Breast milk is best!


Tuomey Women and Children’s Services and Sumter OB/GYN want moms to know: Breast milk is best! 

The evidence is clear and abundant: Breast-fed babies have lower rates of diabetes, obesity, SIDS, childhood leukemia and other illnesses. They are less likely to have asthma or allergies, diarrhea or ear infections. They have stronger teeth and bones and a greater rate of brain development. Moms who breast feed have a reduced risk of ovarian, breast and cervical cancer. They bond quickly with their babies and lose their pregnancy weight more quickly.

For those reasons and more, Tuomey Healthcare System wants to encourage all moms to breastfeed unless there are medical reasons for not doing so. 

Tuomey is working toward gaining Baby Friendly USA certification, an outgrowth of the global Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative launched in the ‘90s by the World Health Organization and UNICEF in response to overwhelming evidence of the health benefits of breastfeeding. Our Women and Children’s Services department and Sumter OB/GYN want to make sure that all babies have the best possible beginnings, and that moms and babies are prepared for a happy, healthy transition home.

We believe the best way to do that is to keep mothers and their newborns together as much as possible in a nurturing environment. The three most important things we can do are: To promote breastfeeding as the best overall nourishment for the baby; to make sure you have skin-to-skin contact as soon as possible after the child is born; and to support 24-hour rooming in for Mom and Baby.

The newborn infant will be placed on the mother’s chest immediately after birth. Family members should know that they may not be able to see the baby right away because of this practice. It helps to regulate the baby’s blood sugar, breathing, heart rate and body temperature. A baby against its mother’s skin can hear her heartbeat, which is familiar and calming. The baby is also more likely to latch on to the breast by themselves. They’ll breastfeed more often, which promotes a good milk supply for the mom. 

Some mothers worry about being too exhausted to care for their newborn, or not sleeping well with the baby in the room all day and night, but babies transition much more smoothly when they’re with their mother, so they actually cry less and sleep better – and that means Mom will, too. Through rooming in, moms will learn from the nurses and doctors as they care for the baby, and they’ll have more opportunities to ask questions. The staff can teach moms and dads how to swaddle the baby and soothe him when he’s fussy. Moms will end up with more quiet time and will learn much more quickly what the baby’s cues are for breastfeeding or comfort.

Babies will not be offered formula or pacifiers unless they are medically indicated.

If you’re planning to deliver your baby at Tuomey and you have questions, be sure to ask your obstetrician at your next visit. Call Sumter OB at 775-8351 or Tuomey’s Childbirth Educator at 774-8828.  

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