August 1 marks the beginning of World Breastfeeding Week, an annual celebration to raise awareness of the benefits of breastfeeding and improve the health of babies. In light of the international celebration, we asked Deborah Perl, lactation consultant at the Lactation Center of Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC, about some benefits of breastfeeding. The lactation center is a fully equipped resource to all new mothers and infants, and they are currently working toward gaining accreditation from Keystone 10, a quality improvement initiative that aims to protect, promote and support to all Pennsylvania infants and mothers.
What is a lactation consultant?
Lactation consultants are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and are breastfeeding specialists trained to teach mothers how to feed their baby. For some women, breastfeeding comes very naturally and for others it takes time, patience and a little extra support. Our trained lactation staff sees all new mothers during their postpartum hospital stay upon request or referral to ensure they are comfortable with breastfeeding. We teach moms breastfeeding techniques, we discuss feeding schedules and talk to moms about their fears and frustrations. We also help mothers who want to breastfeed but may need to, or choose to, supplement. We strongly feel that all new moms should supported and encouraged, regardless of their feeding decision.
What are some common challenges and available resources for breastfeeding mothers?
Some common challenges include uncomfortable or sore breasts and concern about the baby getting enough food. The Magee Lactation Center has plenty of available resources for mothers experiencing challenges including postpartum consultations for mothers with ongoing breastfeeding problems and a 24-hour service line to assist with any questions. The center also has recently expanded to a full-service retail center offering breast pump rentals, nursing and maternity bras, nursing pillows and a complete line of breastfeeding aids and accessories.
How does Magee support breastfeeding mothers?
We provide education and support to mothers before birth and throughout their breastfeeding journey. From prenatal classes to bedside consultations, we support a mother’s decision to breastfeed. In addition to providing resources for new mothers, the Magee Lactation Center provides support and education to hospital staff. We train registered nurses to properly assist new mothers with their babies.
For more information, please call the Lactation Center at Magee at 412-641-1121 or visit their website.