Every August we recognize National Breastfeeding Month. Healthcare professionals strongly recommend breastfeeding exclusively for at least six months after a child is born. Not only does research show that breastfeeding boost your baby’s physical and mental development, it also often protects the mother’s health. Dr. Kersha Pennicott, Westmed pediatrician and certified lactation consultant, helps families with their breastfeeding journeys. Here are 5 things Dr. Pennicott wants you to know about breastfeeding:
- Breasts make more milk when milk is removed, and supply drops if milk isn’t removed. It’s all about supply and demand. So if your baby gets a bottle, you should pump or hand express at that feed to protect your supply.
- Expect to breastfeed on demand in the first few weeks. Newborns will often want to cluster feed (eating very frequently every hour for a few hours) and that is normal! Learn to follow their feeding cues.
- Don’t pump and dump without getting an expert opinion. Very few medications are incompatible with breastfeeding. A great resource is the MommyMeds app which uses up to date evidence based information on medication safety during breastfeeding. It also has the number for the Infant Risk Center Helpline (806-352-2519) where any parent can call and ask questions about if they need to pump/dump. Of course, if you still have you have any concerns please check with your pediatrician.
- Breastfeeding should not be painful. A painful latch often means a shallow latch causing the nipple to get pinched. Seeking out help from a lactation consultant and your pediatrician can help you achieve a deep latch without pain.
- Get support EARLY from your family, friends and community. It truly takes a village. Your pediatrician and OB/GYN are available to help you achieve a successful breastfeeding relationship. You are NOT alone!
Westmed Women’s Health and Pediatrics departments are offering complimentary virtual breastfeeding classes to Westmed patients as part of an effort to promote the many benefits of breastfeeding. Offered in partnership with The Parent Collective, these classes are designed to provide Westmed patients evidence-based information on how to breastfeed and are intended to help them get off to the best possible start. For more information and to find the next available class, please visit here.