* ‘Skin-to-skin’ helps encourage success for moms choosing to breastfeed
* Breast milk often described as “baby’s first immunization”
* World Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7
The numbers start out well, but can fall apart quickly.
• A 2012 study published in Pediatrics showed that, of more than 85 percent of women nationally who wanted to breastfeed their babies exclusively for 3 months, only 32 percent actually reached their breastfeeding goals.
• In California, nearly 92 percent of women start out breastfeeding their baby while in the hospital, but that drops to 60 percent who are still breastfeeding exclusively in the short time before they go home.
At Packard Children’s, we know that hospitals are in a unique position to provide the support that can help mothers and babies get off to a strong start. New moms who choose in their birth plan to breastfeed are now being offered an experience that can dramatically increase the chance that a baby will breastfeed at home. Called ‘skin-to-skin’ contact, the concept provides time for moms to establish a strong bond with their baby during their first hour after delivery, or as soon as medically possible.
It works. A 2012 study from India published in Neonatology showed that 95 percent of mothers who spent skin-to-skin time were breastfeeding exclusively 48 hours after delivery, and 90 percent were still breastfeeding exclusively 6 weeks later.
During this mother and baby bonding, “Babies experience nine instinctive stages: birth cry, relaxation, awakening, activity, resting, “crawling”—which is the baby’s shifting movement to approach breast—familiarization, suckling, and sleep,” said Susan Crowe, MD, an obstetrician and director of outpatient breastfeeding medicine services at Packard Children’s, and a clinical assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “For a mother who desires to breastfeed, supporting skin-to-skin time is one way we can help her reach that goal.”
At Packard Children’s, breastfeeding support begins long before the first feeding, with classes that help mom prepare to help their baby start strong in life. “Throughout the birth journey, we strongly endorse breastfeeding as the optimal method of nutrition for newborns,” Crowe said. Breast milk is often described as “baby’s first immunization,” and with good reason: multiple studies show wide-ranging health benefits to babies. Mom may also experience benefits, such as less bleeding after delivery, a faster return to pre-pregnancy weight, delayed return of periods after delivery, and approximate savings of $1500 per year compared to the cost of formula.
“We are proud of our breastfeeding commitment,” said Crowe, who noted that there are circumstances under which breastfeeding may not be successfully initiated or maintained. "At Packard Children’s, we want all of our families to experience the highest quality of maternity care, and to support them in achieving their breastfeeding goals.”
About Packard Children’s Hospital
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford is an internationally recognized 311-bed hospital and leading regional medical network providing a full complement of services for the health of children and expectant mothers. Together, our world-class Stanford Medicine doctors, nurses and staff deliver innovative, nurturing care and extraordinary outcomes in every pediatric and obstetric specialty. Packard Children’s is annually ranked as one of the nation’s finest by U.S. News & World Report and the only Northern California children’s hospital with specialty programs ranked in the U.S. News Top 10. Learn more about our full range of preeminent programs at lpch.org and the Packard Children’s Health Alliance at PCHA.org. Like us on Facebook, watch us on YouTube and follow us on Twitter.
About Packard Children’s Obstetric Services
Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital provides the best care available to expectant moms and their babies. Our highly specialized obstetric, neonatal and maternal-fetal medicine specialists provide nurturing support to every mother, whether her pregnancy and delivery are normal or complex, so her baby can start life strong. We inform, support and celebrate women and families as they welcome their new baby and embark on their happiest, healthiest life together. Discover more at startstrongbaby.com.