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


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:



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.



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.


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.

    Work and Breastfeeding -Yes You Can!

    If you’re heading back to work and planning on pumping to provide breast milk for your child here are some tips to support your pumping from our lactation consultants:

    • Get help early and often until breastfeeding is going smoothly.
    • Try to delay returning to work until six weeks after delivery, and longer, if possible, since the work of breastfeeding lessens around this time.
    • A quality breast pump that fits well around the nipples and provides various adequate pressures and variable speeds can help a mother extract her milk more efficiently.
    • Learn to “let down” to the pump: warm compresses, warm flanges (the plastic funnels that come with the pump), massage and hand expression can help your milk flow out more easily. Use visualization, scents, imagery and distraction to aid relaxation.
    • A breastfeeding mother can hand express before and after pumping sessions to collect more milk.
      Click to watch Stanford School of Medicine’s 10-minute video “How to Use Your Hands When You Pump” for ways to increase milk production without medication. (
    • Get breastfeeding off to a good start by working on problems with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, or IBCLC, who can help you with difficulty latching, pain or low milk supply.

    tips for working breastfeeding moms, work and breastfeeding

    Not sure you are pumping enough milk?

    It’s a common concern for mothers who are breastfeeding. Our lactation consultants suggest that you track your numbers for a week.
    • How much milk did you pump or hand express in that week?
    • How much breast milk did your baby drink while you were at work that week?
    • How many times did you move your milk (breastfeed, pump or hand express) per day during that week?

    Add in more pump sessions if you are not meeting your goal. If you need more milk, power pump once a day — pump 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off several times in a row.

    Daycare Tips:

    • Try not to have baby fed within the hour of mom returning from work.
    • Give a small snack to hold baby off until mom gets back to baby for feeding.
    • Pace bottle feeding to increase the length of bottle feeding to about 20 minutes.

    Worried about pumping while at work? Read this post about why supporting breastfeeding mothers is good for business.

    Tucson Medical Center Breastfeeding Support Program (520) 324-5730

    At TMC for Women

    TMC Breastfeeding Support Services is dedicated to helping you meet your breastfeeding goals, whether you deliver at TMC or somewhere else. We serve clients at all stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding. Our lactation consultants are all internationally board-certified hospital-based nurses who ensure that new moms receive the most up-to-date care. We are dedicated to helping you achieve breastfeeding success, before, during and after your delivery.
    TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Program – Call 324-5730
    TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Group – Every Monday from 10-11:30am in the Canyon Conference Room near the SouthEast entrance.


    La Leche League’s Work and Breastfeeding provides lots of great articles on the topic provides a host of information for both employers and employees
    In the Literature:
    The Milk Memos – At times hilarious, sometimes poignant and always insightful resource that started as a plea from one new mom sitting in a lactation room at IBM to whoever might be also using the lactation room.

    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.

    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]

    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 

    Breastfeeding, Radiation and Breast Health – Guest Post by Gillian Drummond

    In this second blog post by guest blogger Komen Southern Arizona’s Gillian Drummond taps into TMC for Women’s Breast Center for answers on common questions about breast health. This is the second installment in a series by Gillian. 

    Breast cancer, and breasts, for that matter, is a subject a rife with questions. And not all of them have easy answers. At a meeting of Komen Southern Arizona staff last month, we got talking, and bandying around some common questions we hear:

    “Is the radiation level in a mammogram dangerous?”

    “Does breastfeeding really prevent your chances of getting breast cancer?”

    “If I have a boob job, how does that affect mammograms and breast self exams?”

    So we decided to address them, one by one, on our website.

    Our first port of call for the first question we wanted to pose was TMC for Women’s Breast Center, where the staff is better than any Dr. Google you might come across. So here’s our first question – and hopefully some helpful answers.

    Does breastfeeding really reduce the risk of breast cancer?

    Studies show that it does. Women with a family history of breast cancer have been shown to be 59% less likely to develop breast cancer if they breastfed their children.

    Why? During lactation you have fewer menstrual cycles, which reduces estrogen exposure – a common cause of breast cancer. Others have suggested that the changes breast cells undergo during breastfeeding may make them more resistant to cancer-related mutations.

    Does it matter how long I breastfeed for?

    While some reports say the length of time a woman breastfeeds is irrelevant in terms of protection against breast cancer, other experts say the longer the better. “Ideally it’s one year or more,” says Karen Narum, nurse practitioner at TMC’s Women’s Health and TMC’s Breast Center, which receives funding from Komen Southern Arizona. “A year gives the child increased immunity [to illness] and statistics show it decreases your risk for breast cancer.”

    Next month: “How does having a ‘boob job’ affect mammograms or breast self exams?”

    You can follow our monthly health questions on our website,  And if you have any you’d like us to answer, email Gillian at