Breastfeeding is best for moms and babies. The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, the State of New Jersey, and most health professionals and children's advocates recommend exclusive breastfeeding for all healthy newborns.
There are many benefits of breastfeeding that include:
- Natural sources of nutrients new babies need
- Less risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Fewer ear and respiratory infections
- Enhanced newborn brain development
- Less risk your baby will be overweight
- Less risk of diabetes for your baby and for you
- Less risk of postpartum depression
- Less risk of breast and ovarian cancer for you
- Faster recovery for you
Before you deliver, prepare to breastfeed. Go online, take a class and talk to other breastfeeding mothers. Include your family members in your preparation to gain their support. Talk to your doctor. Let him know that you will be breastfeeding and would like to do so within the first hour after your baby's birth. Discuss delivery plans and birth options to provide the safest environment for you to begin breastfeeding.
When you arrive at the hospital, let your doctors and nurses know of your plan to breastfeed. They can provide steps that will promote a strong foundation for breastfeeding. Steps include skin-to-skin contact even after a C-section, delaying tests and exams until after breastfeeding, and keeping you and your baby together whenever possible.
Virtua nurses are trained to support breastfeeding. They will observe several feedings to ensure you are comfortable. Certified lactation consultants are available should you need additional support.
It is recommended that you feed your baby every time he or she fusses during the first days of life. Frequent feedings will help establish your milk supply. For that reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics and Virtua recommend NOT offering your baby a pacifier for the first three to four weeks of life. Virtua does not supply pacifiers to healthy newborns. If you want your baby to have one, please bring your own.
If you choose to formula feed, you will receive the same support as nursing mothers and will benefit from skin-to-skin contact and minimal separation from your baby. All your needs such as formula. bottles and nipples will be supplied. You'll also receive expert instructions on how to prepare formula and care for your baby.
Some infants are unable to breastfeed due to birth defects such as a cleft lip, difficulty sucking, or digestive problems. Because of some infants’ special needs, your decision to breastfeed should be made prior to delivery to allow you time to prepare. To learn more about breastfeeding, Virtua offers breastfeeding classes.
Breastfeeding is not recommended for mothers who have active herpes sores on the breast, active tuberculosis, HIV or AIDS, nephritis, malnutrition, and other severe illnesses such as heart disease or cancer.
Continued Breastfeeding Support
After you leave the hospital, you’ll have continued guidance through Virtua’s weekly breastfeeding support group and free lactation line where you can get answers to your breastfeeding-related questions.
Both services are staffed by certified lactation consultants to give you qualified support for a successful breastfeeding experience.
Virtua Memorial - Mount Holly: (609) 914-7258
Virtua Voorhees: (856) 247-2793
For more information on breastfeeding classes or support groups, call 1-888-VIRTUA-3 (1-888-847-8823).