Monday Medical: Support for breastfeeding moms | SteamboatToday.com

Monday Medical: Support for breastfeeding moms

Susan Cunningham/For Steamboat Today

Monday Medical

When it comes to breastfeeding, there's a long list of benefits for both babies and moms. But sometimes, getting the hang of it can be a challenge.

There's a new group that can help. The Family Birth Place at Yampa Valley Medical Center has started The Lactation Club — TLC, for short — to offer all breastfeeding moms a free opportunity to receive tips and encouragement from a lactation consultant while connecting with other local moms.

"It can be very helpful to moms to have access to a lactation consultant at a pre-set time and also to network and meet up with other breastfeeding moms," said Liz Graham, registered nurse and lactation consultant with YVMC. "They can address whether what they're experiencing is expected and get other tips and tricks from women experiencing the same thing. It's another mode to support breastfeeding moms in the community."

During the meetings, moms can drop in and weigh their babies, breastfeed, then weigh their babies again to see how much milk was consumed. If a mom has concerns that can't be addressed in the group, the lactation consultant will refer her to the right doctors for follow-ups.

Topics likely to arise include everything from expected weight gain and behaviors for breastfed babies to how to ease the transition back to work while still breastfeeding.

"Breastfeeding is a natural process for both mom and baby, but oftentimes, a little extra assistance is needed," said Pauline Kopsa, registered nurse and lactation consultant. "It's a learning process."

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Moms shouldn't feel as if they've failed if breastfeeding isn't smooth and easy at first.

"It's a skill that both baby and mom have to practice and learn," Graham said. "If we can help make it a smoother, more enjoyable experience, then we've met our goal."

Breastfeeding has multiple benefits. Not only is it less expensive than formula feeding, but it also sets up moms and babies for long-term health benefits. Babies who are breastfed may have decreased incidences of ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, allergies, obesity and diabetes. Moms may experience lower incidences of some cancers.

In addition, the experience can foster a strong bond between mother and child.

Through breastfeeding, moms pass their immune factors to their babies and provide a source of nutrition that's perfectly formulated to what the baby needs.

"There's even a relationship between a baby's mouth and saliva and receptors in a mom's nipples, so the composition of breastmilk can change," Kopsa said. "There's a back and forth communication between mom and baby."

In addition to the breastfeeding group, YVMC offers an on-call lactation consultant who's available seven days per week, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The service is free and available to all breastfeeding moms. Breastfeeding consultations are also available.

"We don't want them to go home from the hospital and feel like they don't have any resources," Kopsa said. "Moms often call and come in for lactation consults, and usually, they're doing great, but they often just need a little reassurance."

Breastfeeding moms are encouraged to take advantage of all the services that are offered.

"We're here, and we'd love to see you," Graham said.

For more information, call YVMC's Family Birth Place at 970-871-2412. To reach the lactation consultant, call 970-875-2662.

Susan Cunningham writes for Yampa Valley Medical Center. She can be reached at cunninghamsbc@gmail.com.

If you go

What: The Lactation Club

When: 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays

Where: Outreach clinic next to the Yampa Valley Medical Center lab

Information: This free group is open to all breastfeeding moms. Drop in any time during the weekly group to receive encouragement and support, weigh your baby, learn from a lactation consultant and network with other local moms. For more information, call YVMC’s Family Birth Place at 970-871-2412.