ELKINS, W.Va. – Parents of newborns want only the best for their child and more couples are making the choice to breastfeed their babies.
The growing numbers in breastfeeding mothers is what helped Natasha D. Benavides, pediatric PA-C at Davis Medical Center; decide to become certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant through the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners. Benavides said the IBLCE website explains the group establishes the highest standards in lactation and breastfeeding care worldwide and certifies individuals who meet those standards.
“When I first started working as a PA in pediatrics, I realized the number of breastfeeding moms we had in the office was increasing at a rapid rate. With this increasing number of nursing couplets, along came an increase in the number of families having difficulties or less than ideal experiences with breastfeeding,” Benavides said. “I knew the basics of breastfeeding, resources that could help the nursing mom, and the experiences I had in my personal life, but felt there was a lot more knowledge to gain in order to help our moms in the office.
According to the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding gives babies a healthy start that lasts a lifetime and breast milk is considered the perfect food for infants. They report cells, hormones and antibodies in breastmilk protect babies from illnesses and say the protection is unique and changes daily to meet the needs of growing babies.
“Not only are there obvious health benefits – nutritional needs are met, immunities are provided, allergy prophylaxis benefits, and protection from infectious diseases, but the bond mom and baby create during breastfeeding is undeniable,” Benavides said. “This is the closest to the womb the baby will ever be again after delivery. Being close to mom’s skin and heartbeat is one of the most comforting things for the baby as it transitions to life outside the womb. It isn’t always easily achievable, sacrifices are often made, but the reward is worth it. Breastfeeding is a family affair – dads often need just as much encouragement as moms do.”
Families seeking help and advice with breastfeeding can schedule an appointment with Benavides by calling the DMC Physician Access Center at304-637-3894.
“If there are breastfeeding issues in the nursery after delivery at DMC, I would be more than happy to see moms then as well,” Benavides said. “Moms just need to talk to their nurse and I can arrange a time to meet in the nursery or in the office soon after delivery. It is very important that any breastfeeding issues be addressed as quickly as possible in order for mom and baby to have a long, successful breastfeeding journey.”