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Healthy Starts: Breastfeeding Support and Resources from Community Memorial Healthcare

  • Category: Health Tips
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Sheila Dedrick, MSN, RN, IBCLC, CHBE Manager, Community Memorial New Parent Resource Center

If you’re pregnant and plan to breastfeed, Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura is the perfect place to have your baby. We are one of just 600 hospitals in the United States to hold the prestigious Baby Friendly designation, sponsored by the United Nations International Children’s Fund and the World Health Organization. The International Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative recognizes hospitals and birth centers that encourage breastfeeding by providing an optimal level of breastfeeding care and support. While other hospitals are still catching up, we’ve held this designation for nearly six years. To earn the Baby-Friendly Designation, a hospital must:

1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to physicians and staff.

2. Ensure that staff have sufficient knowledge, competence, and skills to support breastfeeding.

3. Discuss the importance and management of breastfeeding with pregnant women and their families.

4. Facilitate immediate and uninterrupted skin-to skin contact and support mothers to initiate breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth.

5. Support mothers to initiate and maintain breastfeeding and manage common difficulties.

6. Do not provide breastfed newborns any food or fluids other than breast milk unless medically indicated, or by mother’s request.

7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24-hours a day.

8. Support mothers to recognize and respond to their infants’ cues for feeding.

9. Counsel mothers on the use and risks of feeding bottles, teats, and pacifiers.

10. Coordinate discharge so that parents and their infants have timely access to ongoing support and care.

Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura has also been repeatedly recognized by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners® and the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) for excellence in breastfeeding care and helping women and babies overcome breastfeeding challenges.

Right After Birth

As part of our Baby Friendly protocol, we gently wipe baby down after birth and put the little one on mother’s chest for skin-on-skin bonding. We routinely delay weighing and measuring newborns to allow time for bonding and breastfeeding. Because newborns take time to regulate their body temperature, we hold off on bathing them for 8 – 12 hours unless an earlier bath is medically necessary. Skin-on-skin bonding keeps babies warm and encourages nursing and milk production. The first milk the mother produces is called colostrum. It has the perfect balance of proteins, carbohydrates, and glucose for baby's tiny tummy. As baby starts to nurse, this stimulates the uterus to begin contracting and helps prevent excessive bleeding. The mother also starts to produce antibodies that help protect baby from infection.

When your mother had you, you likely spent a lot of time in the hospital nursery. Back then, babies were brought in to visit their mother every 4 hours. This made it more challenging for mother and baby to establish a breastfeeding routine. Having the baby in the room with you helps you learn your little one’s hunger cries and feed them on demand. In those first few days, babies have quite an appetite. This also helps get your milk supply up, especially between 9:00 pm and 3:00 am when the milk hormone prolactin is at its highest level. If you’ve never breastfed before, don’t worry. All our maternity nurses are trained to provide breastfeeding support and education. We also have RN Certified Lactation Counselors/Educators dedicated to providing individualized assistance.

Common Breastfeeding Challenges

Just as it takes two to tango, it takes two to breastfeed! Breastfeeding issues can occur due to an issue with the mother, baby, or both. Either way, breastfeeding challenges, are natural and normal and can usually be resolved.

  • Latching difficulties are more common with babies who are born early or preterm – they may take some time to learn how to latch effectively, especially if they have been in the NICU away from their mother.
  • Under production (hypolactation), an inadequate milk supply to meet baby’s needs, is more common with first-time mothers but it can also be due to a medical issue.
  • Over production (hyperlactation), when mother is producing too much milk, tends to happen more in mothers who have already breastfed one or more children or when pumping overstimulates the breast.
  • Breast or nipple pain during breastfeeding often subsides once mother and baby find a comfortable position and a good latch­. If pain does not go away or your nipples crack, bleed, or scab, talk to a lactation specialist and/or a physician.
  • Clogged milk ducts cause feeding difficulties and pain.
  • Mastitis can occur with or without infection and does not require antibiotics unless infection is present. Call your doctor if you have a fever, your breast looks red or has red streaks, or you have yellow discharge from a nipple.

We encourage new moms to see an International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) as soon as they feel the need for breast feeding support. You can read about Community Memorial Healthcare’s resources for breast feeding help below. The Breastfeeding Coalition of Ventura County is also an excellent place to get information and support.

Breastfeeding and New Parent Education

Community Memorial’s New Parent Resource Center helps prepare parents for pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant care. The Center offers a variety of classes and support groups in a friendly atmosphere. Topics range from childbirth classes (including hypnobirthing) to after baby classes and parenting education. As you might expect, breastfeeding education and support is an important part of the curriculum at the New Parent Resource Center. Women who deliver at Community Memorial Hospital – Ventura are welcome to schedule free, private breastfeeding consultations with our International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. We also offer free breastfeeding support groups and emotional support groups for moms who may be experiencing post-partum challenges or mood disorders. After baby is born, many parents choose to take an eight-week class called Our Babies, Ourselves, which gives them a good start on their parenting journey. Soon, we’ll also be including a new program called HypnoMothering.

Want more detailed information about the benefits of breastfeeding? Listen to a podcast featuring Sheila Dedrick, RN, an IBCLC board-certified lactation consultant at Community Memorial Healthcare.

To check the class schedule at our New Parent Resource Center, look for the link at To register for classes or make an appointment, call our baby line at 805-948-BABY.