Breastfeeding Support Makes a Difference

Divine Savior Healthcare understands that new parents must make a lot of very important decisions when they bring a child into the world – some can seem very daunting. Our goal is to guide and support mothers and families in their efforts to raise healthy and happy children. August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month and we’d like to take the opportunity to highlight the support and guidance offered at Divine Savior Healthcare for new and experienced mothers.

Most women in the United States initiate breastfeeding, but more than half stop breastfeeding earlier than planned.  As the Lactation Consultant at Divine Savior Healthcare, Wendy Sherwood states, “Support is the key work when it comes to breastfeeding.  When a mother feels supported in her decision to provide breastmilk she will continue until her infant is ready to wean.”

Current recommendations by The American Academy of Pediatrics is to exclusively breastfeed until 6 months of age and continue to breastfeed for a year or for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.  Research has shown breastfeeding is a benefit for both mother and baby by protecting babies from some common childhood infections.  Breastfeeding also lowers the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, the child’s risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, and the mother’s risk of acquiring breast cancer.

When we talk about support, family and friends are extremely important as well as support from nurses, lactation consultants, physicians and other medical professionals.  Research from the Cochrane Pregnancy and Childbirth Group reveals that one-on-one support is more effective than telephone support.  In addition, support that is only offered if women seek help will likely be ineffective showing the importance of scheduled, ongoing visits with all patients.

Support for breastfeeding can include giving reassurance, praise, information, and the opportunity to discuss and respond to a mother’s questions with evidence-based information.  At Divine Savior Healthcare, our team of medical professionals is here to help and support mothers every step of the way.

Each day, Wendy is meeting with families, taking phone calls from mothers to reassure them, and offer support to maintain a positive breastfeeding experience.  She says, “I love that part of my job.  I would like mothers to know that I am here as a resource for them.  My job is to assist mothers to give their families the very best start to a healthier future.  Providing breastmilk is not just a mother’s decision but it is a family decision.”

Many people stress the importance of your six month breastfeeding experience, while Wendy likes to focus more specifically on the experience mothers get pre-delivery to right after birth.  Many first time mothers assume that breastfeeding is going to be easy but it can be normal to need some assistance getting started. It is not just enough for mothers to know they should breastfeed, but it is also extremely important to understand the risk of not breastfeeding.  Wendy believes this starts with breastfeeding classes during their pregnancy, questions answered by their doctor, hospital nurses assisting them when baby is born, and a great network of friends and family that support breastfeeding.   

Wendy knows from personal experience, the difference it makes when having support.  She shares, “I have been there at day two post discharge with a little tiny baby in my arms and I didn’t know what to do to get my baby to breastfeed.  It can be scary at times, but I was able to get through with the support of a wondering nurse who encouraged me to relax and enjoy the experience.  From that day forward breastfeeding was still something we worked at, but it became a joyful experience not just a task to be done.  I became a Lactation Consultant because of the great support I received from that nurse and feel that it is my job to offer that same support to new families.  I just needed someone to support me and listen, and that is what we are here for at Divine Savior Healthcare.”

In addition to the one-on-one support, Divine Savior Healthcare offers a variety of supportive breastfeeding services, including:

  • 20 week pregnancy visit to discuss feeding plans and a healthy pregnancy
  • Breastfeeding class following each 4 week session of Childbirth Education Classes
  • Breastfeeding consults in the hospital after delivery
  • Knowledgeable nursing staff
  • Weight check visits at 2 days post discharge
  • Follow up phone consultation
  • Support group “Mommy and Me Connections” held once a month

Mommy and Me Connections, formally the Breastfeeding Support Group, meets the first Monday of every month at 10:30 am in Classroom C at Divine Savior Healthcare.  This group is more than just supporting mothers who are breastfeeding.  It is open to all mothers, breastfeeding or not, as an opportunity to connect with one another, listen to one another’s stories, and build relationships with other mothers in the community.  Wendy assures this is not just a group for those that are only having difficulty breastfeeding and invites all mothers to join the next meeting on Monday, September 12th due to Labor Day. 


Nurse helping a mother breastfeed her baby

New Baby Tip from Lactation Consultant, Wendy Sherwood

“The first thing I would suggest to any mother when your baby is born, is to keep them skin to skin for as long as possible.  When mothers hold their infants skin to skin they have the ability to make their infants transition to life outside the womb much easier.  It also provides easy access to their main food source and babies are instinctive and they will find it.”

To speak with our Divine Savior Lactation Consultant, Wendy Sherwood, contact her at 608-745-5696.

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