Breastfeeding may be one of the most natural things in the world, but it has definitely not been the easiest for me. I had the fun opportunity of partnering with NJMOM & RWJBarnabas Health to tour and participate in the Newark Beth Babies: Breastfeeding Support Group and class offered at the Rev. Dr. Ronald B. Christian Community Health and Wellness Center at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, an RWJBarnabas Health facility in Newark, NJ. This Breastfeeding Support Group is an extension of the many services offered through Newark Beth Israel’s “Mother Baby” program, which offers a variety of childbirth education classes, including a four-week series of preparation for labor & delivery classes, a breastfeeding class, support groups, and maternity unit tours that are offered several days a week.
The Breastfeeding Support Group at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center aims to support mothers in breastfeeding for as long as they would like. I loved how women are able to share their goals, fears, and experiences, and also have their questions answered by qualified breastfeeding peer counselors and lactation consultants. Topics covered include (but are not limited to): expressing breast milk, milk storage, weaning, recognizing hunger cues, correct latching techniques, and prevention of pain and sore nipples. Whether you walk in pregnant and eager to learn, exhausted with a newborn and shallow latch, or you are successfully nursing a toddler, this group will benefit you and give you the support and advice you may need.
As a nursing mother of a soon-to-be 14-month-old, I know firsthand the endless struggles new mothers face when embarking on their nursing journey. Issues such as an incorrect latch, supply and demand, mastitis, partner support/partner bonding, stereotypes, and even nursing in public, create what sometimes feels like an endless obstacle course for us to navigate. Every developmental stage our babies go and grow through pose additional changes in feeding habits, and nursing behavior. Breastfeeding support groups provide wonderful resources for mothers so that they do not have to do it all alone, and more importantly so that they do not have to feel alone. My biggest take away from this class was the deeper realization that every mother’s journey with breastfeeding is truly unique and it is important to provide judgment-free support. I also loved that the instructors placed significance on the fact that breastfeeding is learned, and as new mothers, we should give ourselves (as well as our babies) the time needed to master the skill and, lastly, to always trust your gut.
In addition, I love that the class offered up-to-date tips and advice enabling moms to make the best choices for themselves and their babies. The group brings together expecting mothers, breastfeeding/pumping mothers, babies and their partners in a relaxing, comfortable and most importantly, judgment-free environment.
It was so great to see nursing mothers in our North Jersey community being educated, encouraged, and empowered.