Breast milk can be very important to the early nutritional needs of a child, whether it comes from their own mother or from donors. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at East Tennessee Children's Hospital provides lactation assistance for new moms of babies in the NICU, to help them find the best way to see to their baby's nutritional needs.
The Importance of Breastfeeding
5 Things You Can Do During Pregnancy to Make Breastfeeding Easier
Lots of parents are taught about labor and birth. Few are given information on what happens once baby is here. Finding help before birth can help you reach your breastfeeding goals.
- Educate Yourself
- Take a breastfeeding class during pregnancy. Knowing what's normal and what to do if there are feeding problems can be a huge help!
- Talking to an Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) before birth can help you know if you at risk for any challenges in breastfeeding. They also can help you decide what to do to deal with them.
- Many insurances pay for pre-birth breastfeeding classes.
- Educate your support people
- Partner support can be one of the most important pieces of breastfeeding.
- Babies are 5 times more likely to be breastfeeding at 6 months if the other parent learned how to deal with common breastfeeding problems too.
- Identify Your Resources
- Most hospitals have their own IBCLC’s.
- Contact your local WIC office to talk to a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. Or find a local IBCLC to give you professional help.
- Find your local support groups:
- Knox County La Leche League
- FB Group: Knox BreastFriends
- Local Health Department support groups
- See What Your Insurance covers
If you need an IBCLC or a breast pump, many insurances cover these services.
- Breast pump type should be chosen based on how much a mom will depend on it.
- ETCH provides RN, IBCLC consults to any admitted families, even after discharge.
- If your child is not admitted, check here to see an IBCLC who your insurance will cover:
- Make Your Plan
Decide what your goals are!
- How long do you wish to breastfeed?
- Do you wish to feed at the breast? Pump and bottlefeed?
- Give your baby only breast milk?
- Who will help you achieve your goals?
- Assign jobs to your support people!
- Wash pump parts
- Change diapers
- Make you food
- Snuggle baby when fussy
- Household chores
5 Ways Maternity Staff Can Support Breastfeeding
- Praise the Breastfeeding Parent!
- Praise and emotional support goes a long way. Encourage the family to keep going!
- Breastmilk has over 250 ingredients (formula has 50).
- Babies need their mom’s milk.
- Protect the Milk Supply
Within 3 hours admission, get:
- a hospital grade breast pump
- pump kit
- microwave steam clean bag
- teach them how to use the breast pump & clean the pieces
Moms should be pumping or breastfeeding a minimum of 8x/day.
- Consider Ordering a Lactation Consult
- Anyone can order a Consult. Especially if the baby is <1 month old, please order one. Even just a little check-in with an ETCH IBCLC can help tremendously.
- Encourage Lots of Skin-to-skin Holding of the Infant with Both Parents
- Studies show skin-to-skin holding between feeds helps babies eat better & eat more at feeding times!
- Lactating mothers holding their baby skin-to-skin have higher levels of the hormone oxytocin which helps increase their milk supply.
- Provide Community Resources for Help After Discharge
- ETCH IBCLC's are available for free phone/outpatient consults post-discharge & for employees
- Non-inpatients visit https://lactationnetwork.com/request-a-consultant/ to find an insurance-covered IBCLC
- There are also Breastfeeding Peer Counselors at each WIC office
- Support Groups:
- Anderson County - La Leche League of Oak Ridge 865-483-8111
- Mommy2Mommy 865-835-4662
- Hamblen County - Hamblen County Health Department 423-586-6431
- Knox County - Knox Breastfriends Group 865-215-5060
- La Leche League of Knoxville 702-290-3089
- Loudon County - Loudon County Health Department 865-458-2514
- Sevier County - Sevier County Breastfeeding Support Group 865-453-1032
- 24 hr TN Breastfeeding Hotline: 855-4BFMOMS
5 Ways Pediatricians can Support Breastfeeding Families Get Education
- Get Education
- Most medical professionals get less than 1 hour of lactation-specific training in school
Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Nurses and Staff should all seek training in basic breastfeeding support.
For more info visit:
- Provide Encouragement
- Praise and emotional support goes a long way.
- Encourage the family to keep going!
- Breastmilk has over 250 ingredients (formula has 50)
- The AAP & WHO recommend breastfeeding for 2 years and beyond, as long as desired by the dyad.
- Protect the Supply
- Pumping is CHALLENGING. But if a baby isn't nursing well, the Mom’s supply will drop if the breasts aren’t drained at least every 3 hours.
- Make sure she's pumping at least 8 times per day (more if at risk for low supply).
- If she is direct-breastfeeding, and needs to give bottles, make sure there is a plan to get the baby back to breast.
- Refer as Needed
If you think there's a problem, if Mom thinks there's a problem...
- Refer to an IBCLC (Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant)
- IBCLC's are more highly trained in breastfeeding support than any other breastfeeding certification
- Provide Resources