Doctors agree: Breast is best. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that infants be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. They recommend continued breastfeeding supplemented with solid foods until a baby is 2 years old and beyond.
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Breastfeeding is healthy for babies and moms. Breast milk provides the perfect combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, and other nutrients your baby needs to grow.
It’s also convenient and inexpensive and helps your baby stay healthy. Breastmilk may protect your baby from some diseases.
Moms who breastfeed recover from labor and delivery faster. Breastfeeding may lower your risk for some diseases, such as breast cancer. And it’s the optimum skin-to-skin way to bond with your baby.
But breastfeeding can be a challenge to some new mothers. It can be especially difficult if you don’t have support from family and friends. They may not have breastfed their babies and don’t have advice to share.
Plenty of breastfeeding resources are available to new moms at UPMC. All UPMC labor and delivery hospitals have lactation services available.
The Lactation Center at UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital is one of the leading breastfeeding resources in Pittsburgh. For more information on UPMC Magee-Womens lactation services available outside of Pittsburgh, view UPMC in Central Pa. or UPMC in North Central Pa.
Breastfeeding Resources at the Lactation Center at UPMC Magee
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), women’s early experiences with breastfeeding are important. Those first few days can affect whether and how long they keep breastfeeding. Without support, many women become discouraged and give up.
The Lactation Center at Magee offers phone, virtual, and outpatient breastfeeding resources. They are available to any mother, whether she delivered at Magee or another facility. Virtual appointments are available from anywhere in Pennsylvania.
Here are some of the breastfeeding resources we offer:
International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs)
There are about 10,000 babies delivered at Magee each year. Our lactation experts have years of experience teaching, counseling, and problem-solving for these new moms.
A lactation consultant is a trained professional who specializes in breastfeeding. They can answer questions and help tackle breastfeeding issues. They earn certification through the International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants and work in conjunction with doctors and nurses.
For moms-to-be, it’s important to understand what breastfeeding entails, and that even though it’s “natural,” there’s a learning curve. The Center offers support for breastfeeding moms even before they give birth. We offer prenatal breastfeeding classes and consultations for:
- Moms who had trouble breastfeeding a previous child.
- Nipple assessment.
- Moms who are expecting multiples and will face unique challenges to breastfeeding.
- Moms who will be pumping their milk and feeding it to their babies with a bottle.
The first few days are critical to successful breastfeeding. When your baby is born, simply let your nurse know you would like a lactation consult. We offer consultations for:
- Sore nipples.
- Problems with your baby latching onto your nipple.
- Problems positioning your baby.
- Worries about your milk supply.
- Worries about your baby not gaining enough weight.
- The challenges of nursing multiples.
- How to return to work and successfully breastfeed.
- How to transition a premature infant from feeding tube or bottle to breast.
A full-service retail center
The Center offers a full range of breastfeeding supplies and accessories. They include:
- Breast pump rentals.
- Breast pump sales.
- Maternity and nursing bras.
- Nursing pillows and stools.
- Breastfeeding and parenting books.
- Breastfeeding aids (such as nipple shields).
- Professional assistance with selecting the correct breast pump for your needs.
Other Breastfeeding Resources
If you’re having trouble breastfeeding, or simply have questions, there are more breastfeeding resources to turn to. Some are:
- Your pediatrician. Your baby’s doctor is a trusted source of information about breastfeeding. If they can’t answer your questions, they can refer you to someone who can.
- Your partner. When you receive positive support from a partner, you’re more likely to nurse your baby longer and have feelings of success. Talk to your partner about how important it is to have their support.
- La Leche League International is a non-profit organization with branches all over the United States. Their goal is to help mothers breastfeed through mother-to-mother support, encouragement, information, and education. They offer webinars and a Facebook support group, as well as local leaders and groups.
- WIC Breastfeeding Support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers peer support and the WIC Buddy Program for breastfeeding for WIC recipients. Find out if you’re eligible.
When breastfeeding feels challenging, remember you’re not alone. A supportive friend or professional can help you over the rough spots. You and your baby will be nursing pros before you know it.
For more than a century, UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital has provided high-quality medical care to women at all stages of life. UPMC Magee is long-renowned for its services to women and babies but also offers a wide range of care to men as well. Our patient-first approach ensures you and your loved ones get the care you need. Nearly 10,000 babies are born each year at Magee, and our NICU is one of the largest in the country. Our network of care – from imaging centers to hospital services – provides care throughout Pennsylvania and Maryland, giving you a chance to get the expert care you need close to home. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recognizes UPMC Magee as a National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute is the largest research institute in the U.S. devoted exclusively to women’s health and reproductive biology.