Strong Families from the Start

Breastfeeding Advice & Tips

Breastfeeding has been shown to have substantial benefits to a child, but confusion about the practice remains because it wasn't too long ago when new mothers were told formula was just as good or better than breast milk. New mothers also worry about the convenience of breastfeeding when they rely on grandparents or child care to watch their babies while at work. Other new mothers worry that they can't breast feed. We hope these tips and resources help take the worry out of breastfeeding for all new moms! 

Why Breastfeed?

Myths & Tips

Alternatives for those unable to breastfeed

Additional Resources

Why Should Mothers Breastfeed?
Each case is personal, and there are a lot of misconceptions out there, but below are some compelling reasons why mother’s should breastfeed, so you can gauge it for yourself. As a whole, 97% of all mothers are physically capable of nursing, if they choose to do so. It’s wise to base your decision on facts, not just what your family or friends tell you. The bottom line is, breastfeeding is biologically natural gift that all mothers can give to their babies.

Health & Wellness: Breast-fed babies have a reduced risk of contracting a variety of infections, illnesses and diseases- including SIDS. Many people don’t realize that breast milk components naturally change and adapt to the baby’s ongoing needs as it grows, plus mother’s milk also helps strengthen the baby’s immune system. After a few weeks, breast milk’s consistency changes even during one feeding cycle, with the hind-milk containing more fatty nutrients. Breastfeeding also decreases the risk for mothers to contract breast and ovarian cancer and heart disease. Plus nursing mothers lose baby weight easier and faster than those that don’t!

Nutrition: The fact is, a mother’s milk cannot be replicated in a processed store-bought formula or baby food. It is a living substance with thousands of nutrients and vitamins that the baby biologically expects and requires for healthy development. Even though a mother’s milk is pre-digested, and the consistency may be thinner when compared to store-bought products, it is certainly no less fulfilling in nutritional value or completeness for your baby.

Time & Money: It takes time to prepare formula and warm bottles, yet breast milk is ready day or night, the method is completely portable, always at the right temperature, and it never soils. No one can argue that breast feeding your baby is a cheaper option when compared to purchasing formula and food. The monthly savings to mothers and families can amount to hundreds of dollars.

Emotional: Nursing a baby creates an intimate bond, providing a safe and loving space for the baby, starting ideally within the first hour after birth. This ongoing physical relationship helps the mother stay in tune with her baby’s needs, and enables her to pick on cues when the baby is hungry. Once a mother has settled into it, nursing is a relaxing, caregiving process that is very rewarding for both the mother and child on many levels.

Myths & Tips
Having an open mind, and lots of patience are basic but important keys to success in nursing. Being tense or nervous can actually prohibit breast milk flow. Make sure to breathe deeply and stay hydrated while feeding.

The first week after birth, a mother’s body is dramatically changing and it takes time to start this new rhythm and process with your baby. Don’t let peers or family members that have had negative experiences influence your choices. Everyone is different, it just take a little time.

A baby doesn’t even need to be taught to suckle and nurse, it happens naturally. Watch this amazing video to see this imprinted instinct in babies, and the advantage of starting this bond right away after birth. (Add video link?)

The size of a baby’s stomach is very small in its first few weeks. Keep that in mind if you’re worried the baby isn’t eating enough. A baby has a self-regulating system and knows when its full, mother’s don’t need to figure this out for them.

Signs when a baby’s full are when it falls off the breast, falls asleep or relaxes and opens its fists. In general, a newborn will nurse 8 - 12 times a day, or every 1 - 3 hours, for sessions lasting up to 15 - 20 minutes each. Make sure to switch breasts for each cycle, and that the nipple and part of the areola are both in the baby’s mouth. The baby’s lips should be curled out, not tucked in, and their tongue visible when you pull down the lower lip.

What are the best alternatives if you’re unable to breast feed? If your baby is unwilling to latch, mothers can still pump their milk and bottle feed. The Cayuga County Health Department’s Women Infants & Children (WIC) Program has 11 breast pumps that they loan out at no cost to their qualifying clients. Otherwise, WIC staff can recommend the best formula for your baby in coordination with a pediatrician, if the baby is symptomatic or has special needs.

Local Resources

Cayuga County Health Department’s Women Infants & Children Program
WIC has Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) on staff that offer classes, one-on-one instructional meetings and appointments with their clients. (Link to page with WIC eligibility guidelines)

Sue Derby, RN, IBLCL, serves as WIC’s Public Health Nurse with a maternal specialization, and she can be reached at 315.730-5442. Sue also has a private practice serving the greater Auburn/Syracuse area.

Cayuga WIC Support Group
Patti Granato, DTR, IBCLC, offers her expertise in both a public (WIC) and private practice capacity and she can be reached at 315.253-1474.

Additionally WIC offers  the services of Breastfeeding Peer Counselor Michelle Tumber, who can be reached at 315.246-8848, and a second peer counselor, Jessica Vermette, who can be reached at 315.515-0740.

Peer counselors set monthly meetings for mothers to connect and help each other. WIC’s Support Group currently meets every Wednesday from 11AM - Noon at 157 Genesee Street, Suite 100.

A second support group meets the 3rd Wednesday of the month from 6 - 8PM at the E. John Gavras Center located at 182 North Street in Auburn. (Add Facebook link)

ACH Breastfeeding Clinic
Auburn Community Hospital has a free outpatient breastfeeding clinic that welcomes all mothers, even if you didn’t deliver your baby there. Kathleen Greene, RN, IBCLC can be reached at ACH at 315.255-7381, or on her cell at 315.515-8496. Kathleen also specializes in breast pump rentals and sales for Cayuga and Seneca counties and the Syracuse area.

WIC and ACH have recently collaborated on clinical education and programming so maternity nurses and other hospital staff offer mothers their best in assistance and service.

Additional Contacts

Ann Robson, WIC Program Coordinator
157 Genesee Street, Green Street entrance
315.253-1439 or 315.253-1406


Deanna Hoey serves as WIC’s County Health Public Educators & Information Officer, and she can be reached at 315.253-1406.

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