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Prenatal, birth and parenting classes are available through the Love and Learn Program, Bon Secours’ education program for parents. For more information or to register, please visit www.bonsecoursforwomen.com or call (804) 340-BABY.

Bon Secours Classes:

  • Breastfeeding Basics (Women Only): Taught by certified lactation consultants and certification eligible nurses. Class topics include detailed information on the benefits and process of breastfeeding, returning to work, potential problems, milk collection and storage.
  • Breastfeeding Basics (Couples): Taught by certified lactation consultants and certification eligible nurses, this co-ed class is the place to learn those tips that make breastfeeding successful. Class topics include detailed information on the benefit and process of breastfeeding, returning to work, potential problems, milk collection and storage. Dad or support partner is encouraged to attend. 
  • Breastfeeding Basics for Teens: In this class for teens ages 15-19, we will cover the benefits of breastfeeding, the breastfeeding process and the different holding positions, returning to work and school, potential problems, milk collection and storage.

A Woman’s Place:

  • A Woman’s Place provides telephone support for general breastfeeding questions and individual consultations for more in-depth breastfeeding concerns. It also offers support groups that meet on a regular basis and are led by lactation consultants to offer mother-to-mother interaction and encouragement. Call (804) 545-1665 to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Why you should breastfeed:

  • A mother’s milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein needed for a baby’s growth and development.
  • Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk rather than formula.
  • Breast milk contains antibodies that help protect infants from bacteria and viruses, as well helping them fight off infection and disease.
  • Human milk straight from the breast is always sterile.
  • Breastfeeding saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure or mix formula and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night.
  • Breastfeeding helps a mother bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
  • Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose pounds gained from pregnancy.
  • It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size more quickly and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.
  • Breastfeeding may lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancers. **
  • Breast milk is the best food for babies during the first year of life. Studies show that breast fed children have fewer ear infections, lower respiratory and urinary tract infections than formula fed children. Diarrhea also occurs less often. ***
  • Adult women who were breast fed as infants may have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who were not breast fed, unless they were first-born, study findings suggest. *

Tips for Successful Breastfeeding:

  • Nurse early and often. Try to breastfeed your baby within the first hours after birth. Newborns need to nurse frequently, at least every 2-3 hours, and not on a strict schedule. This stimulates your breasts to produce plenty of milk.
  • Nurse with the nipple and the areola (brown area surrounding the nipple) in the baby’s mouth, not just the nipple.
  • Breastfeed on demand. Since breast milk is more easily digested than formula, breast fed babies eat more often than bottle fed babies. Babies nurse less often as they get older and start solid foods. Watch your baby, not the clock, for signs of hunger, such as being more alert or active, mouthing (putting hands and fists to mouth and making sucking motion with mouth), or rooting (turning head in search for nipple). Crying is a late sign of hunger. **
Medications:
Know what medications you are taking or may have to take after the birth, and how they will affect your baby through your breast milk.
Talk with your health care provider about their safety and about possible alternative treatments that won’t affect the baby.
If you become ill while breastfeeding and have to take a medication, tell your health care provider that you are breastfeeding. It may be possible to temporarily pump or discard your milk while taking the medication. **

Family Support:

  • Fathers and other special support persons can be involved in the breastfeeding experience. Breastfeeding is more than a way to feed a baby, it becomes a lifestyle.
  • Fathers or support persons play a major role in the breastfeeding experience by being sensitive, supportive and encouraging the healthy relationship.
  • They can affirm their love, approval and appreciation for the mother’s work and time she puts into breastfeeding, and encourage her when she is feeling tired or discouraged.
  • They can also be good listeners and provide understanding to the mother’s and baby’s needs to accommodate breastfeeding in the home or when traveling.
  • Fathers and support persons also can help when the mother begins to wean the baby from breastfeeding by giving emotional nourishment to the child through playing, cuddling and giving a bottle/cup. **

Going Back to Work/Pumping:

  • No matter what type of job you have, if you go back to work after having your baby, it should be possible for you to take time to pump your breast milk.
  • You can talk with your employer about why breastfeeding is important, why pumping is necessary, and how you can fit pumping into your work schedule.
  • Pumping while away from your baby on the same schedule that he or she breastfeeds ensures that you keep up your milk supply to meet your baby’s needs. Speak with a certified lactation consultant before renting or purchasing a pump to determine which pump is most appropriate for you.
  • If you are staying home to care for your baby, having an effective pump at home is also helpful. You can use it to help relieve engorgement, especially when your milk supply first comes in, or for when you need to be away from your baby for any amount of time, such as an evening out.
  • The number of times you will need to pump your milk depends on the length of time you are away from your baby. But, it is usually not best to go for more than three hours without removing some milk from your breast.
  • Pumping takes about the same time as breastfeeding. The let-down reflex is important during pumping in order to express a good amount of milk.
  • If you are having problems getting your milk to “let-down” at the start of pumping, you may find it helpful to have a picture of your baby close by. You also can try other things to stimulate the let-down reflex, like applying a warm, moist compress to the breast, gently massaging the breasts, or just sitting quietly and thinking of a relaxing setting. Try to clear your head of stressful thoughts. Use a comfortable chair or pillows. Once you begin expressing your milk, think about your baby. **

Storing Breast Milk:
Any container used to store milk should be clean and designed expressly for breast milk storage. Always try to leave an inch or so from the milk to the top of the container since frozen milk expands. After pumping your milk, it is helpful to label the storage container. Always use the oldest dated milk first. Colostrum, or the first milk expressed in the first few days after delivery, can be stored at room temperature for up to 12 hours. Mature milk or breast milk that comes in six days after birth can be stored in the following ways:

Breastmilk Storage Guidelines

Room
Temperature

Cooler with 3 Frozen Ice Packs

Refrigerator

Self-contained Refrigerator
Freezer Unit

Deep Freezer

Freshly
expressed
breastmilk

4 hours
at 66-72°F
(19-22°C)

24 hours
at 59°F
(15°C)

5-7 days
at 32-39°F
(0°C)

3-4
Months

6-12
months
at 0°F
(-19°C)

Thawed
breastmilk
(previously frozen)

Do not
Store

Do not
Store

24 hours

Never
refreeze
thawed
milk

Never refreeze thawed
milk

©2008 Medela Inc.
 

Clothing:

  • You don’t have to buy a new wardrobe to breastfeed. While no extravagant “breastfeeding clothing” is necessary, you should try to wear clothing that will make breastfeeding and/or pumping easier.
  • Wearing a one-piece dress or jumper is not as convenient as a blouse or two-piece outfit.
  • Nursing bras and nursing clothing, like blouses that have hidden openings near your chest, are available.
  • You can buy disposable or cloth breastfeeding pads to line your bra. These help prevent any leaking from soaking through your clothes. The disposable pads can be thrown away. The cloth pads can be tossed in the washing machine and used again.
  • If you want to breastfeed your baby in public, you can use a receiving blanket or a specially designed nursing cover that discreetly covers your chest and your baby’s body. **

Knowing Your Baby Is Getting Enough Milk:

  • During the first few days the baby will be very sleepy, so don’t expect the baby to wake up when he or she is hungry. You will have to wake the baby about every 2-3 hours to feed him or her.
  • At first, you will be feeding the baby colostrum. Even though it looks like only a small amount, typically this is the only food your baby needs until your mature milk has come in.
  • You can tell your baby is getting enough milk by keeping track of the number of wet and dirty diapers. In the first days, when your milk is low in volume and high in nutrients, your baby will only have 1 or 2 wet diapers a day. After your milk supply has increased, your baby should have 5 to 6 wet diapers and 3 to 4 dirty diapers every day. Consult your pediatrician if you are concerned about your baby’s weight gain. **

Works Consulted:
*www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/breastfeeding.html#cat1>.
** www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/Breastfeeding.pdf>.
*** www.marchofdimes.com/pnhec/298_1061.asp>.

 

Bon Secours | Helping you build a Lasting Bond

 

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