Breastfeeding support and education

Rely on the experienced lactation consultants at Montage Health's Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula for breastfeeding support and education.

Baby-Friendly designation

Expect well-rounded breastfeeding education that's proven to help breastfeeding parents and their babies. Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula meets high standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF's Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Our designation as a Baby-Friendly hospital means you can look forward to:

  • Encouragement to breastfeed and education about its importance
  • Help to start breastfeeding your baby within an hour of birth and to continue breastfeeding when you leave the hospital
  • Support for "rooming in" — staying with your baby 24/7 during your time at the hospital, unless your baby needs special care
  • Referrals to resources and support groups
  • Respect for your decisions, preferences, and goals
  • Skilled, specially trained staff

Benefits of breastfeeding

You and your baby benefit in many ways when you choose to breastfeed. Nursing your infant:

  • Gives both of you special time to bond
  • Gives your baby all the nutrition they need
  • Helps boost your baby's immune system to protect them from illness
  • Helps your baby gain weight

When your baby is born

When you come to the Family Birth Center, share your breastfeeding plan with our staff. You can choose to:

  • Put your baby to your breast right after birth, whether you have a vaginal or cesarean (C-section) delivery
  • Get assistance from our staff to help your baby latch on
  • Nurse whenever your baby wants to nurse
  • Learn how to pump breast milk if your baby isn't able to nurse right away
  • Give your baby only breastmilk unless medically indicated. Safe, pasteurized donor breast milk is available to purchase if needed

If you bottle feed

If you choose to feed your baby formula, you’ll be supplied with formula during your hospital stay. You’ll also receive education on:

  • Mixing and storing formula safely
  • Holding your baby in different positions during bottle feedings

Tips for successful breastfeeding

Count on our experienced team for guidance. We recommend:

  • Feeding your baby as soon as possible after birth
  • Letting your baby feed as often and as long as they want to, on-demand, at the first sign of hunger cues
  • Offering your breast for at least eight to 12 feedings in 24 hours, although these feedings may not follow a regular schedule
  • Finish the first breast before switching to the other breast. Your baby doesn’t need to feed from both breasts each feeding. Sometimes, your baby may want to be fed two to three times in a few hours
  • Listening for your baby to swallow, which means they're getting milk
  • Timing feedings and tracking when they happen. This will help you know your baby is feeding well in a 24-hour time period. Your care book, “Postpartum and Newborn Care,” has a feeding log
  • Avoiding bottles and pacifiers for at least four to six weeks after your baby is born

How long should a feeding last?

Average feedings can take 15 to 40 minutes.

Caring for your breasts

To prevent soreness and other concerns, we recommend you:

  • Position your baby in a “tummy-to-tummy” position, with your baby’s upper lip lined up with your nipple, during feedings. Wait for your baby to open wide for a deep latch. Your baby should be half to a full inch past your nipple for a comfortable tug during suckling
  • Avoid putting lotion on the nipple unless it’s a cream specifically for sore nipples. Other lotions may clog the nipple and areola and prevent normal lubrication. The areola has what are called “Montgomery glands” that have a scent and natural lubrication
  • Use expressed colostrum and breast milk on the nipple as a natural lubricant

Local resources

Ask our staff to recommend books, classes, support groups, and organizations in Monterey and Salinas. Visit the following websites to learn more about:

Lactation support services

Get assistance from an international board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). At Community Hospital, an IBCLC is available from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.

  • During your stay at the birth center, you can receive support and education in your room
  • After you and your baby go home, call (831) 625-4987 if you have a breastfeeding-related question or want to request a one-on-one, outpatient (daytime) lactation appointment any day of the week

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