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Experts from Avera Offer Moms Guidance during World Breastfeeding Week

Aug 02, 2019 08:25AM ● By MED Magazine

Breastfeeding moms realize the benefits that come with this natural approach to a newborn’s nutrition, but many also face a learning curve.

Breastmilk is proven to benefit both mother and baby because it can lower a child’s risk of a number of illnesses, including ear infections, stomach troubles, RSV and some long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes. World Breastfeeding Week is Aug. 1-7.

But for moms, especially those new to their role, patience is important.

“You and your child may hit some bumps while you get used to each other, and that’s normal,” said Barb Giles, RN, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center. “Breastfeeding specialists can meet with you to help you get past some of the challenges, such as latching problems, soreness and milk production. They can also teach you about proper positioning, breast pump selection and how they are used.”

Women learn over a few weeks what to expect in terms of milk production, said Giles. But it can take longer before breastfeeding feels natural and routine. “I always tell mothers the first couple of months is like a fourth trimester,” she said. “You need to adjust to being a new parent.”

The weeks after a baby is born can mean little sleep, plenty of worries and natural doubts that come with motherhood. Moms should look to spouses, friends and family for support.

“I think we have an assumption that breastfeeding is going to be very easy and very natural for all moms,” said Dawn Boender, MD, OB/GYN with Avera Medical Group Pierre. “We’re here to help and encourage moms, but I also tell them if they’re struggling not to get too stressed out about it.”

In addition to other benefits, breastfed babies have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends mothers breastfeed exclusively during the first six months; they should use the method combined with food until the child is at least 12 months old. 

For families who live some distance from a birthing center or hospital, Avera offers virtual breastfeeding and childbirth classes online, and lactation experts can follow up with outreach for breastfeeding families by telephone or using the AveraNow virtual visit telemedicine service. 

Avera McKennan breastfeeding experts can help any mom who needs it if they call 605-322-4490.