Breastfeeding has numerous health benefits for both baby and mom, but the natural process can come with struggles.

The Lactation Center at UofL Hospital’s Center for Women & Infants helps new mothers overcome a multitude of difficulties with breastfeeding, including painful latch and inadequate milk supply. Lactation consultants provide daily education and support to inpatients in the mother/baby unit and offer lactation assistance at no charge to all breastfeeding mothers in the Louisville area.

“We support breastfeeding by helping and reassuring the mom. Most breastfeeding-related issues can be overcome,” said Teri Spurling, R.N., I.B.C.L.C., lactation consultant at UofL Hospital. “This was predominantly a formula-feeding society until 15 to 20 years ago, and there are a lot of new moms who have never seen a baby being breastfed. For some, it’s difficult to learn at first.”

Lactation Center staff members are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (I.B.C.L.C.), health care professionals who specialize in the clinical management of breastfeeding.

UofL lactation consultants provide help for several breastfeeding concerns, including but not limited to:

  • Poor latch/painful breastfeeding
  • Engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis
  • Safe pumping and storage of breast milk
  • Induced lactation (breastfeeding without pregnancy) and re-lactation (bringing back milk supply)

<p”>Babies delivered at UofL Hospital room with their mothers, which supports an infant’s need to breastfeed on demand.

Establishing a successful breastfeeding routine is crucial because of the myriad health benefits to babies and their mothers.

Compared to formula-fed babies, breastfed babies have a decreased risk of respiratory and ear infections in early childhood. They’re less likely to be obese, diabetic, develop childhood leukemia and die of sudden infant death syndrome, Spurling said.

For mothers, breastfeeding helps the uterus quickly shrink to its pre-pregnancy size, which helps reduce vaginal bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding mothers are less likely to develop postpartum depression, and have a reduced risk for breast and uterine cancers, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes. Breastfeeding also burns about 500 calories a day, which may help women lose weight gained during pregnancy, Spurling said.

For mothers who have delayed lactation because of a cesarean section or diabetes, UofL Hospital provides donor breast milk to infants to help establish gut microbiota, Spurling said. Prebiotic components in breast milk allow for healthy bacterial growth in the baby.

Donor milk is extensively tested, flash heated and processed to kill germs.

UofL Hospital can help coordinate breast milk donations for moms who have an overabundance of milk.

For breastfeeding information or help, call the Lactation Center at UofL Hospital, 502-562-6081.

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UofL Health

UofL Health is a fully integrated regional academic health system with eight hospitals, four medical centers, Brown Cancer Center, Eye Institute, nearly 200 physician practice locations, and more than 1,000 providers in Louisville and the surrounding counties, including southern Indiana. Additional access to UofL Health is provided through a partnership with Carroll County Memorial Hospital. With more than 13,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly-skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission: to transform the health of communities we serve through compassionate, innovative, patient-centered care.

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