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April 21, 2021

IU Health West Lactation Consultant Shares the Importance of Breastfeeding

IU Health West Hospital

IU Health West Lactation Consultant Shares the Importance of Breastfeeding

Jan Record, lactation consultant at IU Health West Hospital, knows how difficult breastfeeding can be after experiencing her own personal hardships. Record shares the benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby, as well as breastfeeding advice and tips.

By Caleigh Ramey, Communications Intern, IU Health Indianapolis Suburban Region, cramey4@IUHealth.org

After experiencing personal hardships with breastfeeding, Jan Record, lactation consultant at IU Health West Hospital, wants to help other mothers avoid the struggles she had when starting to breastfeed. She shares the benefits for both the mom and baby, as well as advice and tips for breastfeeding mothers.

Record is from Avon and graduated from Avon High School. She went to college at the University of Evansville and became a lactation consultant through a UCLA extension program, first certifying in 1994. Record has been a lactation consultant for almost 30 years and found her desire to become one because of her second child.

“I had some issues with breastfeeding, but we were able to work through it without a lactation consultant,” Record said. “That time really helped me see how difficult breastfeeding can be and pushed me to want to be a lactation consultant to help moms avoid what I went through as I was struggling with latching. I knew that I wanted to be there and give support to them and their baby through difficult times. As a NICU nurse, I knew the importance of breast milk for babies. I later learned of the many benefits for both the mother and baby.”

Research shows that breastfeeding is beneficial for the child in many ways from helping their immune system to creating a strong emotional bond.

“Milk is species-specific, human babies are meant to have human milk, so there are many benefits for the child,” Record explained. “The milk is easily digestible which leads to the baby having a decreased risk of getting infections such as ear infections, urinary tract infections, gastrointestinal or respiratory infections. Breastfeeding builds a baby's immune system, provides protection against diseases, decreases the risk of obesity, allergies, cancer, and diabetes, while it also protects against sudden infant death syndrome. Studies have also shown that the skin-to-skin contact involved with breastfeeding releases the hormones serotonin and oxytocin in both mom and baby which encourages a strong emotional bond and leads to better emotional development. It is also a place of comfort, safety and security for a baby that mom always has available.”

The benefits aren’t just for the baby, breastfeeding is beneficial for mothers, too.

“For the mother, some benefits of breastfeeding are a decrease in ovarian cancer, breast cancer and uterine cancer. Some studies show a decrease in heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes and obesity while increasing weight loss. This is because a woman burns extra calories when she is breastfeeding and she gets the pre-pregnancy size of her uterus back faster because the oxytocin that is released contracts her uterus back down to their normal size quicker. The benefits are vast and can sometimes sway a mother who isn’t really sure they would like to breastfeed into breastfeeding.”

She says some of the most common questions asked by mothers are regarding latching, milk supply and nipple soreness.

“We try our best to help moms get off to a good start breastfeeding so they don’t run into any unexpected issues or problems. The best thing to prevent nipple soreness is for them to get a really good latch in the beginning, so the babies are attached to the breast deeply. We work a lot on positioning and latching so they feel as comfortable as possible. Milk supply is something that latching and positioning are also helpful for because if the baby isn't effectively emptying the breast then that’s going to affect milk supply. Everything with breastfeeding is all connected, so having a good understanding and support system is greatly beneficial to the mothers and babies.”

Record offers these 5 tips for new breastfeeding moms:

  1. Have skin-to-skin contact with your baby immediately after birth and as much as possible in the first few weeks.
  2. Breastfeed within the first 30-60 minutes after delivery. That’s when most babies are in the awake and alert state.
  3. When breastfeeding, use pillows to support your arms and your baby.
  4. Remember to rest when your baby sleeps.
  5. A good latch should not be painful. If you’re experiencing discomfort, ask your nurse or lactation consultant for help.

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