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Working through the Challenges of Breastfeeding
8/1/2019 1:00:00 PM
Challenges of Breastfeeding

Although the experience is unique for each person, most moms who breastfeed agree is it one of the best decisions they made. 

Breast milk has the unique combination of nutrients needed for each stage of a baby’s growth and it provides a strong bond between mother and baby.

With all of the benefits, it’s no surprise that many women choose to breastfeed. Christa O’Neal, RN, Certified Lactation Counselor and Childbirth Educator at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital says she is available to help new mothers get a good start with breastfeeding. "New mothers go through so many emotions after the birth of their baby. They’re tired, excited, and overwhelmed, often all at the same time. They hear so much advice from friends and family and it’s hard to know what’s true.”

A strong support system is one of the best things for a breastfeeding mother. O’Neal educates and assists all mothers delivering at West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital who are interested in breastfeeding. She is also a resource after discharge if they have questions or need more assistance. 

"In addition to the one-on-one assistance, we also have a breastfeeding class in our prenatal education series. The class is beneficial for moms to get an idea of what breastfeeding will be like and the benefits it will provide to both mom and baby; but there’s really no way to understand it until you actually do it, and then the mom may have more questions and that’s expected,” O’Neal says. "That’s why we’re here.”

The best thing a nursing mom can do is to relax and communicate. "If breastfeeding is painful, let’s talk about what needs to change so it won’t hurt. If nursing doesn’t fit into the mother’s routine, we can look at other options such as pumping her breastmilk for future feedings. If the baby isn’t sleeping well, advice from well-meaning people may cause a new mom to think her milk isn’t meeting her baby’s needs,” explains O’Neal. "Some mothers think that breastfeeding is going to be difficult and they must endure frustration for six weeks before it gets better. In reality, there are a lot of problems that can be easily solved.”

Fatigue is one of the most common challenges for a breastfeeding new mom. Most find a solution in the early days after delivery of viewing breastfeeding time as break time. "Find a comfortable chair, relax, and enjoy a nutritious snack,” suggests O’Neal.

Newborns nurse often, but as the weeks pass, mom’s will fall into a comfortable routine, making things easier. About this time, moms get more comfortable with feedings and can integrate breastfeeding into a daily schedule.

"The technique of breastfeeding is worth figuring out so that the baby and the mother can gain the benefits,” O’Neal says.

"Because there are so many benefits, I encourage women to choose breastfeeding, knowing that we’re here to support them and answer any questions they may have,” says O’Neal. "In previous generations, women were more accessible to each other and the ‘village mentality’ provided a strong support system as women relied on each other for encouragement, answers and strength. Today, we’re still here for each other but it takes a little more effort to seek out solutions.”

West Calcasieu Cameron Hospital offers a monthly class on preparing for delivery and breastfeeding. Please call (337) 527-4361 for more information.

The benefits to the baby are numerous and include:

•     A strengthened immune system thanks 

      to antibodies passed from the mother

•     A reduced likelihood of ear infections

•     Fewer cavities later in life

•     Better overall health throughout life, including 

       lower blood pressure &lower risk of heart disease

Breastfeeding also does a mother’s body good, including:

•     Losing weight after the pregnancy because 

       nursing burns calories, between 

       200 and 500 per day

•     The return of the uterus to its pre-

       pregnancy size more quickly 

•     Less likely to develop osteoporosis, 

       diabetes and breast cancer later in life

•     Decreases risk of female cancers such 

       as breast, uterine, and ovarian

Posted by: Christine Fisher | Submit comment | Tell a friend

Categories: Parenting

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