Everything you wanted to know about Monday’s solar eclipse — Click here!

Breastfeeding: How ongoing support can make a difference for mom and baby

HARTFORD - Breastfeeding. It is incredibly natural yet it can also be one of the toughest things a mom ever does.

"It’s hard," says Dr. Walter Trymbulak, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center. "If you have no experience with something, it is hard to do."

That's why Saint Francis hosts a free breastfeeding support group every Monday afternoon. It is for moms who are struggling - in need of advice regarding breastfeeding - but that's not all.

"Moms come with big problems, they come with small problems," said Lori Atkins, International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

"With my daughter four years ago, I was brand new. I needed to get out of the house!" said Nickey Bingaman of Coventry.

Even though her second child, Dylan, is nine months old, she's still showing-up.

"As a breastfeeding mom, you’re always wondering, are they getting enough?" she saids. "So, one of the reasons I started coming was that I knew there’s a scale here. I can actually weigh him, feed him and then weigh him again and figure out an estimate like, 'Oh he just took four ounces.'"

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies are breastfed exclusively for the first six months.

Trymbulak said there are health benefits for the little one and mom.

"She’s better able to lose her pregnancy weight," he said. "She bonds better with the baby."

According to the Centers for Disease Control's 2016 Breastfeeding Report Card, rates are on the rise but many moms aren't meeting the recommendations for continued and exclusive breastfeeding which suggests a lack of ongoing support.

"The best thing mom can do is look around, talk to pediatricians, look around and find help because it’s not easy," Atkins said.  "Sometimes it’s not easy out of the gate.  Sometimes, there are problems that come up later."

Bingaman has found a sisterhood in group.

"It’s almost a relief to know, 'Oh, there’s someone else in the same boat, feeling the same thing, seeing the same thing,'" she said, noting that she'll breastfeed Dylan as long as possible. "It’s the healthiest way for my kids to grow and that was the most important thing to me."

A La Leche League of Connecticut Health Care Provider Seminar is coming-up on March 30 at the Sheraton Hotel in Rocky Hill.  Click here for information.

Click here for details about the Breastfeeding Support Group at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.