Learning to Care for Your Baby
St. Vincent’s Family Birthing Center (FBC) is proud to have earned the coveted Baby-Friendly designation, which signifies excellence in maternal and infant care. Our staff is available to direct you to educational resources to help you care for your infant. The following information has been prepared as an educational resource. We also offer free classes and other support services at the hospital and in the community and we welcome you to attend.
The Miracle of Skin-to-Skin
Here in the FBC, skin-to-skin contact is recognized as the first element of bonding as Baby instinctively nuzzles and roots to nurse soon after birth. The soft warmth provided in skin-to-skin holding of their newborn by both Mother and Dad encourages that life-affirming response.
After prenatal education is completed, the choice of whether to breast- or formula-feed belongs to the Mother. Holding Baby skin-to-skin is key, regardless of which feeding method she selects. Support is always at hand to help her begin, and feel confident in, the feeding routine.
About Breastfeeding: Nurturing Your Newborn
Breast milk has antibodies that can help protect infants from several illnesses, and mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of diseases such as Type II diabetes.
Breastfeeding is recognized today as the ideal way to nurture your baby. Human milk enhances a baby's health, growth and development. Breast milk can provide protection against infection, allergies and many illnesses. Breastfeeding is the most convenient and least expensive way to feed your baby. It saves time and energy for a busy mother. Many mothers start out breastfeeding, because they know of its many benefits and continue because they enjoy the special bond they share with their baby.
Our goal at St. Vincent's Medical Center is to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date information and to support your choice to breastfeed. To facilitate the breastfeeding process, our lactation consultants are readily available. All of the FBC’s staff are also specially trained as breastfeeding support specialists and are ready to guide Mother through the 10 steps developed by Breast Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) to succeed at this rewarding and healthful feeding method.
Learning to Breastfeed
Many mothers ask if breastfeeding is easy. Yes, but it is a learned process for both mother and baby. Your baby has the instinct to breastfeed. Attending a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class (before delivery) will help prepare you and provide you with early lactation education that will encourage your breastfeeding success.
Feeding within an hour of delivery, frequent and exclusive breastfeeding and rooming in will help you with success in breastfeeding. “Rooming in” means having your baby in your postpartum room with you as much as possible so you can learn baby's cues and behaviors that signal hunger. This time together with your baby will build your confidence.
Your breasts have begun to make milk during pregnancy, called colostrum. Colostrum is referred to as liquid gold, because it contains special substances to protect your baby from infection. It also contains all the nutrients and fluids your baby needs during the first few days of life. Colostrum is very beneficial to the early nutritional needs of your baby.
A proper latch is crucial to breastfeeding success. Mom should be in a comfortable position; baby should be positioned tummy to tummy with mom. Touch baby's top lip with nipple and move nipple down to bottom lip slowly; repeat until baby opens wide, then move baby quickly on to breast. This again, is where a breastfeeding class can be so helpful, a movie is shown so parents can see a good latch and moms can hold soft baby dolls for practice with position. If nursing is painful, we suggest that you contact a lactation consultant.
Knowing Your Options
St. Vincent's offers a variety of services to the breastfeeding mom, beginning with prenatal breastfeeding classes and continuing on to postpartum breastfeeding support groups. We have two board certified lactation consultants on staff available to help nursing moms. We always encourage new moms (parents) to self-advocate and ask questions. If desired, the lactation consultants and nurses can watch and assist while you attempt to latch. For more information, please call (203) 576-6087.
While you are in the hospital take advantage of our parent education. We utilize rooming in, so as you care for your new baby, any questions can be answered. Your comfort and confidence in caring for your new baby will grow with time. Especially if you are breastfeeding, keeping baby with you is recommend so you learn the baby's feeding cues and breastfeed often. The lactation consultant/patient educator will be on site to help you, tell you about the classes and answer any questions.
Topics include proper latch, infant feeding cues, positioning, breast care, returning to work, and how to establish a good milk supply. Information on breastfeeding supplies will be reviewed. A lactation consultant will answer any questions.
Baby Care Class
Everything you need to know for caring for your new baby. Topics include first bath, feeding and burping, infant cues, diapers what's normal, thermometer use, car seat information, sleep safety, and when to call the doctor. Taking care of mom is also covered.
Breastfeeding Support Group
This group is for all postpartum breastfeeding moms. We offer advice, support and encouragement. Our lactation consultants are available to answer your questions about breastfeeding, pumping and other concerns.
Breastfeeding Support Services
Lactation Consultants at St Vincent's Medical Center - (203) 576-6087
La Leche League of Connecticut - (800) 563-6624
La Leche League International - (800) 525-3243
American Academy of Pediatrics - (800) 433-9016
Breastfeeding topics - articles, advice & encouragement online at WomensHealth.gov/breastfeeding