Research shows that babies who are breast fed are at a lower risk of developing ear infections, stomach viruses, asthma and diabetes to name a few. Breastfeeding doesn't always come naturally though and that's why Avera St. Luke's in Aberdeen has lactation specialists on staff to step-in and help new moms.
Health experts say breastfeeding is the best thing you can do for your baby. Breast milk has antibodies (disease-fighting cells) that help protect infants from germs, illness and even SIDS. Research shows formula can't match what the human body produces. Robyn Ewalt of Aberdeen knew that and was determined to breastfeed her children.
Robyn tells us, "With my first born son, who is 2 1/2 years old now, we had every difficulty you can imagine. A poor latch, mastitis, blocked ducts, nursing strikes. You name the problem and we had it."
Robyn says if it wasn't for the support, advice and help of lactation specialists like Charlotte Bachman Couser at the Avera St. Luke's BirthPlace she probably would have given up on breastfeeding.
Robyn says, "It's extremely concerning .You just want to feed your baby and you want to nurture them, but your baby doesn't seem to be getting it or you aren't getting it and you worry that the baby will lose weight or their health will suffer. There is a lot of anguish involved when nursing doesn't go well. You think to yourself do I give up? Thank goodness there is help out there for moms having trouble."
Charlotte Bachman Couser, RN says, "Yes, mothers do face challenges with breastfeeding because it's actually a learned experience. Mother and baby have to come together and learn about the connection. And continue the connection so babies can continue feeding."
Through perseverance and some pain Robyn avoided formula and the bottle and ended up breastfeeding her son for a year which is what's recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. By the time her second baby arrived, she says she was more prepared.
Robyn says, "With the second one, the experience is much better. Our baby girl is a good nurser and good eater. I had a lot more confidence because of what I went through with the first one."
Giving your baby the best you have to offer from the very beginning is what Robyn was and is determined to do and she's grateful for the help from the folks at Avera St. Luke's BirthPlace who helped make that possible.
Avera St. Luke's offers support for families after they leave the hospital through a program called "Nurturing the Family". Lactation specialists invite families back to help with any difficulties mom and baby may be having with feeding at home.