Central Maine Healthcare is committed to helping new moms breastfeed, for those who have chosen that method of feeding their babies. Our team has several lactation consultants who are available to help you learn, troubleshoot, and to lend a listening ear if you get frustrated.
We also offer free breastfeeding classes and have a breastfeeding support group that meets regularly.
Your Certified Lactation Consultants
Our lactation consultants are certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBCLE) and are also registered nurses. They are well-trained to handle the basics of breastfeeding as well as the more challenging situations. You have access to them via a consultation prior to your delivery, during your stay, and after you go home. The lactation consultants work closely with the nurses in labor delivery and in the NICU to ensure a positive breastfeeding experience for you and your baby. They are available to help at all three of our hospitals.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Many health specialists besides the World Health Organization and the United Nations’ Children’s Fund advise mothers to breastfeed, when possible. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates breastfeeding, as does the U.S. Surgeon General, who recommends exclusive breastfeeding babies for the first six months of life and beyond the first year. Many healthcare experts believe that it’s optimal to breastfeed for 12 months or longer, depending on you and your baby’s needs.
The benefits to your baby include:
- When it comes to nutrition, breast milk is the ultimate food for your baby. As your baby grows, your breast milk also changes to adapt to the baby’s nutritional needs.
- Breast milk enhances the baby’s immune system and promotes wellness – it helps prevent illnesses including intestinal tract infections, ear infections, allergies, skin conditions, and respiratory infections. It also reduces the risk of more serious illnesses, such as childhood cancer, meningitis, juvenile diabetes, and other acute chronic diseases.
- Studies indicate that breastfeeding greatly reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Breastfeeding enhances a baby’s physical development, from encouraging the development of straighter teeth to helping brain development.
The benefits for you include:
- Breastfeeding allows you to respond quickly to your baby’s need for nourishment. It is convenient, and it is free!
- Breastfeeding has many physical benefits for a new mother. The long-term benefits to mothers who breastfeed have reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers. They also have less chance of osteoporosis.
- Breastfeeding also enhances your everyday health, by reducing your risk of anemia. It also helps you metabolically: moms who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.
- While breastfeeding, you have a great opportunity to bond with your child, and to enhance your emotional relationship.