Getting Started Breastfeeding

During Pregnancy

Our lactation professionals can start caring for you even before your baby is born! Our certified Lactation Consultants offer Breastfeeding Classes to instruct on the basics of breastfeeding. If you have specific concerns about breastfeeding due to a prior breast surgery or other medical reason, Lactation Consultants can do prenatal breast assessments. Through the St. Francis Lactation Center, a bra fitter can even help fit you for pregnancy and nursing bras.

At the Hospital

After you have given birth, you will be assisted with breastfeeding by your nurse on the Mother/Infant Unit. She will coach you through the first feeding, and will encourage you to nurse while guiding you through technique, positions, frequency of feeding, pumping options, and answering any additional breastfeeding questions that you may have.

Our certified Lactation Consultants are available to meet with moms who run into difficulty breastfeeding or need more advanced advice. Should breastfeeding difficulties arise, your nurse will assist you in getting in touch with a Lactation Consultant.

Because of the many benefits breastfeeding has for both mom and baby, the US Department of Health established a goal of having 75% of new moms start breastfeeding in the hospital. We are proud that our current rate of initiating breastfeeding is 77%, better than the national average and even exceeding the national goal.  

We also are certified as a Baby Friendly Hospital. This means we provide the care and support you need to get you and your baby off to the best start possible breastfeeding. Among our policies are that we:

  • Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
  • Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
  • Give infants no food or drink other than breast-milk, unless medically indicated. 
  • Practice rooming in - allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
  • Encourage breastfeeding on demand. 
  • Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants. 

See more information about Baby Friendly >>

In addition, the Serenity Helps Healing (SHH!) Program helps encourage breastfeeding success. Most parents are exhausted after childbirth and mothers are hoping for some privacy to breastfeed their newborn. But many new parents arenít comfortable being the ones to ask their visitors to leave.

Serenity Helps Healing (SHH!) is a two-hour quiet time for new parents and their baby, designed to provide the new family with much needed rest and privacy during their short stay. Having this quiet time will benefit mother and baby by decreasing fatigue, increasing bonding time to enjoy precious moments with baby, and initiate breastfeeding in privacy; allowing them to become familiar with feeding cues.

During this time, visitors will not be allowed to enter the patientís room and nurses will turn down lights and put on relaxation music. At 2pm every day, an announcement will be made to the patientís family and friends notifying them that the doors to the units will be closed to visitors until 4pm. The new babyís siblings are permitted to be in the room during this time. The only interruptions at the bedside during SHH! are for essential patient care. Hospital services like housekeeping and routine visits with doctors and nurses will be rescheduled either before or after SHH! time.