Breastfeeding Tips for New Moms With Loyola Health System's Dr. Kimi Suh! by Donna John
Learning how to breastfeed can be challenging. That’s why Dr. Kimi Suh, a family physician with Loyola University Health System and a mom of two, joined us recently for two nights to share what you should know as you prepare – or continue – to breastfeed your baby!
Q: We know breastfeeding is important, but why does it seem so challenging?
Breastfeeding requires dedication at first to make sure Mom and Baby learn how to do it correctly. Breastfeeding requires that Mom be solely responsible for feeding Baby with little help from others. This can be particularly difficult in the first few weeks of Baby’s life. When moms are apart from babies, they need to plan ahead so there’s enough breastmilk while she’s away. Moms have to be prepared to pump. It’s tough in the beginning, but breastfeeding can be much easier than bottlefeeding. Once Mom and Baby become more skilled at breastfeeding, nursing may only take 5 to 10 minutes. Conversely, preparing a bottle, feeding Baby and washing the bottle can be a longer process. Breastfeeding moms don’t have to worry about packing bottles and formula when going out with Baby.
Q: I want to breastfeed my baby. What’s the first thing I should do?
Read about breastfeeding. Gather breastfeeding supplies such as nursing bras, clothes, nipple cream and breast pads.
Q: What are some of your top tips to be successful at breastfeeding?
- Have patience with yourself and your baby.
- Work with a lactation consultant in the hospital as much as possible.
- If you need help when you get home, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your doctor. You may be able to get additional guidance and support through your doctor’s office. When you’re in the hospital, work hard at getting the baby’s latch correct.
- If Baby is latching incorrectly, it can cause you to develop painful/cracked nipples. If you feel pain when latching, don’t be afraid to break the latch, try again. Ask for help if needed.
- Try to avoid supplementation with formula or a bottle if at all possible.
- Take care of yourself by drinking lots of fluids, eating healthy foods. Get as much sleep as possible.
- Ask for help with household tasks so you can focus on breastfeeding Baby and caring for yourself.
- Don’t be hard on yourself! You’re doing a great job by initiating breastfeeding.
- Take it a day at a time. Breastfeeding gets easier. Each day you breastfeed is an accomplishment.
Q. I’m self-conscious about my body but want to breastfeed. What should I do?
It’s natural to feel self-conscious. You’ll be amazed at what you’re able to overcome for your baby. You may be amazed that you become less self-conscious about breastfeeding after Baby is born. There are ways to breastfeed modestly; nursing-friendly clothes allow for discrete nursing. There are many nursing cover-ups available to cover yourself during nursing. If you’re still feeling self-conscious, there are public places with designated nursing spaces for privacy. You may feel more comfortable pumping before an outing so you can feed Baby from a bottle when out. Illinois allows nursing moms to breastfeed in public without a cover. Check your own state to be sure.
Q: What breastfeeding help should I expect from the hospital after I deliver?
After delivery, nurses and lactation consultants can support you in breastfeeding. Your doctor may counsel you on breastfeeding and make suggestions for any issues that arise. The entire hospital staff should be supportive of breastfeeding.
Q: @LoyolaHealth hospital is baby friendly. How can moms not near you find a hospital that will give the same support?
Look for a hospital’s breastfeeding designation. LoyolaHealth University Medical Center earned a Baby-Friendly designation. This means the hospital has taken specific measures to improve education and support breastfeeding. This includes hospitals that have lactation education (breastfeeding classes or a lactation consultant on-site). Or Mom and Baby room together after delivery rather than having Baby in a nursery. Or hospitals that assist Mom in nursing Baby within one hour of birth.