Breastfeeding the second time around

Mom breastfeeding infant with toddler playing nearby

The Family Birth Center at University of Chicago Medicine is internationally recognized for offering optimal care for breastfed babies and their parents.

Our physicians and lactation consultants understand that breastfeeding can seem daunting, even for a second-time parent. Breastfeeding can be especially difficult if your firstborn wasn’t breastfed.

As a Baby-Friendly USA-designated hospital, we meet many birthing parents who didn’t breastfeed their first child and question if it is worth trying with their second child. Our resounding answer is always yes! While it may seem easier said than done, here are a few tips that we share with parents who didn’t breastfeed the first time but would like to try with their next child.

Line up your support network.

By now you know that it truly takes a village to raise a child. If you did not breastfeed your first child or had trouble breastfeeding your first child, it’s important to tell your obstetrician. Your physician is the member of your village who can provide expert medical help.

Furthermore, now that you are familiar with the process, you might be able to pinpoint what exactly didn’t work for you and baby the first time. Your obstetrician will be able to answer your questions and may be able to connect you with a lactation consultant ahead of time to prepare for when your next baby is born.

Attending prenatal breastfeeding classes is another option. There are likely classes offered in your local community, including here at UChicago Medicine.

Also consider connecting with other breastfeeding parents. Through Baby Bistro, UChicago Medicine’s free, weekly support group, parents can form a community with other breastfeeding parents while gaining professional guidance from lactation experts on personal breastfeeding challenges and successes.

Good for you, good for baby.

Breastfeeding your child has health benefits for both you and your baby. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend exclusively breastfeeding your baby for the first 6 months, then introducing complementary foods along with breastfeeding at about 6 months, continuing breastfeeding to age 2 years and beyond, as long as desired by parent and child.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding. Breast milk helps build and support your child’s immune system. Breastfeeding also soothes and reassures baby and builds a bond between baby and parent. Studies have found that breastfeeding longer than 12 months decreases Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, breast cancer and ovarian cancer rates. Breastfeeding also helps decrease postpartum depression.

Prepare to return to work.

There are a few obstacles to breastfeeding that may seem out of your control. Returning to work without a safe space to pump or store milk is a real issue that can be difficult to face. Just like having a conversation with your obstetrician, have a discussion with your employer. Your workplace is Register for a Breastfeeding Class

Join Our Baby Bistro Breastfeeding Support Group

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