BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - World Breastfeeding Week has come and gone, but Woman’s Hospital is continuing its efforts to encourage communities to support mothers who are interested in learning more about breastfeeding.
“We have a lot of different great resources. We have our 24/7 lactation consultants. We have our BreastTime. Those are virtual consults where we can FaceTime a mom in the home. We also have support groups that meet twice a month," said Kelly Williams-Anderson, a certified lactation counselor and breast peer counselor at Woman’s.
“BREASTTIME” REMOTELY WITH A LACTATION CONSULTANT:
- It’s a secure, private video calling system that allows moms to talk with a lactation specialist at Woman’s from the comfort of home
- The program is open to any mom in Louisiana who needs help breastfeeding
- It costs $40 per consultation, which can last up to one hour
- Benefits of breastfeeding are numerous, including a lower risk of SIDS, childhood obesity, and postpartum depression
“The [BreastTime], that’s if you are a busy mom, or either a mom that just doesn’t want to come out of the house with her baby yet. You can have a consult in the comfort of your own home. They’ll FaceTime you. They can see angles to walk you through step by step. If you’re comfortable at your home, you don’t have to bring the baby out. If you are feeling a little shy until you get to know your body a little more, you’re probably comfortable just by yourself doing things on yourself,” said Williams-Anderson.
WOMAN’S LACTATION WARMLINE:
- Call 225-263-3352
- Open 24 hours
- No-cost consultation with a registered nurse
- The Warmline is available to the entire community, even if you didn’t have your baby at Woman’s
“It’s 24 hours where [mothers] can call in if they have any problems, any questions, or they’re feeling depressed. They’ll call and someone’s there to answer their call and walk them through it, so it just kind of helps problem solve. It can be something as simple as they may have left a piece off their pump and so they’re panicking. We’re just there to answer any question they may have. No question is silly. We always educate and give lots of support with the Warmline,” said Williams-Anderson.
BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT GROUPS
“With the support classes, when mothers come, it’s more hand on. Some people learn better and feel comfortable with people around in groups and they’re able to build off each other,” said Williams-Anderson.
Outside of its resources, hospital staff goes the extra length to educate the entire family on the breastfeeding process and how they can help moms.
“We explain to [dads] the process. We include them. We make them feel welcome. Even though it is mom and baby, we include the dad because they should be the number one champion to the mothers anyway, so we encourage them to do lots of skin-to-skin to help bonding. While mom is getting ready to breastfeed and getting everything set up around her, we’ll have the dad put the baby on his chest to do skin-to-skin and bond and calm the baby down. We teach them that the baby hearing that heartbeat calms the baby down. They’ve been hearing it for nine months, so that’s a way [dads] can help. We also teach them about the storage of the breast milk and how to help clean different utensils for mom, and also how to just be there rubbing her hand and rubbing the baby’s feet. We just keep them active so he can feel needed in the whole process," said Williams-Anderson.
TIPS FOR DADS, PARTNERS, OR GRANDPARENTS TO HELP A BREASTFEEDING MOM
- Fix mom a snack or get her a glass of water when needed
- Make sure mom has pillows behind her back and that baby is supported well
- Make the room calm and quiet
- Encourage mom to get help when she needs it
Williams-Anderson says breastfeeding can be a new experience that takes a toll on even experienced moms. Small hiccups seem bigger. Moms can end up associating any issue in the process with an issue with their body. It’s important for family members to be a supportive force for mothers during this time.
Other mothers may have trouble readjusting to being someone in need of help as opposed to their normal role as caregiver in the household. Willams-Anderson says it’s important to remind mothers the baby is healthiest when mom is happy. To help mothers readjust, she says it’s crucial to encourage mothers to be verbal about what they need. Every question is important.
As for specific language family members can tell mothers struggling to adjust to their new role as someone needing to be cared for, Williams-Anderson recommended the following language: “You will go through different stages until you find your normal balance. It usually comes back around full circle.”
“Some moms just need reassurance. She’s doing everything she can to be a great mom. Life has changed after she had a baby obviously, so just the presence of the dad just being there, or any supportive person around, I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Williams-Anderson.
Most importantly, Williams-Anderson says the staff at Woman’s is always available to help.