Breastfeeding Your Baby: Help is Available

By Carolina Boyd

When Ashley Minkeu gave birth to her son almost eight years ago, she quickly realized she needed help breastfeeding her baby.

“I had significant pain each time my son latched on, and since I didn’t know if he was receiving enough milk from me, compared to the formula he was initially drinking, I honestly felt defeated.” said Minkeu.

That defeat was replaced with success after she began working with a lactation consultant.

“We were having a latching issue and once my lactation specialist helped me with that, I was able to successfully breastfeed him for over 22 months,” said Minkeu.

It is stories, like Minkeu’s, that are celebrated during World Breastfeeding Week. This global event, which is traditionally observed August 1-7, was created to promote exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby’s life. Breast milk is full of vitamins, minerals and nutrients unique to a baby’s needs. Plus, it is more easily digested than infant formula, and it can provide a cost savings over formula.

“Everyone needs good nutrition. But it is more important for babies and children because they need good nutrition to grow and develop,” said Yanett Hodgson, Legacy Community Health’s Lactation Consultant. “Breastfeeding may reduce a baby’s risk of infections and many diseases, including allergies, celiac disease and diabetes, as well as lowers the risk of sudden infant death Syndrome (SIDS).”

Legacy wants to create an environment where breastfeeding is encouraged as well as supported. We offer free breastfeeding classes at most of our clinics to encourage pregnant and postpartum patients to breastfeed. In addition, we have a lactation specialist based at Legacy’s Southwest clinic, located at 6441 High Star, to aid moms who are having trouble breastfeeding and need more attention.

“The biggest concern that most women have about breastfeeding is about milk production. They worry that their baby is not getting enough milk,” said Hodgson.

Many new moms miss out on the golden hour, the first hour after the birth of a child. It is considered vital in the bond between mother and child. It is also the best time to try to start breastfeeding. The stronger the bond, the higher the chances of success for breastfeeding goals.

Breastfeeding benefits moms by lowering the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, helping with weight loss, improving blood sugar and cholesterol levels, as well as protecting them from diabetes, metabolic syndrome and postpartum depression.

Minkeu did not use a Legacy lactation specialist for her breastfeeding challenges, but she now works for the organization as a Public Health Manager and helps to educate other women about the benefits of breastfeeding.

“There are no failures with breastfeeding and every woman’s journey is different. Even just attempting to breastfeed, whether long-term or not, is still beneficial for your baby,” said Minkeu.

If you have any questions or are interested in one of Legacy’s breastfeeding classes, please reach out to our Public Health team at (832) 548-5221. To schedule an appointment with our lactation specialist, talk to your Legacy provider to get a referral.