60 Magical Mommy Minutes
By Jessica D. Apel, D.O.
Every new mom wants what is best for her baby.
The best food for your baby is mother’s milk. Breastfeeding is one of the best, most loving things you and your baby will share. Earlier this year, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) came out with a formal opinion for new parents, that exclusive breastfeeding is best for babies for the first six months of life, followed by cereal and table food with breast milk, if possible.
Studies have found that babies who are breastfed are less likely to have diarrhea, ear infections and respiratory infections. Later in life, they have less risk of asthma, obesity and diabetes.
Breastfeeding also is an incredibly rewarding experience. As a mom myself, I can tell you that breastfeeding helps to bring you and your baby even closer. Before you know it, nursing will be a natural part of your routine.
Nursing your baby is a natural followup to giving birth. That means starting to breastfeed within an hour of delivery.
A great way to begin is called “Skin-to-Skin,” in which your baby is placed on your chest immediately after birth. This keeps your baby warm and eases baby’s transition into the world, and it’s soothing for your baby after the excitement of being born. At Christiana Care Health System, we call it “60 Magical Mommy Minutes.” Your labor and delivery nurse will continue to evaluate your baby during the 60 minutes to ensure your baby is transitioning appropriately.
Some moms have difficulty getting the knack of breastfeeding, and Skin-to-Skin helps babies to breastfeed even better. Our nurses are trained in lactation to help you begin to breastfeed right in the delivery room and throughout your hospital stay. Christiana Hospital is one of only 88 hospitals in the U.S. participating in Best Fed Beginnings, a program designed to increase the number of hospitals who support moms that breastfeed by becoming a Baby Friendly, USA designated facility.
Through the Baby Friendly Initiative, moms are learning many valuable facts that make breastfeeding easier, such as, using pillows to raise the baby to a comfortable level. You also will learn tips for encouraging your baby to “latch” appropriately to your breast.
Don’t be discouraged if you were not successful in trying to breastfeed your baby. A lot of moms are, in fact, successful the second time around– or the third.
Help for nursing moms
At feeding time, make certain your baby is alert. Adults can’t eat properly when they are sleepy — and neither can a baby. Undress your baby, down to the diaper, so you have a lot of skin contact. Rub your baby’s feet and talk softly. This stimulates your baby and also is a time for mother and child to feel really close.
Nursing moms are often concerned that their babies aren’t getting enough milk. You can’t precisely measure the amount of milk that goes from a mother’s breast into a baby’s tummy but there are several ways you can make sure your baby is well fed.
First, check the diaper. If your baby is peeing and pooping, as indicated by your baby’s doctor, (you should receive a sheet indicating how many times each is expected, depending on the day of life), that means your little one is processing food. Many smart phones have easy to use breast feeding apps to help record the number of nursing sessions, the time between feedings, and diaper changes. The apps are especially helpful during the first few weeks until regular nursing is established.
Your baby’s weight also will confirm that he or she is not going hungry. If your baby is gaining weight and continuing to grow, you shouldn’t worry. If you are concerned about your baby’s weight, call your baby’s doctor for a weight check.
Even if you can’t be with your baby all the time, you can still provide milk. If you are separated from your baby for some reason, pumping milk can help with milk production. Many insurance companies pay for breast pumps, so be certain to check with your provider.
Breastfeeding can definitely have its challenges, many of them occur once discharged from the hospital. Ask your baby’s partner for assistance by getting you a drink of water, an extra pillow, or the remote control. Also make sure you have a support system set up for the bumps in the road like a sister or a girlfriend who has previously breastfed a baby.
You can call the Breastfeeding Education and Resource Center at Christiana Hospital at 302-733-3360 with any breastfeeding questions Monday-Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. There is a free support group for breastfeeding moms that meets every Monday in the Women’s Building, Room 1932, at Christiana Hospital, from 2-3 p.m.
Talk with your obstetrician about any concerns you may have, before your baby is born. Your doctor can give you advice and encouragement. There also are a lot of good books you can read to help you prepare to breastfeed and get your baby off to a great start.
To make an appointment with Jessica Apel, D.O., contact:
Christiana Care Obstetrics and Gynecology at Greenville
3706 Kennett Pike, Greenville