Breastfeeding Awareness: Expert Advice From RWJBarnabas Health


This post is sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health to help every NJMOM and their family be their healthiest.

August is Breastfeeding Awareness Month, and while nursing benefits both mamas and babes, it may not always be easy. Some moms have a more challenging journey with a baby who won’t latch on or take her milk, while others find the stress of a nursing schedule getting in the way of their bonding experience. But this month is all about assuring new and seasoned mamas you’re not alone—there is support from classes to resources and products. We sat down with Sarah Rieber, DNP APN-C IBCLC Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and Lactation Consultant, and Tara Murphy, MSN, RN, IBCLC, Lactation Consultant at RWJBarnabas Health, to learn more about breastfeeding, tips on what do if you’re experiencing any roadblocks, and ways to support mama and baby during this time. (featured photo credit: istock/Nastasic)

What are the benefits of breastfeeding? And what changes and new recommendations have been made about breastfeeding?

One of the best things we can do as a start for our children is to provide them with the best nutrition available through breast milk. Not only is your baby being fed milk customized for them, but it also passes on the benefit of the mother’s immune factors for as long as the baby receives breastmilk. 

Feeding your baby at the breast is one of the most rewarding experiences of motherhood, is a great way to feel connected to the baby, and is the healthiest way to feed a baby in the first year of life. Doctors at the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, then adding solid foods as complementary nourishment. Continue to breastfeed for 2 years or until mom and baby decide to stop. The more a baby receives breastmilk, the more protection they will have against short and long-term illness.

Are there any common roadblocks new moms, or even seasoned moms, face when breastfeeding? And what are the signs you need help?

Some common roadblocks that new moms can face include:

  • Latching issues – a bad latch can lead to pain and ineffective milk transfer.
  • Sore Nipples
  • Engorgement – when breasts are overly full or swollen, it can make breastfeeding challenging or latching difficult.
  • Low milk supply
  • Oversupply of milk
  • Shifting to motherhood and balancing this new role with everyday responsibilities
  • Pumping and Storage – Some women breastfeed, some pump, and some do both. When mothers return to work or spend time away from their babies, they need to plan and organize for this new routine.
  • Support and Understanding from family, friends, and the community – if this is lacking, it can make breastfeeding more challenging
  • Weaning Challenges
  • Returning to work – Finding a suitable place and time to pump and where to store milk and maintain a supply for the baby can be a new challenge.

It’s good to reach out for support whenever a new family has questions about breastfeeding. A prenatal breastfeeding class or one-on-one consultation is a great way to get started. After the baby is born, families should be encouraged to reach out for support if they need any of the following below:

  • Evaluation of breastmilk intake during feeding and weighted feeds
  • Feeding strategies to support successful lactation
  • Establishment of milk supply
  • Breastfeeding premature babies
  • Breastfeeding multiples and tandem feeding
  • Sore nipples
  • Transition for return to work/school
  • Management of engorgement, plugged ducts, mastitis
  • Re-establish milk supply after interruption
  • Pumping support
  • Weaning

Which products would you recommend for breastfeeding?

A good breastfeeding bra can be helpful, and now they have shirts and dresses that make breastfeeding easy and discreet, too. Most insurance will provide a breast pump for free through the Affordable Care Act. Call your insurance company to inquire. When shopping for a breast pump, ask other moms, read reviews and consider what type of pump you need before purchasing. 

What can a partner, family, or friends do to help support a mother while they are breastfeeding?

Partners are a huge help and can ensure mom and baby are happy and healthy. As new parents adjust to their new roles, talking often and listening for ways to help is good. Partners can do everything up to and after breastfeeding, including soothing the baby, bathing, changing, dressing, cuddling, and doing skin-to-skin. They can also keep mom company during feedings. 

Family can make meals and help with cleaning, or in between feedings, they can stay with the baby while mom takes a nap. Visitors can sit with the baby so mom can sleep between feedings. When you have a newborn, it is always a good idea to sleep when the baby sleeps so that you feel recharged when it’s time for the next feeding.

What resources are available to someone looking for breastfeeding support, and how does joining a group or seeing a specialist help?

Education and hands-on assistance are crucial in supporting mothers who breastfeed, as it helps them achieve a proper latch and ensures successful breastfeeding. Continuing with a breastfeeding support group offering mother-to-mother support with RN, IBCLC moderators can help them to build a community and ask questions as their breastfeeding journey evolves.

The Breastfeeding Wellness Center, located at the Anne Vogel Family Wellness Center in Eatontown, a part of RWJBarnabas Health Medical Group and affiliated with Monmouth Medical Center, offers comprehensive lactation support services. This program has been expanded to provide prenatal breastfeeding support with education before delivery, in-hospital lactation support, and continued lactation services after discharge.

Here are links to register for FREE breastfeeding classes and support groups

Outpatient Lactation Support (all services are provided by a registered nurse, board-certified lactation consultant)

Registration is required for all programs by calling 862-781-3873

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About Author

Melanie Bodner has always had a love for writing, but now she has a new love…being a mom. Before having her kids, Melanie was no stranger to writing or working with children. She wrote for a local newspaper as a reporter and taught English and Dance in a public school. Now Melanie enjoys spending time with her kids, doing yoga, writing and decorating her home. Check out her Instagram @burlapbythebeach.