Breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for babies. Breastfeeding is important, as it significantly boosts a baby’s immune system and helps protects them from various illnesses. Babies who are breastfed have a lower risk of developing certain health conditions, such as type 1 & 2 diabetes, obesity and asthma. It also offers a quiet relaxed time for mother and baby to bond. Breastfeeding can be good for the mother’s health, too – it’s linked to a lower risk of both breast and ovarian cancer in women.
As a hospital that is designated Baby Friendly, Cone Health Women’s Hospital promotes both skin-to-skin and rooming-in for new parents. Skin-to-skin is a model of care in which babies are placed on the mother’s bare chest immediately after delivery, and examined and stabilized while being held by the mother. ‘Babies room-in’ is another care model in which the newborn stays in the same room as the mother throughout the entire duration of their stay at the hospital. Studies have shown that these practices facilitate breastfeeding, showing improved rates of babies taking the breast and successful nursing. When babies room-in, parents can learn feeding cues and feed as frequently as needed by watching their baby, not the clock.
Breastfeeding can be a challenge for moms and babies, as it is new to both of them. Cone Health Women’s Hospital and Alamance Regional Medical Center have established several classes and support groups to give expectant mothers tips and tools on how to get breastfeeding off to a great start and continue the process successfully. Breastfeeding classes in Greensboro and Burlington are taught by certified lactation consultants that are also available for private consultations.
To learn more about classes and support groups offered in your community, visit conehealthybaby.com or conehealth.com/classes.
Kelly Black is a registered nurse and lactation consultant at Cone Health Women’s Hospital. Kelly received a Bachelor of Science in nursing from the University of Arkansas. She is an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant.