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Washington Hospital Celebrates Breastfeeding All Year Long

Washington Hospital Celebrates Breastfeeding All Year Long

You are about to have your first baby and have been busy preparing for the expansion of your family. But one thing still concerns you: breastfeeding. You need to learn more about it.

You’ve been told how beneficial it is for the baby—and for you—but you’ve also heard stories from friends about difficulties. What do you need to do to prepare for successful breastfeeding, and is there a source, other than books, to help you learn how to handle it?

Relax. Resources are available at Washington Hospital to give you the information you need to get started, and to help you during those early days/weeks if problems develop. The Hospital’s Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Program offers two-hour classes for prospective mothers as well as a free advice line and private consultations (which are covered by most insurance programs). Breast pump rentals also are available through the program. The program’s staff of internationally board-certified lactation consultants work with new mothers who are in the Hospital following birth. Mothers are encouraged to begin nursing within the first hour following birth, says Renee Montes, RN, one of the Hospital’s six lactation consultants.

“Milk comes in between days three and five, but it’s very important for mothers to begin nursing immediately,” she says. “Colostrum, which is very beneficial for the newborn, is already in the breast and those first nursing attempts help both the mother and new baby establish the nursing habit right away.

“We put the baby on the mother’s chest as soon as possible following birth. Unlimited skin to skin between feeding sessions significantly increases the chances of successful nursing,”

Montes adds. Breast milk is organic with no additives or preservatives. It is scientifically proven to provide antibodies that keep nursing babies healthy. Breastfed babies have fewer ear and respiratory infections and are less likely to become obese or develop asthma or allergies.

Mothers who breastfeed also receive health benefits, such as quicker postpartum weight loss and a reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding is cost effective, too. Not only is breast milk free, a healthier breastfed baby requires fewer trips to the pediatrician, resulting in lower medical costs and less time off work for the parents.

Washington Hospital has been designated a Baby-Friendly hospital by the World Health Organization and UNICEF since 2014. The designation recognizes the Hospital’s dedication to offering the highest level of care for infant feeding and mother-baby bonding.

The month of August is World Breast Feeding Month and the first week of August is National Breastfeeding Week. For more information about Washington’s Breastfeeding and Lactation Support Program and its breastfeeding classes, call Washington Maternal Child Education at 510.818.5041, or visit the Childbirth and Family Services.