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Breastfeeding is natural, but it doesn’t always come naturally. If you’re planning to breastfeed, we’re here with the education and support you need to make it a positive and rewarding experience for you and your baby.
Research shows that breastfeeding has many benefits for both baby and mom. At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, we’ll answer your questions, talk to you about your options, listen to your concerns and help you nourish your baby. You can turn to us for a wide range of breastfeeding and lactation services that meet your family’s needs.
At our hospitals and clinics, you’ll find support from our specialists who you can turn to for advice and help with breastfeeding. Our breastfeeding and lactation consultants help you find the most comfortable way to feed your newborn.
- Fussy baby due to too much or too little milk
- Latching problems
- Sore or cracked nipples
- Painful engorgement
- Blocked milk ducts
- Low milk supply
- Slow weight gain for baby
- Weaning concerns
The American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization and most doctors recommend breastfeeding as the best choice for feeding your baby. In fact, there are many proven benefits for both baby and mom when breastfeeding.
- Your breast milk is designed to meet all of your baby’s nutritional needs. And the nutrition your milk provides adapts to keep up with your growing baby’s changing needs at each developmental stage.
- Provides specific immunities to many illnesses.
- Lowers the risk of several infections including diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory infections and ear infections.
- Lower incidence of colic and allergies.
- Lessens risks of adult conditions like obesity, heart disease, asthma and diabetes.
- Promotes a close, nurturing bond with you and your baby.
- Reduces postpartum bleeding and helps your uterus return to its normal size.
- Reduces your risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer. The protection against these cancers is stronger the longer you breastfeed.
- Helps with postpartum weight loss.
Deciding how you’re going to feed your newborn is an important part of preparing for motherhood. Options include breastfeeding only, exclusively pumping or a mix of pumping and breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding is when you hold your baby to your breast and they drink milk directly from your body. Research shows that breastfeeding has many health benefits for babies including reducing your baby’s risk of illness, asthma and eczema. The skin-to-skin contact can also help you develop a strong emotional bond with your new baby. Breastfeeding is also the best option for the environment. Breast milk is a renewable resource that doesn’t produce any waste or pollution.
Exclusively breastfeeding may be a good option for women who produce enough breastmilk to satisfy baby, feel comfortable breastfeeding and whose schedule allows them to be with their baby during all mealtimes. Since your breastmilk is free, exclusively breastfeeding is also the least expensive way to nourish your baby.
Pumping is when women use a small device called a breast pump to collect their breastmilk into bottles used to feed their babies. Some moms choose to use their hands in addition to a breast pump in order to collect more milk, a method called hands-on pumping. Pumping makes it possible to store breastmilk for later and feed baby breastmilk when mom is away. Exclusively pumping breastmilk may be a good option for moms who feel pain while breastfeeding, won’t always be near baby during mealtimes or produce more breastmilk than baby can drink in one sitting.
However, pumping may cause your body’s production of breastmilk to decrease. This is because your body releases less prolactin, the hormone that helps your body create milk, from pumping than from breastfeeding. Sticking to a regular pumping schedule and using a double electric pump can help keep your milk supply up while exclusively pumping. A lactation consultant can also help you manage a low milk supply.
Many women use a combination of pumping and breastfeeding. This may be a good choice for women who want to breastfeed but won’t be near baby during all mealtimes. Many mothers breastfeed their babies in the mornings, evenings and on days off while pumping when away from baby.
From the encouragement you’ll receive at our Family Birth Centers to the ongoing support you’ll get at our Mom and Baby Café, we provide a variety of different services to help guide you throughout breastfeeding. Some of the services we provide include:
Call the BabyLine with breastfeeding concerns or other medical questions. Our registered nurses are here to guide you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
It's common for moms to have difficulty breastfeeding. Our lactation consultants and registered nurses work with you to provide a personalized solution for you and your baby. Make an appointment with a lactation consultant by calling one of the numbers below:
We offer easy access to products, education, support and guidance to make breastfeeding a comfortable experience for mom and baby. Our services are available to any nursing mother, regardless of the clinic she chose for the care and delivery of her baby. Call HealthPartners at 651-254-6600 or Park Nicollet at 952-993-3121 for more information about breastfeeding products.
Led by and made for African American women, this group is a culturally reflective prenatal program that provides support and education for new moms. We’ll talk about nutrition, breastfeeding, newborn care and becoming the mom you want to be. Meet other moms, spend time with midwives and connect to community resources. Call 651-602-7500 for more information.
East Side Family Clinic
895 E. 7th Street
St. Paul, MN 55106
We provide free breastfeeding support groups where you can connect with other new moms and share tips on how to care for your babies. Here, you’ll be able to spend time feeding baby while enjoying a snack yourself. Drop in to the Mom and Baby Café every week at HealthPartners Como Clinic, Methodist Hospital, Lakeview Hospital or Amery Hospital & Clinic.
Our drop-in breastfeeding support groups meet at:
Conference Room A
Every Monday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Heart & Vascular Center – Conference Room B
Every Thursday from 10 to 11:30 a.m.
Hardenbergh Conference Room
Every Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to noon
Methodist Hospital and Hudson Hospital offer a Breast Milk Depot that connects women who are able to donate breast milk with babies in need. If you’re interested in becoming a donor, contact the Minnesota Milk Bank for Babies by calling 763-546-8051.
Call to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant.
Or you can choose a location and call to schedule an appointment.
Don’t be discouraged. Sometimes breastfeeding takes patience and a little work to get it right. Most common breastfeeding issues can easily be resolved with help from your doctor, midwife or lactation consultant. We can help you with many issues, including:
- Blocked milk ducts
- Breast and nipple changes
- Breast infections
- Difficulty releasing breastmilk (poor let-down)
- Engorged breasts
- Pain during breastfeeding
- Trouble latching
- And many other concerns
A nursing mother’s first food for the baby is called colostrum. Women typically produce colostrum for about two to five days after birth. It contains antibodies and white blood cells that help your baby build a strong immune system. It’s rich in nutrients that promote growth, making it the perfect food for a newborn.
After about three to four days, most women’s bodies start producing breastmilk.
If your baby is getting enough milk, you should hear them nursing in a pattern of four or five sucks, and then a pause. After your milk lets down (when your breast releases milk), you should hear three or four sucks, and then a pause. A lactation consultant can help you understand just what to listen for.
Signs that your baby isn’t getting enough milk include falling asleep at the breast, still appearing hungry after feeding, and not gaining enough weight.
If you’re concerned that your baby isn’t gaining enough weight, it’s important to contact a doctor and seek help right away.
As you transition back to work, keep some of these tips in mind to make everything go as smoothly as possible.
- Stick to a pumping schedule. Pumping on a schedule can help maximize your milk supply and prevent clogged ducts. Try to pump at the same times every day around the times baby eats.
- Plan where you can pump and store milk at work. Under federal law, employers have to provide a private space for breastfeeding mothers to pump while at work. If you’re not sure where you’ll pump, ask your employer.
- Plan to pump twice during a work day. Most breastfeeding moms pump every three to four hours. As you think about your work schedule, remember to block time to pump twice.
- Practice pumping before going back to work. It feels different to pump than breastfeed. Practice a couple times so you can get used to it and so you know how much milk you’re likely to express during pumping. Freeze any unused breastmilk.
- Breastfeed when you’re at home. Whenever possible, skip the bottle when you’re near baby. This helps keep your milk supply stable and helps you bond with baby.
- Ask for help. You’re not alone and you don’t have to do everything by yourself. Ask your friends and family for support as you transition back to work. This might be help with childcare, help with household chores or meals.
Yes. Even if you’ve never been pregnant before, it’s possible to breastfeed an adopted baby. Some new moms are able to induce lactation (start producing breastmilk) by regularly stimulating the breast with a breast pump. Other moms have success with an induced lactation method called the Newman Goldfarb Protocol. Our team of lactation experts will work with you to figure out the best way to induce lactation and feed your baby.
Yes, it’s possible. Many transgender women have success inducing lactation (producing breastmilk) and are able to breastfeed their children. It’s common for women to use an induced lactation method called the Newman Goldfarb Protocol to stimulate milk production. Our team of experts will work with you to figure out the best way for you to induce lactation and feed your baby.
We accept most health insurance plans, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, CIGNA, HealthPartners, Medica, Medicare, PreferredOne and many others.
Not sure what your insurance covers? Call the number on the back of your card for help looking at your options.
Don’t have your card in front of you? Here are member services numbers to help you get started:
- HealthPartners: 800-883-2177
- Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota: 800-382-2000
- CIGNA: 800-244-6224 (insurance through work); 866-494-2111 (insurance directly or through the Exchange
- Medica: 800-952-3455
- Medicare: 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227)
- PreferredOne: 763-847-4477 (in the Twin Cities); 800-997-1750 (outside the metro area)
- United Healthcare: 877-842-3210