Obstetrical Services

 

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers will begin producing milk (lactating) within 72 hours of establishing breastfeeding. Breastfeeding exclusively during the first two weeks of life is important (avoid formula feeding) to develop a good milk supply. Although your nipples will be sore during the first two weeks of breastfeeding, it is best to avoid pumping or substituting a bottle in order to elevate your milk hormone level as high as possible this will insure good milk production long term.

Nipple care is especially important during the first two weeks of lactating. Keep the nipples dry. If you use breast pads, change them frequently. Let the flaps down on your nursing bra to get air to the nipples. Use a skin protectant such as Lansinoh. Vitamin E oil is also a favorite. These products do not have to be washed off prior to breastfeeding.

Nipple shields are rubber covers for the nipples that allow the baby to latch onto the rubber nipple rather than your own nipple. Mothers are often tempted to use these to avoid the pain of the infant latching onto a sore nipple. These shields will decrease the nipple stimulation essential for good milk production. They also decrease the amount of milk the baby ingests. We discourage the use of nipple shields.

During these two weeks you may become “engorged” periodically. Engorgement is when the breasts are full of milk. You may become so engorged that your breasts are painful, or the baby is unable to attach to a full nipple. Heat, massage and even pumping for one minute prior to breastfeeding can be very helpful.  Over the days and weeks to come your baby’s appetite and your breast milk production will find a balance.

While breastfeeding, drink lots of water, take your prenatal vitamins, calcium supplement and fish oil capsule to improve the amount of milk you make and the nutritional content. Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking while breastfeeding. Consult your medication list for over-the-counter safe medication use.

Breast Infection

Mastitis is a breast infection. Breast infections during lactation can be serious. If you have a fever over 100.4 degrees with red, swollen, tender area in the breast, please contact the office immediately. Since the bacteria from the infection is found normally in the baby's mouth, you can continue to nurse.  Your doctor will treat the infection with an antibiotic that will be safe to take while nursing.

Support

Local lactation specialist offer education and support for breastfeeding moms.  You can find listings in the phone book.  A national group called La Leche League offers support, education and encouragement with local chapters in the Phoenix area.  Each hospital offers a one day breastfeeding class taught by a lacation specialist.

A great deal of information is available on line: