment or hydrogel dressing to encourage cracks to heal without scabbing or crusting. Gently blot off nipple with warm compress before applying any ointments.
  • If your breasts are overfull, hand express to soften areola prior to feeding baby.
  • Call Breastfeeding Support Program ( 324-5730) for other tips on nipple healing.
  • If pumping make sure you are using the right size flange and pressure. Pumping should not be painful.
  • Don’t do the following

  • Don’t apply moist tea bags to the nipples. This folk remedy has shown to have an astringent effect that may promote drying and cracking.
  • Don’t use a hair dryer on sore nipples. This promotes drying and further cracking.
  • Don’t stop breastfeeding
  • Resources at TMC for Women

    TMC offers outpatient breastfeeding support services, whether you deliver at TMC or not. 1. Free weekly breastfeeding support group for new moms. Hosted weekly by a certified lactation consultant. Classes are held every Monday from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Canyon Room.
    2. Outpatient consultations with an IBCLC-certified nurse (by appointment only)
    For more information on any of these services, please call 324-5730

    Tucson Medical Center has the unique status of being the only hospital in Southern Arizona to receive the International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Care Recognition Award for its stellar support programs for nursing moms. Tucson Medical Center strives to promote healthy families in all ways possible. With what we know about breast milk and immunity, we encourage mothers to breast feed. The lactation consultants of TMC for Women provide exceptional support in establishing a satisfying, sustainable nursing relationship whenever possible.

    Ouch! Mastitis – tips on prevention & treatment

    Breastfeeding is cheap, efficient, and a solid nutritious choice for you and your baby with all kinds of positive side effects for mom! But sometimes there can be a little hiccup along the way. Mastitis affects 33% of breastfeeding women, know the symptoms so you can catch and treat it as quickly as possible.

    The signs and symptoms of mastitis:

    • Fever of 101°F or greater
    • Flu-like aches and chills
    • Red, tender, hot, swollen, wedge-shaped area of the breast
    • Pain or burning while breastfeeding or all the time.
    • Breast swelling, tender or warm to the touch

    mastitisWhy do mothers develop mastitis?

    There have been limited studies of lactation mastitis, but generally researchers focus on two potential risk factors

    1. Poor breastfeeding technique – Get the latch right
      If you’re struggling with breastfeeding you’re probably fed up of people talking to you about latch! Improper latching of baby to mom’s nipple is at the root of many a new mother’s frustration. Poor technique can lead to poor drainage of a duct, insufficient emptying of the breast, milk stasis, and cracks or fissures of the nipple. These, it is hypothesized, provide an avenue for infection.
    2. Lowered immune system response
      Guess what, you’re probably sleep deprived, and maybe a little stressed out? You’re not alone. Those factors can reduce your immune system response to a duct infection.
    3. Delay in feeding, busy schedule, stress can also lead to an occurrence of mastitis

    Whatever the cause of the mastitis you need to see a medical professional. Antibiotics can help address the infection. ( Antibiotics are usually prescribed for a 10-14 day course. It is important to take the full course of antibiotics even if you start to feel better). Also coordinate with a lactation consultant to address what led up to the infection.

    What can I do to alleviate the symptoms?

    1. Continue to breastfeed on the affected side as much as you can. This can reduce the tenderness of your breast.
    2. Apply a warm compress
    3. Massage the affected part of the breast. It will help speed the healing process. Pump to help drain the breast after applying warm compresses. Rest, fluids and frequent breastfeeding will help you heal and resolve mastitis. try to reduce your stress or workload until you feel better.  Seek help from friends/family to allow you more time to rest.
    4. Wear a supportive bra. (Your bra should be well fitting, not overly tight causing creases to skin and may be best to avoid underwire bras.)
    5. Make sure your baby latches on well. (Check with the lactation consultants)
    6. Change positions every time you breastfeed.

    Never fear, help is here

    • Nursing assistance during your TMC for Women hospital stay, offered seven days a week

    TMC offers outpatient breastfeeding support services, whether you deliver at TMC for Women or not.

    • Free weekly breastfeeding support group for new moms. Hosted weekly by a certified lactation consultant. Classes are held every Monday from 10-11:30 a.m. in the Canyon Room.
    • Outpatient consultations with an IBCLC-certified nurse (by appointment only. Call 324-5730. BCBS covered)

    For more information on any of these services, please call 324-5730

    Arizona Department of Health Services Breastfeeding 24/7 Hotline: 1-800-833-4642  Breastfeeding and Motherhood resource line for any mother or provider in Arizona

     

    Breastfeeding – 10 Ways Dads can help

    how you can help your partner with breastfeedingThere was a time when in the first fresh days and weeks of a baby’s life, a new mom would be surrounded by the women of her family and community. They would provide her support and guide her through breastfeeding and caring for her new child. Today, that is often not the case. A new mom may find herself without that sisterhood to draw upon. Breastfeeding support groups, lactation consultants and postpartum doulas provide valuable resources, but for day-to-day the support of dad or partner is critical in determining whether breastfeeding is successful.

    TMC for Women Lactation Consultant Susan Dennis IBCLC, shares these ten tips to help dads and partners help the new mom in their lives.

    Providing breastfeeding support to your partner

    1. Before baby arrives attend a Breastfeeding Class with the expectant mom.

    2. Tell the new Mom that she is doing a great job- encouragement is a key building block to success.

    3. Help recognize when the baby is showing feeding cues and help give mom private time to feed without distractions from other visitors.

    4. Place pillows under mom’s arms, back, legs to help support her in comfortable positions while feeding.

    5. Watch how staff at the hospital or birth center help the baby start a feeding and do the same when mom needs help.

    6. Hold baby skin to skin after feedings while mom takes a nap. This is a great bonding time for you and baby.

    7. Bring water and snacks whenever mom feels hungry.

    8. Be the mom’s sounding board when she feels frustrated. Sometimes she just needs to talk.

    9. Burp baby, change diaper and cuddle baby in between feedings so you get a chance to know the baby.

    10. Babies are only small for short time. When they cry they need to be held. This builds trust and later independence.

    Know there are outside resources to help mama with breastfeeding, we provide outpatient consultations with certified lactation consultants as well as a weekly support group.

    Resources
    Pisacane, A., Continisio GI., Aldinucci, M., D’Amora, S., Continisio, P.,  A controlled trial of the father’s role in breastfeeding promotion Pediatrics. 2005 Oct;116(4):e494-8. [Accessed 6/13/2014]

    Togetherness for Mom & Baby Health – Why we promote rooming-in

    Rooming in brings benefits for Mom & BabyIn a scene in the PBS series “Call the Midwife” , Nurse Jenny Lee (the main character) risks getting into trouble to sneak a newborn baby into an open ward so that a desperate mom can hold her child for the first time. It seems shocking today, but not so long ago, babies were kept in the nursery under observation while mom recovered in an open ward with other moms. Family and visitors would clamor for prime viewing spots outside the nursery window to see baby who lay swaddled and isolated beyond reach and comforting touch.

    In recent years, as hospitals moved from open wards to private rooms, the practice of ‘rooming in’ has become common place, allowing moms and babies to stay together. Still, the practice of taking baby to the nursery to ‘give mom a break’ or a good night’s sleep continues. And indeed it would seem to make some sense, but research studies have shown that sleep patterns and breastfeeding are often better established when baby stays with mom and mom with support learns her child’s cues. For this reason we promote 24 hour rooming-in for new moms.

    Mom to near 2 year old Felix, Cindy shares her experience rooming-in at TMC for Women,

    I was going to the El Rio Birth Center and wanted to have a natural birth experience, but that wasn’t in the cards for me. At 41 weeks, it was time to go to the hospital. I was at TMC for two days before Felix was born via C-section. He was 10.5 lbs and a bit of a celebrity for the short time I was there. There hadn’t been such a big baby born in quite awhile. After the C-section, our midwife gave Felix to me right away…

    Placed on Cindy’s chest immediately, Felix stayed with mom except for testing and a short time when Cindy cleaned up following the C-section.

    The nurses at TMC were very kind and supportive and respectful of my need to have Felix with me at all times. I was there after the surgery for 3 days…It was amazing to have that little guy close to me, I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything in the world.

    What is the Newborn Nursery for?

    Our Newborn Nursery is reserved for only those babies who need intensive observation or are having problems that prevent them from staying in their mother’s room.

    Moms are encouraged to always keep their baby with them, and at the hospital their partner or a support person is welcome to stay overnight to help them with the baby, as they bond and get to know one another.

    Why rooming-in is important

    • Rooming-in promotes successful breastfeeding
    • Keeping your baby with you at all times helps both of you sleep better
    • The safest place for the baby is with the parent
    • Being together strengthens your bond – the more time you spend together, the better you will know each other
    • You will learn your baby’s cues, and the baby will be calmer hearing your familiar voice and your heartbeat
    • You will feel more confident in your ability to care for the baby when you go home from the hospital

    Resources
    Keefe, MR.  Comparison of neonatal nighttime sleep-wake patterns in nursery versus rooming-in environments. Nurs Res. 1987 May-Jun;36(3):140-4. [Accessed 6-6-2014]

    Breastfeeding Survival Guide for the Holidays

    by Susan Dennis, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

    As the holidays approach, keep in mind that you are handling many roles. There is no need to be Superwoman. Your baby needs you to stay focused on your main role: providing your baby nutritional and emotional support.  This is the best present you can give to your baby.

    Listen to your Baby

    • Feed your baby every time hunger signs are present
    • Don’t delay feedings: an agitated baby is harder to latch on and soothe (feed on demand)
    • When your baby is irritable, look at the situation (Is there too much noise/stimulation?)
    • Take your baby to a quiet place so you can both enjoy the feeding and rest
    • Monitor feeding frequency and number of diapers to be sure baby is eating enough

    Listen to your Body

    • Drink when you are thirsty. Your body must be well hydrated to make milk.
    • Eat when you are hungry. Keep snack foods handy (fruit, crackers, juice, yogurt, cheese)
    • Rest when you are tired. Too much running around can decrease your milk supply
    • Take a 30-minute power nap at least once a day to keep up your supply

    Holiday Hints

    • Make a list of all you normally do and cut it in half  (what is really important to you?)
    • Let someone else play hostess this year, you can return the favor next year
    • Ask your best friend or mom to clean your house as your Christmas present this year
    • Avoid long shopping trips and crowded malls (‘tis the cold and flu season)
    • Give gift certificates or family pictures as gift this year
    • Shop online (everyone else does)

    Maintaining Your Milk Supply

    • Don’t go longer than 4 hours between nursing sessions during the day
    • Drink and eat frequently to keep your body well fueled
    • Rest when the baby rests. Cuddle with the baby to enhance your milk flow
    • Pump your breasts for each missed feeding (if more than 4 hours since last feed)
    • If your supply decreases: feed more frequently, increase fluids, and rest
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol (these tend to dehydrate the body)

    Call your Lactation Consultant for any difficulties with Breastfeeding (324-5730)

    TMC is proud to be the only hospital in Southern Arizona to receive the prestigious global IBCLC Care Recognition Award for its outstanding Breastfeeding Support Program. 

    You can find out more about Susan here.

    Originally posted on November 28, 2011 by 

    Six Tips for Pumping Exclusively

    Breastmilk, the perfect food for your baby. But what if you’re unable to nurse? The milk is there, but because of circumstance or physiology, nursing isn’t an option. Perhaps your baby was premature and not able yet to latch, or in the NICU. Perhaps your baby has a cleft palate, or is tongue tied, maybe you have inverted nipples. For many women here in the US, the early return to the work place after giving birth precipitates early introduction of bottle feeding sometimes to the detriment of breastfeeding. There are a multitude of reasons why a mother may have to pump exclusively.  Our lactation consultants can help. In this post Daisy Eickhoff, IBCLC, provides these tips:

    1. Pumping the breasts to give expressed milk to baby instead of breastfeeding requires a commitment of time and a GOOD double electric breast pump(These can be bought or rented from theDesert Cradle).

    2. Pumping routines should follow the baby’s feeding pattern and in the first months requires mother to pump 8 – 10 times each day with no more then 5 hoursbetween pumping sessions once each 24 hours.

    3. Milk can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days but once baby has had some from the bottle it cannot be saved for a later feeding.

    Breast milk can also be stored in the freezing compartment of your refrigerator, thawed quickly and given to baby. It is best to freeze in small quantities of from 2 – 4 oz so it thaws quickly.

    4. Always label the breast milk so you use the older milk first. Once the milk has been thawed it should be stored in the refrigerator and discarded 24 hours later if not used.

    5. Breast milk out of the refrigerator can be warmed by placing the bottle in a cup of hot water – NEVER warm in the microwave.

    6. Keep your breast pump kit parts clean and wash soon after each use. Breast milk is a protein and can dry on the plastic parts of the pump making it very difficult to get the pump clean. Clean with hot soaping water and rinse well letting dry in the air in a clean area. You may want to sterilize your pump parts occasionally; there are microwave bags for this if your pump kit parts cannot be placed in a dishwasher.

    There are occasions when milk supply declines sometimes due to stressors in mother’s life, illness, change in normal routines, or addition of birth control pills. Progesterone only birth control pills are less likely to affect milk supply. If you should experience a decrease in your milk supply, try the following things: Pump more frequently, keep yourself well hydrated, well nourished and perhaps decrease commitments that are stressing you. Take a day for yourself and baby and pump, pump, pump.

    Tucson Medical Center  was awarded the International Board of Lactation Constultant Examiners and the International Lactation Consultant Association  Care Award, for the excellence demonstrated in staffing International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) as part of your maternal-child health care team, and for breastfeeding activities  that demonstrate promotion, protection, and support of breastfeeding. Including dedicated care by IBCLCs provides premier breastfeeding support by highly skilled health professions for the families at TMC.  The project that assisted in our achieving this award was the Neonatal Intensive Care Breastfeeding Follow-Up Program.

    Reposted from TMC for Children. 

    World Breastfeeding Week – Breastfeeding in Public

    “I’ve breastfed all over the world including in the Vatican,” Olga Ryan, of El Rio Birth and Women’s Center recalls, “the only place I was told to take it behind closed doors was in Tucson.”

    Photo used with permission from Life Aglow Photography

    Olga Ryan
    Photo used with permission from Life Aglow Photography

    This experience where another woman suggesting that there was something shameful about breastfeeding and a bittersweet experience at a local bakery (the owner shared that they were glad to see her breastfeeding as it was something he didn’t see often in his adopted home of the United States), lends a personal perspective to Olga’s work. Along with her colleagues at El Rio Birth and Women’s Center and at TMC for Women, Olga works to normalize breastfeeding within our community.  To that end, this week we’re celebrating World Breastfeeding Week.

    What’s the purpose of a World Awareness Week? Why is it important?

    Susan Dennis on the right with fellow TMC IBCLC Lactation Consultants

    Susan Dennis with fellow TMC IBCLC Lactation Consultants

    Susan Dennis, IBCLC Lactation Consultant at TMC for Women explains,

    The success of Breastfeeding relies on multiple levels of support and care for new moms. World Breastfeeding Week helps highlight the need for public awareness. When breastfeeding is viewed as the normal way to feed babies, then our society will become more accepting and supportive of breastfeeding in the community.

    Women should not feel like they have to hide behind closed doors to feed their children in the healthiest food they can provide. And that concept, that breast milk is the healthiest food for an infant, that breast milk and formula are not equal is one that Olga states many women don’t realize, “Too many people think that breastfeeding and formula are equal. Formula is sometimes life saving and sometimes medically indicated, but it is not an equal replacement for breastfeeding.”

    In the 2011 Surgeon General’s Call to Action in support of Breastfeeding these facts about breastfeeding are shared:

    Health benefits of breastfeeding:

    • Breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections and pneumonia.
    • Breastfed babies are less likely to develop asthma.
    • Children who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese.
    • Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
    • Mothers who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

    Economic benefits of breastfeeding:

    • Families who follow optimal breastfeeding practices can save between $1,200–$1,500 in expenditures on infant formula in the first year alone.
    • A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that if 90% of US families followed guidelines to breastfeed exclusively for six months, the U.S. would annually save $13 billion from reduced medical and other costs.
    • For both employers and employees, better infant health means fewer health insurance claims, less employee time off to care for sick children and higher productivity. 
    • Mutual of Omaha found that health care costs for newborns are three times lower for babies whose mothers participate in the company’s employee maternity and lactation program.

    From: The Surgeon General’s Call to Action Support for Breastfeeding Fact Sheet accessed August 1, 2013

    Why do we need events like the World Breastfeeding Week?  Why not just provide that information privately?
    Today, the vast majority of new mothers in the United States attempt to breastfeed their babies,  but after a few months the drop off in breastfeeding is considerable. At one year, the World Health Organization recommends two years, just 27 percent of babies are being breastfed in the US.  Challenges in continuing to breastfeed lie within our community, the workplace, behind societal barriers, and even within our families. Luckily, we can find the support to tear down those barriers there too.

    Olga explains that, “Events like the Big Latch On provide the community at large with an opportunity to see the range of what is normal when it comes to breastfeeding, from infant to children of seven years old. From expressing of milk for a child with a cleft palate, to pumping, to breastfeeding and to the use of a SNS (Supplemental Nursing System).”  Such events, and peer support groups, provide the support that might once have been provided by generations of women within a family. Today that generational knowledge may not exist as the rates of breastfeeding declined from the 1930s to all time low in 1971 here in the US  when only a quarter of new mothers initiated breastfeeding at hospital discharge ( Wolf, J.H. 2003) . “A lot of families who didn’t breast feed don’t know how to express support for breastfeeding women. They (events like Big Latch On) surround women with positive affirmation to reassure women with self doubt and facing oppression.”  Olga shares.

    Despite efforts starting in the 1970s to support and increase rates of breastfeeding, attitudes about and messages to women who breastfeed are often still negative. Images of women nursing children are taken down from popular social media sites for indecency, while the same site may allow images more sexual in nature and just as revealing to be shown with no penalty. Women are asked or told to feed their children in bathrooms, but a scantily clad individual is not required to cover up. The message comes across clear, there is still a significant portion of the society who struggle to accept the image of a woman as a mother nursing her child for what it is, “the most elemental link of a mother to a child”.

    Not only do nursing women need support from other women and their families, but also from health care providers. Susan Dennis addresses how health care providers can and are helping:

    We can offer classes, evidenced-based information, community events promoting breastfeeding to all pregnant women. During the post partum period it is especially important for women to be surrounded by supportive health care providers, family, and friends. Breastfeeding support groups through hospitals, birth centers, and La Leche League allow new moms to get peer support and assistance by trained advocates of breastfeeding.

    The “10 Steps to Successful Breastfeeding” outlines the pathway to increased exclusive breastfeeding and longer duration of Breastfeeding in our society.

    Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding

    1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
    2. Train all health care staff in the skills necessary to implement this policy.
    3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
    4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
    5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
    6. Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated.
    7. Practice rooming in – allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
    8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
    9. Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or birth center.

    Wolf, J. H. Low Breastfeeding Rates and Public Health in the United States, Am J Public Health. 2003 December; 93(12): 2000–2010.