by Jamie Siebrase
Experts concur – breast milk
is best. But anybody who tells you breastfeeding is easy is either lucky as
hell or a liar.
NURSING MOMS OFTEN FIND THIS MOST NATURAL OF CONNECTIONS TO THEIR BABIES requires time, patience and support to master. Numerous local organizations stand at the ready to help quell fears, encourage tried-and-true techniques and return joy to nursing your young one.
Breastfeeding is hard, exhausting work that knows no boundaries
(3a.m. feeding? – Sounds delightful!) and has little patience for social
Perhaps this explains why Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environ-ment (CDPHE),
an organization promoting “exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of
an infant’s life and continued breastfeeding for at least one year,” reports that, while 88 percent of
Colorado moms initiate nursing, fewer than 25 percent of infants are actually
breastfed to six months. Despite
state legislation securing the right to breastfeed in public and express milk
at work, few Colorado mommas follow CDPHE’s guidelines, which are backed by the
American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization.
We’re usually glorified for our healthy
Mile-High lifestyle. So, when it comes to breastfeeding, what gives? My
personal experience involving a sordid affair with one particular Medela Pump In Style breast pump and a boob-striking
baby suggests lack of support and resources are two barriers well-intentioned
moms face. If you want to nurse, don’t give up – and don’t be a slave to
the pump. Instead, get help.
“Breastfeeding is nothing more than how
human babies expect to be nourished,” says Sara Dale-Bley,
professional liaison and leader for La Leche
League (LLL). LLL is dedicated to helping moms establish breastfeeding,
regardless of current nursing status. Drop-in style gatherings are free. Our
neighborhood chapter meets at Cherry Creek Whole Foods, 2375 E. 1st Ave., third
Mondays, 9:30a.m. and every first Tuesday, 7p.m. For
details, call 303-307-8500 or visit lllusa.org
(“Breastfeeding leaves no carbon footprint”); click on “Find a Local Group.”
Can’t make a meeting? Call LLL leaders
individually – all are extensively-trained
breastfeeding counselors – or arrange for a one-on-one help session. “We
don’t teach moms how to breastfeed,” explains Dale-Bley.
“Rather, we empower moms with support and information.”
Belly Bliss, 300 Josephine St., also
empowers nursing mommas. Co-owner Deb Mills, certified yoga instructor and
soon-to-be lactation instructor is passionate about breastfeeding. “There’s so
much more to breastfeeding than nutritional value,” beams Mills. “The bond that
occurs between mom and child is life altering.” An added bonus, Mills notes, is
the amazing things breastfeeding does for the postpartum body.
While breastfeeding may be the natural way
to feed baby, it takes effort. Belly Bliss offers a Blissful Breastfeeding
class for pregnant moms. Partners are encouraged to attend. $35/single,
$50/couple; August 1, 6:30-9p.m.
Doing your pre-baby homework isn’t always
sufficient. Breastfeeding, like biking, is a learned skill. “It’s important to
be patient,” Mills says, “And seek support.” Mills encourages nursing moms to
attend the Blissful Breastfeeding Chatter Support Group designed for
seasoned veterans and struggling newbies alike. Free if you register, $5
Other Belly Bliss offerings include: Am I
Making Enough Milk? (held July 17, 6:15-7:15p.m.;
$5), Breastfeeding Your Toddler ($5), and Weaning Workshop ($5).
Sign up online at bellybliss.org, or
Nearby hospitals promote breastfeeding. Rose
Medical Center, 4567 E. 9th Ave., presents two classes – Breastfeeding
Preparation and Breastfeeding Your Multiples. $40/couple;
register online at rosemed.com, or call
303-320-7673. Private classes available; $45/hour;
call 303-320-2864. Rose also hosts an Outpatient Lactation Support
Group for new moms. Mondays 1-2p.m.; Goodstein Conference
Room 3. Call 303-320-2072 to register.
Swedish Medical Center, 501 E.
Hampden Ave., boasts four courses. Breastfeeding Preparation and
Breastfeeding Preparation: Women Only covers basic information and
technique. Breastfeeding Multiples and Breastfeeding & Working are
other options. To register, call 1-866-779-3347 or visit swedishhospital.com. Find support at the Weekly Baby Weigh-In
Clinic. This drop-in group allows nursing moms to meet lactation
consultants, weigh baby, get advice, and connect with other lactating ladies.
Free. Wednesdays at 10a.m.; 2nd floor conference center.
Call 303-788-6500 for details.
Denver Health, 777 Bannock St., also
offers a Breastfeeding Preparation Class for pregnant women. $25/couple; first Mondays at 7p.m.; main campus Pavilion C. Call
303-602-9290 to register. Postpartum moms: attend Breastfeeding
Support After Pregnancy. Open to the community; for info, visit denverhealth.org/services.aspx or call
If you’re still struggling, try an in-home
lactation consultant. The folks at Belly Bliss happily make referrals. Or, you
can search the U.S. Lactation Consultant Association (USLCA) website (uslca.org). Go to “Resources” and “Find a Lactation
Sometimes, breastfeeding isn’t the right
choice. Thanks to modern science, you can still give baby everything she needs.
Earth’s Best Organic Infant Formula is one superb option. Aside from basic FDA-
required nutrients, Earth’s Best adds healthy doses of DHA and ARA (omega-3
fatty acids). According to Baby Center, “both of these substances are found in
breast milk, and both are important for brain and vision development.” For more
information, visit babycenter.com; read “Choosing the Best Baby Formula.” If your pediatrician
gives you the go-ahead, learn how to make formula at Belly Bliss’s Making
Your Own Baby Formula workshop ($20 per couple). Or, inquire about donor
milk by contacting your local hospital.
If your pump runneth
over, consider donating extra milk to Mother’s Milk Bank (milkbankcolorado.org). Donations go to high-need infants and
literally save lives. Staff members pick up stored milk at your home for
convenience. Call 303-869-1888 for information.