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August 02, 2023

World Breastfeeding Week: Lactation support group helps mom’s feeding journey

IU Health West Hospital

World Breastfeeding Week: Lactation support group helps mom’s feeding journey

By Emma Avila,, write for IU Health’s Indianapolis Suburban Region

Through a lactation support group at IU Health West, Melissa Mooney has found help breastfeeding both of her children.

For some mothers, breastfeeding comes naturally. For others, it can be a challenge. Melissa Mooney knows firsthand how difficult breastfeeding can be.

She just gave birth to her second child, Liam, in April of this year at IU Health West. She immediately asked to see one of the hospital’s lactation consultants.

Melissa Mooney holding her newborn baby to her chest

“I struggled to nurse in the beginning with my first child, so I was proactive this time around. I wanted this breastfeeding journey to be smoother than my first,” Melissa said.

 She began attending the hospital’s weekly in-person breastfeeding support group in 2018 after her daughter, Azlyn, was born. Azlyn was losing weight, despite breastfeeding around the clock. Her pediatrician recommended Melissa try out the group.

“This support group is open to any breast or chest feeding parent, no matter where they delivered or the age of the baby,” said Crecia Montgomery, a lactation consultant at IU Health West.

Crecia Montgomery, lactation consultant at IU Health West
Crecia Montgomery, lactation consultant at IU Health West

“I attended with my daughter for three months. I learned how to increase my milk supply through diet and power pumping,” Melissa recalled. “I knew I wanted to attend again this time around. With my son, I’ve had help with his latch and how to introduce a bottle. Both times, I’ve used the weighed feedings to see approximately how much milk is transferred and determine the amount of milk I need to send to daycare. I’ve also received tips on when and how to pump in preparation for returning to work.”

While her time in the group has helped Melissa learn what techniques work best for her, she has also found emotional support.

“It’s very much a little community. We cheer each other on, share stories and experiences and genuinely care about each other’s wellbeing,” she said.

Melissa Mooney and her two children, Azlyn and Liam
Melissa Mooney and her two children, Azlyn and Liam

The first week of August is World Breastfeeding Week, a global campaign dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. 

“Breast or chest feeding offers babies a perfect nutrition for building and supporting a healthy immune system, leading to optimal health outcomes and decreased risks of certain diseases,” Montgomery said. “Research has also shown a lower risk of postpartum depression for the parent."

Melissa hopes other mothers know that if they are struggling, they aren’t alone.

“Despite what people say, breastfeeding doesn’t always come naturally. If you’re struggling, it’s ok. There’s nothing wrong with seeking help and guidance if breastfeeding is something you truly want to pursue,” she said.

“Often parents need assistance to get them started or to help when obstacles present themselves,” Montgomery added. “I would encourage any parent having difficulty with their lactation journey to seek out support. Having a strong support system is key for a successful lactation experience. Skilled lactation care should be a part of that support system.”

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