Congratulations on your decision to breastfeed
If you’ve decided to breastfeed, you are making a very important decision for your baby’s health as well as your own – and NCH Breastfeeding Support Services will help you every step of the way: before birth, during your stay at the hospital and after discharge. Breastfeeding for at least the first year of a baby’s life is recommended by most professional medical organizations because breast milk provides not only nourishment but also protection from many illnesses.
Breastfeeding is proven to benefit both the nursing baby and mother. For the baby, breast milk provides an optimal mix of nutrients and antibodies that improve lung function and decrease the risk of:
- Childhood cancer and diabetes
- Adult obesity
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory and ear infections
- Allergic skin disorders
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
NCH has been awarded a special grant to encourage mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies for the first six months for these optimal health benefits. Hospital staff will work with mothers to get the baby to breast within one hour of delivery. We follow the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of giving your baby no bottles or pacifiers unless medically ordered.
Nervous about breastfeeding? Confused? Don’t worry, we’re here for you
We offer a full range of lactation (breastfeeding) services to help you learn more about breastfeeding — before your child is born, while you’re in the hospital and after you and your baby go home.
Breastfeeding education before birth
Breastfeeding help in the hospital
- Certified lactation consultants provide breastfeeding support as requested by the mother, nursing staff or doctors.
- Breastfeeding consultations are automatically scheduled if infant’s medical needs require it.
Breastfeeding support after discharge
- Courtesy phone call by a certified lactation consultant five days after discharge
- Consultations by phone welcomed at any time
- New mothers are encouraged to call for any reason, such as:
- Growth spurts
- Pumping guidelines
- Returning to work
- Too much or too little milk
- Introducing solid foods
- Subsequent pregnancies
- Or anything else of concern to mother/baby
- Outpatient visits by appointment – call 847.618.8545
- Mother-Baby Hour – A free NCH-sponsored program where new moms can share the uncertainty of everyday motherhood in a relaxed environment. You and your baby are invited to join one of our perinatal educators at First Presbyterian Church, 302 N. Dunton in Arlington Heights every Tuesday from 10-11:30 am. For more information, call 847.618.4YOU(4968).
Learning to breastfeed
After giving birth at Northwest Community Hospital, you will be encouraged to keep your baby in your room. By keeping your infant with you whenever possible, you will become attuned to your baby’s feeding cues and able to respond as needed. The first few days of life, babies have no “feeding schedules” and their need to be at breast can be misunderstood. They may often “cluster feed” (especially at night) wanting to be close to mom not only for food but for security. Baby can also be difficult to wake even after 3-4 hours during daytime feedings.
Occasionally a mother chooses to do both breast and bottle feed because she needs to return to work, school or has other commitments that will require mom and baby to be separated. In order to protect the learning process, it is recommended that you wait until breastfeeding is well established before introducing a bottle or a pacifier. You may request a pacifier or a bottle to feed your baby, or give the staff permission to feed at any time. If bottle-feeding is requested or necessary on a continued basis, we recommend you start pumping in order to establish/protect your milk supply and prevent extreme engorgement when milk comes in.
Call Breastfeeding Support Services at 847.618.8545 for the following conditions:
- Failure to latch-on or poor latch
- Baby falls asleep within 5 minutes of starting
- You do not see/hear the baby swallowing
- Baby doesn't soften or "empty" at least one breast each feeding – after your milk is in
- Fussy baby at breast even with a good latch
- By day 5, baby has fewer than 6 soaking wet diapers and 3 seedy, yellow bowel movements each day
- Sore, damaged nipples
- Severe engorgement not improved after baby nurses
- Breastfeed frequently, alternating positions
- Ice/cold pack after feedings
- Pump to comfort, if pressure not relieved from frequent nursing
- Blocked ducts or mastitis: a pain in a specific area of the breast that may or may not be accompanied by a lump, redness, or extremely tender to touch. Baby may tend to be fussy during this time as flow of milk may be hindered.
- Warm compress on affected area for 2-3 minutes before breastfeeding
- Offer affected side first
- If possible position baby so there is a pressure from baby’s chin while breastfeeding
- Ibuprofen (if no allergy) to manage pain and swelling
- Cold/ice pack for 10 minutes after each breastfeeding
- Rest as much as possible, drink adequate fluids
- Call your OB/midwife if your temperature is >100.4°F.
- Continue above recommendations and if an antibiotic is ordered take all of the medication to prevent reoccurrence
- Diet – no real limitations
- Recommended breast pumps
- Building up a supply of breast milk in the freezer
- Baby has slow weight gain
- Low milk supply
- Any other questions related to breastfeeding or your breasts
We also offer outpatient appointments 6 days a week. Please call 847.618.8545 to schedule an appointment.
Take a virtual tour of one of our labor and delivery rooms.
Download a comprehensive packing list for mothers-to-be.
Download an NCH/Community Resource List for parents.
Find out how NCH can help you have the best possible childbirth experience. To sign up for a tour of the Women’s Center or to find an obstetrician, certified nurse midwife or pediatrician, call 847.618.4YOU (4968).