A Certified Lactation Consultant’s Top Tips for Breastfeeding Success

There are many reasons why breastfeeding is the ideal choice for most moms and babies, which is why the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months with continued breastfeeding, alongside appropriate foods, for one year or longer. Yet, only 25% of infants in the United States are exclusively breastfed at six months.

We asked Katy Boyd, BSN, RN, IBCLC, certified lactation consultant at Kettering Health’s First Steps Breastfeeding Center of Excellence, about the benefits of breastfeeding and her best tips for success.

What are some of the benefits of breastfeeding?

“Colostrum (the first milk that comes in after your baby is born) is often referred to as ‘liquid gold’ and babies’ first vaccine,” says Katy. “Colostrum has antibodies from mom that protect her newborn from illness and help her baby develop a strong immune system. Throughout the entire breastfeeding journey, a mother’s body continues to produce antibodies in her breastmilk that protect her baby from illness and disease.”

“In the long-term, breastfeeding lowers risks of disease and illness for mother and baby,” says Katy. “Babies who breastfeed have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), childhood obesity, diabetes, leukemia, asthma, and allergies. Breastfeeding also reduces the mother’s risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, depression, and diabetes.”

What are your top tips for breastfeeding success?

“Knowledge is power. Understanding the importance of skin-to-skin contact, nursing the first hour, and the cycle of breastmilk production can make a world of difference,” says Katy. “Breastfeeding classes for expecting parents, discussing your feeding goals with your primary care provider, and appointments with a certified lactation consultant can all improve your breastfeeding experience.”

It’s also important to have a support system and reach out for help as needed,” says Katy. “Attend a breastfeeding support group or contact your provider or a lactation consultant with the simplest questions—the reassurance you receive, whether over the phone, through an email, meeting one-on-one, or stopping in to use a scale to check your baby’s weight—will help reaffirm what you’re doing and encourage you to continue.”

The pressure to exclusively breastfeed can be overwhelming for new mothers and sometimes impact mental health. What is your guidance for the best overall health of both baby and mother?

“Breastfeeding is such a sensitive and personal choice,” says Katy. “We want to provide education and support mothers’ decisions regarding how to feed their baby. To support good mental health for clients, education regarding breastfeeding in prenatal classes, follow-up appointments with a lactation consultant, and involvement in a breastfeeding support group are all resources women can lean on to reach their personal goals.”

“This support includes guidance for moms who do not wish to direct breastfeed, but still give their baby expressed breast milk,” says Katy. “For those who choose to give their baby formula, we teach proper formula preparation and storage in conjunction with their pediatrician’s recommendations on the amount of formula to give their baby. 

“The goal of the lactation consultant is never to make life harder for new mothers, but to collaborate with their healthcare team and support parents in their nutrition goals for their baby,” says Katy. “If a plan is too stressful, then we will modify the plan. Feeding plans are unique. It is important to provide each family with the tools to meet their goals.”

Do mothers need a physician referral or to have delivered at a Kettering Health Maternity Center to schedule an appointment at Kettering Health’s First Steps Breastfeeding Center of Excellence?

“Any mother can schedule an appointment at First Steps Breastfeeding Center of Excellence,” says Katy. “Anyone can come to use our scales, schedule a one-on-one lactation consult, attend Konnect breastfeeding support group, and shop for nursing supplies. We are here to help every mom, whether they’re expecting, just beginning to breastfeed and struggling, or one year into their breastfeeding journey and looking to extend that.”

To talk to a lactation consultant at First Steps Breastfeeding Support Center, call (937) 401-6881

 

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