Breastfeeding is a natural source of the key nutrients needed during your infant's first year. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for at least the first twelve months of life. Even though a mother's body has everything it needs to provide nourishment to her baby, the act of breastfeeding is a skill that has to be learned by both mother and child.
Penn Ob/Gyn Care provides breastfeeding support via classes, discussion groups, and lactation consultants. In addition, the Solutions for Women at Pennsylvania Hospital sells a variety of maternity, breastfeeding and new parent products including pumps, nursing bras, abdominal supports,books and more.
The following information reviews the benefits of breastfeeding, as well as techniques, checklists, a list of support services and more.
Recognized for Excellence in Lactation Care
The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) has recognized the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital for excellence in lactation care. The IBLCE examination is the premier, internationally recognized measure of competence in lactation consulting, and the IBCLC Care Award is the only internationally recognized credential for professional lactation services. The goal of the award is to ensure that lactation consultants around the world maintain best practices.
The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital received the IBCLC Care Award in recognition of having International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) on staff and providing a lactation program that is available five to seven days a week for breastfeeding families. In addition, the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital demonstrated that they have provided recent breastfeeding training for medical staff members who care for new families, and have recently completed activities that help protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.
Choosing Not to Breastfeed
Your choice to breastfeed or not to breastfeed is a personal decision. Do not let others negatively influence your decision. For some, breastfeeding is not possible due to varying circumstances or breastfeeding may not be a mother's preferred method of feeding her baby. Some mothers may decide to breastfeed for only a short period of time after her baby is born or supplement with infant formula.
In place of breastfeeding, infant formulas are food products designed to provide for the nutritional needs of infants. Learn more about infant formulas in our Health Encyclopedia and in our Pregnancy Health Center.