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For Mothers Who Want To Breast-Feed, Hospital Stay Can Be Crucial

Posted November 10, 2001

— During pregnancy, one of the many things parents-to-be must decide is whether their baby will be breast-fed or bottle fed. For those who decide to breast-feed, what happens during their hospital stay plays a big role in getting them and baby off to a good start.

As a first-time mom, Karen Madaus was not quite sure what to expect in the hospital, but she had always planned to breast-feed her son.

"For the baby, it just seems like the benefits are endless," she said.

For mothers who want to breast-feed, what happens during the hospital stay is crucial. Lactation consultants recommend parents prepare a birth plan and go over it with their doctor before delivery.

"Part of that birth plan is going to be how they want their baby to be fed," said lactation consultant Vicki Baumann.

Mothers who want to breast-feed should let their medical team know that they do not want their baby to have a bottle. Experts say the first attempt to breast-feed should happen soon after the baby is born when he or she is still alert.

Baby Jordan had no problem getting the hang of it.

"One of his first feedings was a few hours after he was born," Madaus said.

Many hospitals have lactation consultants to help parents with questions or concerns. Most specialists recommend letting the baby sleep in your hospital room.

"Rooming is something that really should be a given. It's really teaching the mother and her baby as you go through day and night," said lactation consultant Molly Pessl.

At Rex Hospital, lactaction consultants are available seven days a week. No matter where babies are delivered, experts say if mothers need help, they should ask for it. There are also support services available if people have questions or problems after they return home.

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