One of the first lessons of parenting is to expect the unexpected. When planning for the arrival of a new baby, you probably don’t anticipate needing a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). However, if your baby is born prematurely or develops any complications after birth, comprehensive care is vital. Here’s why you should choose a hospital with a NICU.
Written by Jennifer Auer and originally published in Jersey Family Fun
Are you a breast-feeding mom searching for help near me?
If you’re looking for a lactation consultant in South Jersey, you are in luck! Inspira Health has lactation consultants in South Jersey ready to help you with the breast-feeding support you need. Whether you are expecting a child or have a newborn at home, moms or their loved ones can reach out to the Inspira lactation nurses.
I can still remember my own struggles to breast-feed my son. In the hospital, I didn’t see a lactation nurse after I delivered. There was no one bringing me my son for my chest-to-chest contact. I had preeclampsia and no one even wanted to let me see my son let alone nurse him. The medical team thought leaving me alone would help me keep calm. Only it didn’t. It made the childbirth experience stressful. I remember having to really push the nurses and doctors to let me spend time with him.
I wanted so badly to nurse and for it all to go well, but unfortunately, I didn’t feel supported by the hospital where I delivered, and I didn’t have any prior experience to know better. I just kind of thought that was how it goes. I would figure it out. I go home and we’d make it work.
Without a support system, breast-feeding can be a lonely experience. Breast-feeding while living with two generations of in-laws, who didn’t nurse their kids, is even harder. That first night home from the hospital my newborn seemed to cry all night. My in-laws had me believing it was because he was hungry. They kept wanting to push formula on him and I kept trying to insist he was fine. Needless to say, it was a long night. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so alone.
The Inspira difference
This past month, I had the opportunity to speak with Deborah Frye, International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant, for Inspira Medical Center Woodbury. For nearly an hour, we talked about her role at the hospital, her background, and how she and Inspira Health support moms who choose to breast-feed. I have to say I was just blown away with her passion for what she does. I told her more than once that I wish I would have had the opportunity to know her when I delivered my sons. What she does would have made such a difference to me and I know it’s making a difference to breast-feeding moms across South Jersey.
Please know, that as passionate as Deborah is, her style and the work she does on behalf of Inspira Health network going to make a man feel forced into breastfeeding or feel guilty if she decides it’s not right for her. Rather, they want to provide new expecting mothers with all the education, resources, and support they need to make the best decision for themselves and their baby to feel supported in that decision. No mom should ever have to go home from the hospital wondering if they will be able to feed the baby. As Deborah explained, “every mom leaves with a plan”. Every Inspira mom goes home with a Plan A, Plan B, Plan C, etc. She goes home feeling confident about breast-feeding and knowing who she can turn to if a problem comes up.
August is breast-feeding awareness month. Inspira maternity services ensures that each mother planning to breast-feed gets the help she needs from trained mother/baby nurses, certified lactation consultant’s, and her pediatrician, obstetrician, or midwife. Allow me to tell you just how Inspira lactation consultant’s in South Jersey help moms who want to breast-feed.
Inspira Health supports breast-feeding moms in South Jersey
The Inspira Medical Center, Elmer was the first in South Jersey to be designated as a baby-friendly birth facility. You may be asking yourself what does that mean? Aren’t all birthing centers baby friendly? Yes and no. There’s baby friendly and there’s an official designation as a baby friendly birth facility that comes as a result of a long, arduous, and expensive process. At the core of that it means the Inspira Medical Center Elmer
- Has a breastfeeding policy
- Educates all moms about breastfeeding during the prenatal phase of pregnancy
- Doctors and maternity nurses, not just lactation consultant get regular education around breast-feeding
- Works to ensure that moms have chest-to-chest contact with their babies (within 1 hour after vaginal delivery and 2 hours after cesarean delivery)
- And more.
- While the Inspira Medical Center in Vineland and Woodbury do not have this official designation, they follow the practices and policies of their Elmer location especially when it comes to supporting new moms.
Breastfeeding support from the beginning
I questioned Deborah at length about what does breast-feeding support and education look like in the Inspira system. I wanted to know how Inspira helps women before childbirth prepare to nurse. What can a new mom expect?
First and foremost, during a mom’s prenatal care she will be provided a booklet about breast-feeding. As part of one of her prenatal appointments, expecting moms have an opportunity to watch a brief video on an iPad about the benefits of breast-feeding.
In addition to the breast-feeding classes listed below, OB/GYN’s work with expecting moms to determine how much additional breast-feeding education and support she needs and wants.
Breast-feeding classes in South Jersey at Inspira Health hospitals
Inspira medical centers off of breast-feeding classes in each of their South Jersey location: Vineland, Woodbury, and Elmer. Class times and fees vary.
Continued help with nursing
It made me happy to know breast-feeding support and education doesn’t stop when the prenatal care is over. A man could have missed the opportunities to learn more during prenatal care. She could’ve changed her mind. She could just want more support. Any number of things could’ve happened. It doesn’t matter. Inspira Medical Centers are still there to support moms.
Most moms will be seen by a lactation consultant during the labor process. They can also request a book about how to breast-feed.
After childbirth, but while still in the hospital, the lactation consultant will visit with new moms offering support, advocacy, and help as needed with breast-feeding. Should be lactation consultant not be available on maternity nurses have been trained on breast-feeding techniques, strategies, and ways to support nursing moms. Again, mom’s will leave the hospital confident in their ability to feed their child whether that’s nursing, pumping, bottle feeding, alternative feeding methods or a combination of all of those.
After discharge from the hospital, moms will get a follow-up postpartum call from either a maternity nurse and/or a lactation consultant who can offer additional breast-feeding support if needed.
The Warmline, a breastfeeding hotline
The Warmline is available exclusively to Inspira moms to offer immediate help with breastfeeding issues Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm. When a mom calls, she will be speaking directly with one of the Inspira lactation consultants. If she delivered her child through Inspira Medical Centers, the lactation nurses will be able to help directly. If she didn’t, then the nurses will put her in touch with other lactation consultants that can help.
Online Breastfeeding Support
An additional way that Inspira Health supports breastfeeding moms is with education on their site. For example, if you’re a nursing mom encountering any kind of breast pain, I encourage you read their blog post, Common Issues with Breastfeeding and How to Solve Them. I’d actually encourage you to read it now. Not because I want to discourage you from breastfeeding, but just because these issues are so normal that it can’t hurt to be educated beforehand.
Where else can South Jersey moms go for help with breastfeeding?
- La Leche League International is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization that organizes advocacy, educational, and training related to breastfeeding. They offer support online and in person. They even have a private Facebook support group.
- WIC offers wonderful breastfeeding support. For moms, eligible for WIC, there is a 24-hour breastfeeding support line available to speak with moms in either English or Spanish.
- Two Hands Birth Services offers breastfeeding education and counseling in Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem, Ocean, Atlantic, cape May & Cumberland Counties.
- Some Family Success Centers across South Jersey also offer breastfeeding classes or support groups.
About the Inspira lactation consultants in South Jersey
Thank anyone can be a lactation consultant? Again, it’s a yes and no kind of answer. Lactation consultants all typically start with a basic desire to support moms on their breastfeeding journey. From there it’s a little different for each lactation nurse. Some come from a background of being a nurse. Others might have worked with WIC to support breastfeeding moms.
However, to achieve certification as a lactation consultant and maintain that certification status, certain requirements must be met. There are science classes, specific lactation education, a minimum of 1000 service hours and a 4-hour international exam. Certified lactation consultants must get re-certified every 5 years.
A last thought about Inspira Lactation Consultants in South Jersey
When Deborah and I talked about what’s something she wishes all moms knew about breastfeeding, she talked about the struggle that sometimes exists to breastfeed. It’s not always easy. Sometimes others around us, who might mean well, are part of the problem. Breastfeeding can take work. It can be so easy to get discouraged, especially if you don’t have the support system or know how beneficial breast milk can be to your child.
Let the maternity team at Inspira Medical Centers be there for you. Ask all the questions. Learn all the things. Lean on them when you are having a difficult time.
My breastfeeding journey was difficult, but it’s something I will never regret. I went on to nurse my two other sons as well. I only regret that I didn’t have a team like Inspira’s and a nurse like Deborah to guide me through it. You don’t need to have regrets. You don’t need to be alone.