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Health & Baby

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Many Moms Don't Meet Their Own Breastfeeding Goals

6 Breastfeeding Tips for Moms Who Want to Stay the Course

Don't Swaddle the Baby Right Away

Instead, "place the baby on the mom's chest and encourage skin-to-skin contact," she says. "Babies want to suckle and can find the nipple on their own many times."

Ask for Help

Breastfeeding is not for every mom. "We certainly want her to make a decision that works for her," Holmes says. "If she is saying, 'I changed my mind. I thought I would like it, and I don't,' of course, we give her formula," Holmes says. But "if she says, 'I am not sure. I don't think the baby is getting enough milk,'" I say, 'Let's look at how many wet diapers the baby has, evaluate her weight, and make a chart.'"

"If you are having trouble after leaving the hospital, talk to your pediatrician or another resource in the community," says Sahira Long, MD. She is a pediatrician at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and runs the Children's National East of the River Lactation Support Center. "Babies' first well visit is often several days to a week after coming home from the hospital, so this may be a good time to help women troubleshoot any breastfeeding issues they are having and meet their goals.

Choose a Breastfeeding-Friendly Hospital

Women who intend to breastfeed should make sure their hospitals provide breastfeeding-supportive cultures, Long says.

Take a Lactation Class Before Birth

Attending lactation classes before birth can go a long way toward educating soon-to-be moms on what breastfeeding really entails. "It will help a woman understand how to breastfeed, how often you breastfeed, and when milk comes in," says Melissa Goist, MD. She is an obstetrician-gynecologist at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus. "These processes, when understood, make things much easier."

It can be overwhelming to learn all about breastfeeding when you are also learning all sorts of things about taking care of your new baby. "Breastfeeding is a very natural and amazing process that is healthy for baby, but it will take some effort and work," she says.

It's worth it, adds Perrine. "There are numerous health benefits for the baby and the mother," she says. Babies who are breastfed may have a lower risk of diabetes, ear infections, and sudden infant death syndrome. "Moms have reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer -- not to mention that it is free."

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