Breastfeeding is more than just infant feeding. It is a commitment that requires support and protection for those who choose to provide human milk to their child for any length of time. For parents who have an infant that is hospitalized, a network of support is especially important.
As you support any breastfeeding parent, it is important to remember that:
- Direct breastfeeding and pumping occurs around the clock. Be sensitive to odd sleeping hours.
- Cleaning pumping supplies is an endless task but an important one. Helping clean these small pieces can be the kindest gesture.
- It can be challenging to multi-task while breastfeeding or pumping. Bringing snacks to a breastfeeding parent that they can eat with one hand may be helpful.
- Breastfeeding and pumping can be a sensitive topic as each parent’s experience is different. Be gentle with communication.
Valley Children’s Lactation Team serves inpatient families with in-unit and phone consultations to meet their infant feeding goals. Our team provides support to more than 1,200 inpatient families a year. If you have a child who is admitted to the hospital, and they rely on breastmilk for nourishment, our experts are here to help.
Did you know?
- A mother may need to pump if her child is too ill to breastfeed. Valley Children’s has double electric breast pumps, pump supplies and private pump stations that are available to parents of our patients throughout the hospital.
- Most insurances will cover the cost of a personal-use breast pump following delivery.
- Human milk is unique and tailor made to meet each child’s needs.
- In the NICU, Valley Children’s Hospital utilizes donor breast milk when a mother’s own breast milk is unavailable. Valley Children’s Hospital receives all donor milk is from Mother’s Milk Bank in San Jose, CA. If you are interested in becoming a milk donor, please contact Mother’s Milk Bank at 1-877-375-6645.
The commitment to provide your child with breastmilk is rewarding, but parents may also experience challenges at times. It is important to remember that you are not alone and that there are community resources available:
Valley Children’s International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) work collaboratively with the health care team to meet the lactation needs of our patients and their families. Our IBCLCs specialize in the clinical management of breastfeeding. The lactation team provides assistance with direct breastfeeding, management of milk production as well as weaning.
If you are planning a hospital stay at Valley Children’s, and would like more information, contact the Valley Children’s Lactation Team at 559-353-5427 with questions specific to you.
About the Author
This blog post was written by Valley Children's nurse, Kristina Newton, RN, IBCLC