March is such a great month, not just because of St. Patrick’s Day when you can get any food (or drink) of your choice in an awesomely disturbing green tint, but also because March celebrates Women! The month of March is known as Women’s History Month, and also includes International Women’s Day (which is observed on March 8.) What an excellent coincidence that during this month, Pediatric and Adolescent Health Partners is able to announce that we now have a LACTATION CONSULTANT on staff! What an exciting addition to our practice! Traci Abrams, who is an RN, as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, (IBCLC) will be starting at our practice on March 10, 2015. She is a healthcare professional who specializes in the clinical management of breastfeeding and will be such a great resource, for not only the providers, but also for our expecting and new mothers who would like to breastfeed their newborns. We are so lucky as a practice to be able to provide this valuable opportunity to our newborns, as well as our mothers!
Breastfeeding can be such an emotionally and physically rewarding experience for both the mother and the newborn. However, as many women who have attempted to breastfeed can tell you, it is not always as easy and natural as some may lead you to believe. There is a learning curve, for not only mother, but also baby. Sadly, I am amazed at how many mothers feel as though they have failed if they cannot successfully nurse their newborn (especially when only fifteen minutes earlier they finished enduring multiple hours of labor and delivery.) My message for all my mommas out there: IT IS OK! No “momma” starts out knowing how to be a “momma.” It takes times and practice to figure out how this whole nursing thing works, and that is where a lactation consultant can be so beneficial! The amount of stress we mothers put on ourselves can affect the experience of nursing. However, being able to meet and learn from an experienced healthcare professional can help give the experience, confidence, and reassurance that so many new mothers need.
One of my favorite questions at prenatal and newborn visits is “why?” “Why put in the effort and time to nurse, when there are so many good formulas?” The benefits of nursing are numerous for baby and for momma. Mommas often loose weight faster since they are burning more calories (believe it or not, my nursing mothers need more calories than my pregnant mothers.) It also helps reduce the size of the uterus, and can help decrease risk of postpartum depression, breast cancer, and ovarian cancer.
As far as the babies are concerned, breast milk provides ideal nutrition for infants while also containing antibodies that help protect against different viruses and bacteria. It helps lower the risk of asthma and allergies, and some studies have even shown that exclusively breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and bouts of diarrhea. Most importantly, it can decrease the risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Additional studies also found that breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores in later childhood, which is always a plus!
So mommas, channel your inner Rosie The Riveter and remember that you are amazing and that you are already doing a great job! Growing, feeding, and raising little humans can be hard work, and if you need help or support, let us know, because as always, that’s what we are here for!
***If you are interested in benefiting from the services of our new lactation consultant, call the office and we will schedule an appointment for you and your baby. (804-794-2812)