Five tips to be successful at breastfeeding

Women's Care
Aug 2, 2023

Nurses at the Telfair BirthPlace at St. Joseph’s/Candler, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization all recommend exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months.


“Breastfeeding is the ideal nutrition for infants,” says Shanna James, registered nurse and certified lactation consultant at the Telfair BirthPlace. “For babies that are breastfed, they have a lower chance of developing diabetes and asthma. It’s also good for their gut health and breast milk contains the antibodies babies need as their immune system is developing.”

It’s also good for mom, James says. “For mom, there’s research that shows there is a decreased risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer, as well as developing type 2 diabetes. It also helps with weight loss, weight management and can also lower their blood pressure.”

Related Article: What are the benefits to breastfeeding?

However you choose to feed your baby, you can rest assure our nurses have your back. For moms that elect to breastfeed, the Telfair BirthPlace has board-certified lactation consultants and counselors on staff to help.

“The biggest thing I tell patients is if you have questions, reach out,” James encourages. “All of our nurses are trained in lactation and can help if you are struggling.”

James offers these five tips to help mom be successful at breastfeeding:

  1. Be prepared

    Being educated about breastfeeding is an important first step towards success. James recommends attending the Telfair BirthPlace’s Prepared Breastfeeding Class. Offered every month, this class is taught by a certified lactation consultant and provides expecting moms and their support partner with an understanding of lactation and breastfeeding. The cost is $25. Learn more here

    “The biggest thing is educate, educate, educate, and we do that here at the Telfair BirthPlace,” James says. “If you are having trouble latching baby, is it because your nipples are sore? We can educate them on how to clear that up. Another thing we suggest is if they are interested in pumping, we can educate them on that.”

    “If they do decide to formula feed, that’s fine, and we’re going to educate them on formula feeding and formula preparation. Or, we can educate them on doing both breast and bottle. There are a lot of options out there we can help with.”

  2. Feed early, often and every time baby cues

    Another way to be successful at breastfeeding is watching for baby’s cues, James says. Your baby will give a cue – a sign – when he or she is hungry. Feed as soon as the baby starts to cue and feed as often as baby cues. Watch for smacking of the lips, putting the hands in the mouth or routing around like a baby bird, James says.

    You also want to make sure you are feeding baby frequently. The golden rule that you just might hear over and over again at the Telfair BirthPlace: “Eight times or more in 24.” Meaning at least eight feedings in a 24-hour window.  

  3. Practice frequent skin to skin

    Following delivery, your baby will be placed on your chest for skin to skin contact unless there’s a medical indication not to. This promotes breastfeeding because skin to skin helps regulate baby’s blood sugar, vital signs and temperature and makes the baby more willing to eat. You can continue skin to skin even after you leave the hospital to help with breastfeeding, James says, because the baby is near the source of his or her food.

    Skin to skin also promotes bonding with your baby.

  4. Be patient
    For first time moms, breastfeeding is a new skill and it takes practice. Even moms that have breastfed before, may not automatically have success. Every breastfeeding experience is different, and James encourages all breastfeeding moms to be prepared and patient.

  5. Ask for help
    Don’t be afraid to ask for help and use the help you can get. The Telfair BirthPlace offers a Warm-Line, which is a free service where any mom in the community can call in with their questions or concerns. The Warm-Line number is 912-819-8231 and will be answered or your call will be returned by a trained nurse.

    You can also ask about scheduling a one-on-one appointment with one our lactation consultants to discuss any questions or concerns.

“The biggest thing is just finding a happy medium and find out what works best for mom,” James says. 

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