Top 5 myths for new moms

Skin to skin contactBarnes-Jewish Hospital began its journey to become a Baby Friendly Hospital last summer. One year later, we’ve learned some of the best ways to take care of new moms and their babies may not be what many patients have heard from family, friends or the internet. Here are the top 5 myths we’ve heard over the last year:

Myth 1: My baby should go to the health care professional as soon as she is delivered, even if she is healthy.
Your baby should go straight to mom’s chest as soon after delivery as possible, as long as you are both healthy, even after a C-section. Skin-to-skin contact between you and your baby provides the best place for your baby to adjust to life outside the womb. Your body can adjust the temperature of the breasts to provide just the right amount of warmth for your baby. When covered with warm blankets and left undisturbed for at least an hour, your baby is able to transition slowly with the familiar sounds of your voice, heartbeat, etc. Nurses and physicians will be present to monitor your baby, but the best place for your baby to be is with you.

Myth 2: My baby has to sleep in the nursery.
At Barnes-Jewish Hospital, we encourage “rooming-in” with your newborn. Studies have shown that new parents and their babies actually sleep better when they are close to each other compared to those babies who sleep down the hall in the nursery. Families will learn about their infant’s sleep schedule and hunger cues to prepare them for caring for their infant at home.

Myth 3: I have to feed my newborn on a schedule.
Babies should be fed on their schedule, which may mean every three hours or may mean every hour. Our moms are encouraged to feed “on cue,” watching for the baby to tell mom when he or she is hungry with signs like lip smacking, opening the mouth widely and sucking on hands.

Myth 4: Breastfeeding is painful.
For moms who choose to breastfeed, it should not be painful. Latching to the breast may be challenging for your baby in the first few days of life but adjusting things like positioning and perhaps using some helpful tools can help achieve comfort more quickly. Our nurses will help new moms determine the proper latch for their baby throughout their stay and lactation consultants are available to help with more challenging situations, even after they leave the hospital.

Myth 5: I won’t make enough milk.
Barnes-Jewish promotes hand expression and skin-to-skin contact whenever possible, as well as feeding or pumping frequently in the first few days after birth. Getting the baby to latch and suck frequently will empty the breast and send the signal to the brain to help new moms produce the right amount of milk for their baby. It is crucial to avoid supplementing your baby with formula in the first few days of life because it can mean skipping an opportunity to tell the breasts to produce milk again with latching and sucking. We are also educating new moms about the size of a baby’s belly on day 1, day 7 and after 1 month of life so they know how little a newborn can actually eat.

With news today that rates nationwide are on the upswing, our research and national research shows new moms are more interested in the benefits of breastfeeding.

If you are pregnant or know someone that is pregnant, register for our free breastfeeding event from 6:30-8:30 p.m., Tuesday, August 13 at St. Louis Public Library. You can register on our website.

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Category: Women & Infants

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Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center is the largest hospital in Missouri and the largest private employer in the St. Louis region. An affiliated teaching hospital of Washington University School of Medicine, Barnes-Jewish Hospital has a 1,800 member medical staff with many who are recognized as "Best Doctors in America." They are supported by residents, interns and fellows, in addition to nurses, technicians and other health-care professionals.

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