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Best for Mom and Baby

Bright-eyed Nyla Rueckert rests her head on her mother Micaela’s shoulder. With a tummy full of milk, the five-month-old baby happily gazes at her mother’s face with a content little smile.

Both mom and baby look forward to the baby’s feeding time. It’s not only a time for meeting Nyla’s nutritional needs, but also a few precious minutes for bonding, says Micaela.

“I just hold her and stare at her and love on her,” the new mom says, holding her daughter up to her face for a little giggle and a kiss. “There was no question in my mind that I was going to breastfeed. It’s such a good thing for both of us.”

Good for mom and baby

Certified Lactation Consultant Martha Pap says Sanford Health provides a variety of services to support new mothers and mothers-to-be with breastfeeding. Babies have so many reasons to drink breastmilk, the perfect food made by mom’s body for baby’s body.

Pap works with new mothers to help get them off to a good start with nursing, telling them about the benefits. Breastfed babies tend to have stronger immune systems. They don’t get sick as often and when they do get sick, they have less severe illnesses and a quicker recovery.

Scientific studies have shown that breastfeeding may help prevent some other serious conditions, such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, diabetes, cancer, obesity, asthma and allergies, Pap says.

“Research is showing is that there are so many benefits to nursing our babies that we didn’t dream of just a few years ago,” says the lactation consultant.

Moms benefit too. Pap says that some of the common positive “side effects” for a nursing mom include:

    • A decreased risk of osteoporosis, breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
    • A quicker return to pre-pregnancy weight.
    • Fewer trips to the doctor with a sick baby.
    • A release of oxytocin, a hormone which causes the uterus to contract, reducing bleeding and helping a new mom’s body heal faster.
    • A release of prolactin, a hormone that helps the mother’s body make milk, which helps with bonding and relation.
    • A delay to ovulation, helping a new mom avoid another pregnancy too soon.

Services to help

Micaela, who works as a Sanford labor and delivery nurse, knew that breastfeeding can sometimes be a challenge at first for new mothers, so she took a breastfeeding preparation class with her husband before Nyla’s birth.

She also was sure to check with the lactation consultants who meet with new mothers at The Birth Place during her stay to make sure she and Nyla had ironed out any difficulties with feeding. In fact, lactation consultants helped Micaela work out some issues she had getting her daughter initially latched on properly when starting to nurse.

“We’ve been very blessed that she’s a good little eater, but we were happy to have that help,” Micaela said. “I know that it’s not always easy to figure this out at the beginning.”

After Nyla returned home, Micaela talked with a lactation consultant at her first follow-up appointment with her daughter, where the nursing expert made sure that she was getting enough ounces of milk with each feeding. She felt prepared and ready for the coming weeks, she says.

Such support can be essential to new moms, says Pap. Families are often spread apart geographically and a new mother may not have someone who can answer questions or deal with any issues in those first essential days of nursing.

“Moms are discharged after that first day or two and then sometimes the problems can begin,” Pap said. “Anything we can do to get women off to a good start with breastfeeding will make it easier.”

Prepared and supported

In the weeks after Nyla’s birth, Micaela attended Sanford New Baby and Me classes, where she could ask questions and learn from both medical experts and the other new moms. It was valuable information to help prepare her for the plans she’d need to make to pump breastmilk for Nyla as she returned to work.

“It’s not easy some days to figure out the logistics as to the best time to get it done, but I know it’s important,” says Michaela. “It’s something I’m so glad to be able to do for her.”

And those quiet times when they can reconnect, sitting together for a feeding in the rocker in Nyla’s room or a comfortable chair in the living room, are treasured moments for both of them, the new mom says.

“This is what our bodies are made to do,” she says, holding Nyla close. “It feels so good to know that I can give her exactly what she needs.”

Posted Date: September 2012