Sentara Martha Jefferson HealthWise: World Breastfeeding Week
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The week of Aug. 1 is World Breastfeeding Week. The theme this year is "Making a Difference for Working Parents."
Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital offers lactation consulting seven days a week and the goal is to meet the needs of the parents with whom the staff works.
"We work with them on latching, positioning, and we tell them what's normal, what to expect in the first few days," said Allyson Michaels, a lactation consultant and nurse at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. "And then after they go home, they can always call us and talk to us about problems they are having afterwards."
The consultants are available by phone, which they do not charge for, and to meet in-person or for Telehealth visits, which can be billed to insurance.
"Our role here is to support any breastfeeding parent, in whatever way they need. They want to increase their supply, they need to decrease their supply, they're ready to wean the baby, they want to talk about adding formula to their breastfeeding routine, that's why we're here, we're here to support whatever this breastfeeding parent's need is," said Michaels.
One big challenge is returning to work.
"One of the things we can do is help them figure out their plan for going back to work, when's a good time to pump," Michaels said.
A supportive workplace with caring colleagues is important, too.
"Finding out what your workplace policy is, knowing your rights before you go back, and having that conversation with your employer is really important," added Michaels. "You don't want to be going back and be going, 'OK, where am I going to go pump now?' And not having a place to go. Workplace support can make or break a woman's long-term breastfeeding plan."
Expressing concerns and asking questions is always a good idea, no matter how silly you think they may be.
"It's important we address your concerns, and no question is ever stupid," Michaels said.
Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has a number of support groups for parents, including Welcome to Motherhood, Out of the Blues, and a Facebook group as well, all of which can provide parent-to-parent support. To learn more about breastfeeding support, click here.