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Pacific Women’s Center has a lactation consultant in Eugene who teaches classes right here. Since 2012, we’ve worked with Devorah Bianchi of Loving Arms Lactation to present our ongoing lactation classes.

Breastfeeding does not come automatically easy for every mother. Talking with a lactation consultant in Eugene helps explain some of the problems and solutions that moms might be facing. Or, take a lactation class. A lot of moms do have trouble breastfeeding and can feel like “they can’t do it,” which may make them want to give up breastfeeding. Getting help from a lactation consultant can help moms realize that it does get easier and can be enjoyable and healthy for baby and mom.

When to take a lactation class?

We suggest that expectant mothers take a lactation and breastfeeding class one to two months before their baby is due. We encourage the mothers-to-be to bring along their spouse or partner, or whoever will be involved in the baby’s care and support of the mother. Even though the men can’t breastfeed, they can learn about how important breastfeeding is and how to support the mom while she’s breastfeeding.

Taking the class before the baby is born helps the family to establish a relationship with the lactation consultant before the birth. So if you do need a consultant afterwards, you are already at ease with her. You can also hear first-hand from other moms-to-be what they are worried about or how their pregnancy is going. It’s a great way to connect with others in the community who are experiencing some of the same things you are.

The lactation classes are free, generally held once per month, for Pacific Women’s Center patients. Please contact our office at 541-342-8616 to schedule your attendance or ask your obstetrician at your next appointment. Breastfeeding is a skill that can take time to develop. But with support, like what you will find in a class taught by a lactation consultant, you and your baby will benefit. See you at the class!

Breastfeeding is a special bond between mother and baby. It’s well known that nursing delivers optimum health benefits to the newborn. The perfect blend of vitamins, proteins, and fat are available through breast milk. Among the many benefits of lactation, breast milk is more easily digested than infant formula, has antibodies that fight off viruses and bacteria, and lowers a baby’s risks of having asthma and allergies.

For mothers, the benefit of breastfeeding includes burning more calories, which helps in returning to a healthy pre-pregnancy weight. It also helps the uterus get back to pre-pregnancy size due to the release of the hormone oxytocin. Furthermore, it lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

For a new mother, lactation can be challenging in the beginning until she and her baby get adjusted to the feeding routine. Some challenges that mothers may experience have to do with sore nipples, cracked nipples, worry that not enough breast milk is being produced, pumping and storing milk, inverted nipples, breast engorgement, blocked ducts, stress, and breast infection (mastitis).

Facts about lactation for new moms

In the beginning stages, colostrum (a thin watery fluid) is present until mature milk (a thicker, whitish consistency) is produced. The gradual process should lead to producing as much food as an infant will need.

Some other factors to consider:

The more a mother breastfeeds, the more milk her body will make.
Breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt.
Newborns nurse often, every 2 to 4 hours.
Feeding cues from the baby include signs like mouthing, lip smacking, turning toward the breast, and sucking on fists. These cues or on-demand nursing (every 3 to 4 hours, helps ensure sufficient milk supply since the baby’s nursing engages this milk-making process.
It’s okay if a baby doesn’t nurse on both breasts at one feeding. Start with the other breast at the next feeding.
Breast care doesn’t need to be more complicated than one bath or shower a day to keep nipples clean. Wash hands before feeding a baby. There’s no need to use extra lotions or soap products for nipples.

Challenges of lactation:

Difficulty in baby latching (process of baby putting mouth around mother’s nipple and beginning to nurse)
Breast pain
Cracked or irritated nipples
Clogged or plugged milk ducts (when a duct gets blocked, milk can back up and produce a tender lump.)
Mastitis (inflammation of breast tissue that results in breast pain, swelling, and redness in one or both breasts.)
Stress or anxiety about breastfeeding

Breastfeeding should be an enjoyable experience between mother and baby, but it is something that may take some time to settle into. Mothers shouldn’t be discouraged if breastfeeding doesn’t feel comfortable or natural at first. It takes practice.

If pain persists, it is possible improper positioning or latching is the reason.

If a mother experiences extreme pain breastfeeding or has any of the challenges listed, she should seek expert assistance. Pacific Women’s Center has lactation resources who help mothers with breastfeeding concerns. The center also offers free breastfeeding classes to expectant mothers.

Call us today for help with any lactation or breastfeeding issues. We want to ensure mothers have the best experience possible with their new baby.