Iowa Specialty Hospital

Maternity Center: Breastfeeding

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Congratulations! Having a new baby is a very exciting time. You want to give your newborn the very best start. While breastfeeding is a personal choice, it delivers a lot of perks - for moms and little ones alike.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), breastfeeding may protect babies against several conditions, from diarrhea and respiratory tract infection to diabetes and childhood obesity. Benefits for moms also include decreased postpartum bleeding, early return to pre-pregnancy weight, and lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

Human milk contains the perfect balance of nutrients, is easy for your baby to digest and can boost the immune system. Breastfeeding proves challenging at times, especially for new moms. To help ensure your success Iowa Specialty Breastfeeding Center offers these tips:

  • Mother breastfeeding baby.Be Aware of Your Baby’s Hunger Cues
    Cues include restlessness, bringing hands to face or mouth, sucking motions and lip movements. For the first few weeks, most babies breastfeed every 2 to 3 hours.
  • Get Comfortable
    Support yourself with pillows. Cradle your baby close to your breast, or try some other common breastfeeding positions until you find one that suits you both.
  • Encourage Proper Latch On and Sucking
    With an effective latch-on, you should feel a gentle pulling sensation on your breast, but not pinching or a tight feeling.
  • Breastfeed on Both Sides
    Let your baby feed from one breast thoroughly (until your breast feels soft).  Try burping baby briefly after each side. Offer the second breast with each feeding. Baby may not always take both sides but should be offered. Alternate which side you start the feeding on. If baby will only feed on one side, then begin pumping the other side with each feeding to preserve your milk supply. 
  • Understand the Role of Pacifiers
    The AAP strongly advises exclusive breastfeeding for at least 6 months. Exclusive breastfeeding means that your baby has only breastmilk for 6 months. That means giving your baby human milk from your breast or from bottles. The AAP advises using pacifiers to decrease the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) when baby is sleeping. For breastfeeding mothers, the AAP advises waiting until breastfeeding is well-established. Then the pacifier is not replacing the feeding. Well-established breastfeeding means: your baby can easily latch on, the latch is comfortable to you with no cracks or bleeding, and your baby is back to birth weight or weighs more than at birth.
  • Take Good Care of Yourself
    That means eating a healthy diet, drinking plenty of fluids, moderate amounts of caffeine, resting as much as possible, quitting smoking and avoiding secondhand smoke, and checking with a health care provider about any medications you’re taking. If your nipples are dry or cracked, apply breastmilk or purified lanolin to help with healing, as well as fixing the latch - deeper (more breast in mouth).
  • Keep Your Chin Up
    If breastfeeding is frustrating or going slower than you anticipated, try not to be too hard on yourself. Hang in there. Seek out a lactation consultant, nurse, or doctor for guidance (particularly if your baby isn’t gaining weight or you experience pain with every feeding).
  • Speak Up and Seek Support
    Don’t hesitate to ask questions or express any concerns with your nurse, your doctor, your hospital lactation consultant or other moms, family and friends.
  • Take a Class
    Iowa Specialty Breastfeeding Center offers breastfeeding classes every other month. A breastfeeding class will give you time to learn more about breastfeeding, ask questions you may have, and develop a relationship with the lactation consultant. Your support person is encouraged to come. Use the links below to learn more and to sign up for a breastfeeding class.

Listen to our Podcast “Let’s DISH About Breastfeeding” with Karin Semans

Learn more about our childbirth and breastfeeding classes.

View our event calendar to sign up for a class.

Mother's Milk Bank of Iowa

If you have the gift of surplus milk, you may donate it to the Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa to help other babies (many who are vulnerable, fragile, sick, born prematurely), by satisfying their hunger and saving their lives. If you have experienced a loss and want to help other babies, you may also gift your milk to the Milk Bank. There is a prescreening process. If you are interested, please click on the following link for further information.

Iowa Specialty Hospital is a depot or drop-off location. Once you have completed the milk donor screening process, you may bring your frozen milk for donation to Iowa Specialty Hospital – Clarion and we will coordinate with Mother’s Milk Bank of Iowa. 


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