New Moms Need Support

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From the child’s name to the color of the nursery, expectant moms face a lot of choices. One of the most important is whether to breastfeed.

According to a national report card on breastfeeding, more U.S. mothers than ever—about three in four—choose nursing, at least in the beginning. That’s good news. Breast milk contains the perfect nutrition for babies. Breastfed infants have a lower risk for allergies, infections and other illnesses. They’re also less likely to be overweight as children. And nursing has perks for moms, too, including:

  • Easier weight loss
  • Less risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression
  • A closer bond with baby.

Facing Breastfeeding Challenges

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends feeding your baby breast milk alone for six months and continuing to nurse for at least one year. But the process can be physically challenging. Some women struggle with postpartum depression, jealousy from their partners or challenges in the workplace.

“The Penn State Breastfeeding Medicine Program provides emotional support and practical tools to help new moms reach their breastfeeding goals,” says pediatrician Nicole Hackman, MD, FABM, IBCLC , medical director of Lactation Services and assistant professor of Pediatrics at Penn State Pediatrics. Families have access to onsite lactation specialists, increased breastfeeding education resources and appointments available in a breastfeeding-friendly office.

Nursing for the Long Haul

“Besides getting you started, your doctor or lactation consultant can help if you have questions or problems breastfeeding,” says Dr. Hackman. “Common issues include difficulty with latching, overfull or engorged breasts, pain and infections. Mothers can call the Breastfeeding Medicine Program with questions or be seen by a lactation consultant, often on the same day.”

Despite occasional obstacles, more people are recognizing the importance of breastfeeding and supporting moms who make this healthy choice.

Your Questions Answered

For more information, visit and search for ”breastfeeding clinic.” To contact the Penn State Breastfeeding Medicine Program, call 717-531-7300. To leave a message after hours or on weekends, call the breastfeeding helpline 717-531-3754. Calls will be returned on the next business day.

Did You Know…?

Breastfeeding burns about 500 calories per day. Breastfeeding moms should choose healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts and yogurt. Avoid empty calories like those in sweets and junk food.

Drink plenty of water—about 2 quarts per day. To ensure you’re getting enough fluids, drink a glass of water every time you feed your baby. Limit sodas and fruit drinks, which have added sugars your body and baby don’t need.

Limit caffeinated food and drinks to less than 300mg of caffeine per day; talk to baby’s doctor about your caffeine limit if your baby arrived early or has a health problem.

Penn State’s Breastfeeding Medicine Program offers emotional support and practical tools to help new moms succeed at breastfeeding

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