Breastfeeding – 10 ways you can support the new mama in your life

10 ways dads can help 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:

How to provide 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]

Back to Work – Breastfeeding in the workplace

Making the transition back to work after your maternity leave ends can be difficult, especially switching to pumping. Our lactation consultants provide these tips for success once you’re back at work:

  • When you’re away from your baby, pump every 2-3 hours or as much as possible
  • Breastfeed just before you leave for work and as soon as you get home again
  • Help your milk expression by having pictures of your baby with you; record the sounds of your baby on your cell phone or voicemail and listen to those while pumping
  • Try to create a relaxing atmosphere in which to pump. Closing your eyes, breathing deeply and relaxing will help with expression of milk
  • Massage your breasts before and during the middle of the pumping session
  • End your pump session with hand expression to aid breast drainage
  • When home, feed your baby on demand to help maintain your supply
  • Keep talking with your employer/supervisor about what is working and what isn’t
  • Remember breastfeeding and pumping is an organic thing, be flexible
  • Dr. Jack Newman provides many resources for breastfeeding moms. This link includes techniques for expressing milk successfully when you’re away from your baby.

As a working mom, you have many responsibilities, and it may be challenging to keep up your milk supply. Food, drink and lots of cuddling with your baby, in addition to frequent breastfeeding on your days off, will help maintain your supply. Remember, you are doing a great job. Call our Breastfeeding Support Program (520) 324-5730 if you have any questions.

Sign up for Breastfeeding Basics – A class for expectant mothers to support them on the breastfeeding journey

We’d love to hear your input. If you’ve already breastfed and made the transition back to the work place can you share a little of your experience? How did you make it work? What challenges did you face? Did you have a particularly positive experience with an employer? Give kudos to them.

Useful resources:

At TMC for Women

  • TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Program – Call (520) 324-5730
  • TMC for Women’s Breastfeeding Support Group – Mondays, 10-11:30am in the Canyon Conference Room near the Southeast Entrance.
  • Tucson Medical Center has lactation rooms for its staff on the postpartum unit. Contact the Breastfeeding Support Program for more information

Online

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.

 

 

Pregnant? Set the stage for breastfeeding before your due date

You work.
You’re about to have a baby.
You plan to breastfeed.
You plan to continue to breastfeed when you go back to work.
Now, just how is that going to work?

Despite all the known benefits of breastfeeding for the health and well-being of our children, many of us face barriers and challenges when we return to work that derail our efforts to continue to breastfeed. Here are some tips from our lactation consultants about actions you can take while you’re pregnant and still working to make things easier upon your return to the workplace.

 

Set the Stage-Before Your Due Date

Before your due date talk to your employer or supervisor about your plans to breastfeed and the positive implications for your workplace if you’re able to continue to breastfeed and to express milk when you return to work:

  • Lower health care costs for both mother and child. Breastfed babies have lower rates of infection and illness and breastfeeding has positive implications for mothers too, including lower rates of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • Lower absentee rates
  • Higher employee morale (and so productivity) and positive view of a “family-friendly” employer.
  • Retention of experienced employee

It is also useful to know the legal requirement of employers to be supportive. The Healthcare Reform Act (Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act) made clear the responsibility of all employers to provide suitable (private, not a bathroom) space and reasonable time for mothers to express their milk multiple times a day without interruption. You can find more information about the federal law here.

Make a plan

Before your due date, come up with a plan with your employer or supervisor to make pumping successful. Your plan should include:

  • The location of a private, non-bathroom space, where you will not be disturbed or viewed while you express milk.
  • How your work schedule will allow you two to three approximately 15 minute (plus travel time) breaks every work day.
  • Where you will be able to store your breast milk. Susan suggests a cooler that you can take to and from work.
  • Where you will be able to store and clean your breast pumping equipment.
  • How you might modify your schedule at the beginning to ease into being away from your baby. If possible, see if you can return to work for reduced hours the first few weeks or starting in the middle of your work week so that you have less time away from baby the first week back.

Once you have agreed upon a plan, write it down and share a copy with your employer and supervisor.

Don’t forget to tap into a powerful resource, your colleagues. Is there someone in your workplace who breastfed their children? Or whose partner breastfed? Can this person be a champion for you?

Sign up for Breastfeeding Basics – A class for expectant mothers to support them on the breastfeeding journey

Until we have a child and start to breastfeed, we may be oblivious to those in our workplace who were forging the way with regard to breastfeeding and working. These colleagues may be able to offer support and practical solutions for your specific workplace.

If you work at a site with a human resources office you may wish to check in with the folks there, first, as there may be a site-based program to support you. The Business Case for Breastfeeding from Womenshealth.gov provides a wealth of information your human resources or employer can use. Among other items this document includes a list of myths and facts that you may wish to arm yourself with in case your employer or supervisor has concerns.

Jawna and Finn – Finding support for breastfeeding at TMC for Women

Jawna and Finn, breastfeeding and lactation consultants at TMCFor six years Jawna Stickney has helped mamas welcome their babies into the world at Tucson Medical Center. When it came to her first child she had no doubt where she was going to give birth, “I had that peace of mind and that trust that comes from working with the staff at Tucson Medical Center” … “I would never deliver at any other hospital.”

“Giving birth can be nerve wrecking for first time moms. As a labor and delivery nurse, I really enjoy being part of someone’s life-changing experience, providing them with support and comfort. When I gave birth to my son, I had the ability to look over at the monitors and see that baby was fine, and to know we were both in good hands with my coworkers.”

While Jawna’s medical education and experience provided her with an added advantage when it came to childbirth, breastfeeding was another matter.

“The lactation consultants were life savers. Finn had some trouble latching on and so I asked for some one-on-one support from the lactation experts.”

Finn was tongue-tied. The tissue that connected his tongue to his mouth didn’t allow him to move his tongue so that he could nurse. While some infants can still nurse if they are tongue-tied or others may need a simple surgical procedure called a frenotomy which can be done with or without anesthesia, Finn’s tongue-tie was more significant. Finn was referred to Dr. William LaMear of Tucson Ear, Nose and Throat. At just ten days old he went into the operating room to have corrective surgery.

“As soon as he came around after the surgery he latched on. No problems. Breastfeeding was 100 percent better than before surgery. Because Finn was so young we had to stay in the Pediatric unit overnight. The lactation consultants came over to the Pediatric unit to help Finn and me.”

What breastfeeding support is available at TMC for Women

Before baby:

In the hospital:

  • Nursing assistance during your hospital stay, offered seven days a week
  • The Desert Cradle hospital-based shop offers electric breast pump rentals and sales, nursing and newborn products

After baby:

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

  • Outpatient Breastfeeding Support Clinic with an IBCLC*-certified nurse (by appointment only).

For more information on any of these services, please call (520)324-5730.

*International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

“I was able to exclusively breastfeed Finn because of the support I received from the lactation consultants and the lactation support group. “

Finn continued to nurse for 19 months. Jawna’s advice to new moms: “Go to the TMC breastfeeding support group and ask for help from the lactation specialists.”

Finn was two years this month, and Jawna is due on October 28 with her second child.

“This pregnancy is so different from my first. If I was tired or nauseated before, I could rest or do whatever I wanted. In some ways, having Finn made my first trimester easier this time around, because I had no time to sulk or bask in morning sickness.”

Jawna knows if breastfeeding proves challenging with her second child she will be back at the support group. “Breastfeeding has a learning curve. I knew nothing about breastfeeding with Finn. He was learning how to nurse and I was learning how to breastfeed. This time, the baby will be learning, but I will have the knowledge gained while nursing Finn.”

Join us for Breast is Best: Breastfeeding Techniques for Success

October 4, 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. The Core at La Encantada

TMC Lactation Consultants Bev Carico, RN, IBCLC, and Asa Lader, RN, IBCLC, for a free engaging presentation and Q&A on breastfeeding resources available at TMC.  Knowing all of your options can help you have a successful breastfeeding journey! Register today.

 

TMC Lactation Services receives prestigious award for breastfeeding support

Tucson Medical Center was recognized for excellence in lactation care recently by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and International Lactation Consultant Association.

Only those programs that employ lactation consultants five to seven days a week and provide yearly education to medical staff based on evidence-based guidelines are eligible for the recognition. In addition, the program must have completed a project in the previous two years that has the goal of protecting, promoting and supporting breastfeeding.

The TMC Lactation Services team – the only recipient of the award in Southern Arizona – established as its project an Outpatient Breastfeeding Support Clinic to meet the lactation needs of the community, including those unable to afford services.

A $30,000 grant from the TMC Foundation helped make possible the opening of the Lactation Outpatient Clinic in September 2015. The clinic serves new mothers in Southern Arizona who need additional help with breastfeeding after release from the hospital. TMC staff members, all of whom are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants, staff the clinic, providing one-on-one assistance for breastfeeding needs and challenges.

In 2016, 406 women and infants were assisted to establish and maintain breastfeeding.  These women exceeded national breastfeeding goals established by Healthy People 2020. Outpatient clinic clients accomplished an exclusive breastfeeding rate of 70 percent at 3 months compared with the national goal of just above 46 percent. And the gains at six months were no less impressive, with 55 percent of mothers nursing at 6 months – more than double the national goal.

“TMC is honored to achieve this recognition of the work done to advance nursing,” said Damiana Cohen, manager of the Mother-Baby Unit. “The success we’ve had with our mothers demonstrates the impact that professional help makes on extending the amount of time that a newborn exclusively breastfeeds.”


Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461