Breastfeeding your baby is a natural part of childbirth. Establishing and maintaining a successful breastfeeding experience involves a learning process and may take some patience and guidance. The staff members at UPMC Susquehanna's Birthplace are here to help mothers achieve the best start to their breastfeeding experience and provide them with the guidance and knowledge necessary to achieve their goals. The Birthplace strives to follow the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding (1)as outlined by WHO and UNICEF. These steps are recommended by the AAP and CDC as best practices for maternity care. Our facility implements policies and protocols to ensure mothers receive consistent, high-quality care that best supports their breastfeeding experience.
All Birthplace nursing staff members complete 24 hours of lactation-specific education. We have Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants, Certified Breastfeeding Counselors, and peer support from WIC Peer Breastfeeding Counselors.
Breastfeeding education is completed with mothers during prenatal office visits, and we encourage all mothers to attend a Breastfeeding Class.
After delivery, stable, naked newborns are immediately placed onto mother’s bare chest and covered with blankets. This is known as skin-to-skin contact and mothers are encouraged to hold their newborns skin-to-skin until first feeding occurs. For most babies this naturally occurs within the first half hour to hour after birth. This is an important time, when infants are most alert and will follow natural instincts to root and seek out the breast and self-attach. The benefits of skin to skin time are important for all moms and babies. If immediate skin-to-skin time is not possible due to mother or infant condition, it can be initiated as soon as mom and baby are stable.
Mothers will be taught how to achieve a comfortable latch and how to recognize effective suckling at the breast and will learn how to hand express colostrum for times when baby may be sleepy or not latching well. If direct breastfeeding is not possible due to mother or infant condition, mothers will be educated on how to establish and maintain milk supply with combined use of hand expression and hospital-grade electric breast pumps.
Infants will receive only mother’s breast milk unless supplementation is medically indicated. Mothers will be supported to exclusively breastfeed and educated about why exclusive breastfeeding is important.
Your baby will “room in” with you throughout your stay. All routine assessments and procedures will be done in the postpartum room. Rooming in is encouraged throughout your stay, day and night. This allows parents the full opportunity to get to know their baby and learn how to respond to his or her needs.
You will learn how to recognize infant feeding cues and you will be encouraged to breastfeed when your baby is showing these cues. This may vary greatly during the first 24 hrs and may be more frequent on day 2-3. Feeding on demand is the best way to establish a full milk supply.
Routine use of pacifiers and artificial nipples is discouraged. It is best to avoid the use of artificial nipples when the infant is learning to latch successfully and establish a full milk supply. Your baby’s sucking needs are best fulfilled at the breast at this time.
Mothers will receive information about services and resources available after discharge. Susquehanna Health has a group for nursing mothers called Baby Café. If mom and baby need further one-on-one assistance after discharge, please see our Breastfeeding Support section.
For more information on breastfeeding, visit our breastfeeding FAQ.
Read about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration's guidelines to implement a lactation support program for businesses, The Business Case for Breastfeeding.
Medical research shows that breastfed babies:
- Are healthier
- Have fewer ear infections and episodes of flu or diarrhea
- Have stronger and straighter teeth
- Have fewer allergies
- Have fewer crib deaths
- Are less likely to be overweight
Learn more about why Breast Milk is the Best Milk.