A Lactation Consultant Answers Your Breastfeeding Questions

Aug 3, 2023


The birth of an infant is a beautiful time, and a key moment is establishing a breastfeeding bond with your baby. Many Adventist Health medical centers are Baby-Friendly hospitals, meaning staff members undergo extensive training to empower mothers to successfully breastfeed their newborns from day one.

“Breastfeeding is one of the most special experiences a mother can have. It bonds her with her baby like nothing else,” says certified lactation consultant Monica Milton, RN, who supports new mothers at Adventist Health Simi Valley. “But it’s not always easy, and that’s where I can help.”

Q: How is breastfeeding my baby beneficial for both of us?

Breastfeeding provides many benefits for both baby and mother, Milton says. “Breast milk is the perfect food tailor-made for your infant,” she explains. “Baby formula can fulfill nutritional needs, but it can’t replicate the antibodies that help a baby’s developing immune system fight off illness or the cholesterol that aids brain development.”

As for moms, breastfeeding can protect them against diabetes and high blood pressure, and even reduce their risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer later on.

Q: When should I start pumping?

Generally, Milton says, new parents should wait at least one month before pumping breast milk. “It’s best to get breastfeeding well established — if everything is going well, your baby should be the best ‘pump’ there is,” she says. “Once a month has passed, you can determine the best plan for pumping based on your situation.” If you are going back to work, for example, you may want to start pumping to have extra milk on hand.

Of course, there are always exceptions, and Milton recommends following your lactation consultant’s guidance for when and how frequently to pump.

Q: I can’t seem to provide enough milk for my baby. What can I do?

Many factors can go into low milk supply, so Milton recommends seeking help from a lactation consultant. “When a mother is struggling with milk supply, the first thing I do is have a conversation: What does your day look like? How often is your baby feeding? How does the latch feel?” Milton says. “We can figure out what’s going on and find a solution together.”

Milton adds that while breastfeeding is a beautiful experience, it isn’t always easy in the beginning. “I like to be realistic with the women I work with: Breastfeeding and establishing milk supply can be hard,” she says. “But if you are willing to put in the work and able to breastfeed, it is so fulfilling and worthwhile.”

Have questions about your child’s growth and development? A pediatrician or family medicine provider is a perfect person to provide answers and education. Find a provider near you.

Tags: Maternity