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Breastfeeding: What To Expect

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Betty McDaniel-Thomas, Certified Lactation Consultant with Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, spoke with Stacey Bonner, Family Services Coordinator, about breastfeeding benefits, helpful tips, and resources.

Visit Baby’s Best Start website to find educational opportunities at Vanderbilt, breastfeeding basics, location of lactation rooms, and more.


Stacy Bonner:                   Welcome to this edition of Vanderbilt University Health and Wellness Wellcast.  I am Stacey Bonner with the Child and Family Center.

Getting ready for the birth of your baby is an exciting and busy time.  One of the important decisions you will make is how to feed your baby.  Betty McDaniel-Thomas, Certified lactation Consultant at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, will talk about some breastfeeding tips.  Betty, what benefits does breastfeeding provide for the baby and for the mother?

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      For the baby, it provides lots of needed antibodies.  It protects the babies’ gastrointestinal tract.  It has shown to reduce ear infections in babies.  It gives babies all the needed vitamins and minerals the baby needs.  For the mom, it can reduce bleeding right after delivery.  It has shown to decrease postpartum depression, and moms really need to eat at least 2500 calories a day to keep up with the demand of her baby, and she should not gain a lot of weight or she may even lose weight while she is breastfeeding her baby because she is providing all the nutrition for her baby.

Stacy Bonner:                   What information should a mother know before deciding to breastfeed?

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      The first thing to remember is that it can be very, very difficult the first 2 or 3 weeks, but it will get much, much better.  It can be time consuming and demanding, but it gets much, much better, and mom needs to know what kind of medications that she can take while she is breastfeeding.  Most medications are perfectly fine with breastfeeding, but we need to do some research to make sure that any medication she is taking is okay with breastfeeding, and she needs to know what she is going to do if she returns to work.  When she is returning to work? Does she need to start pumping? When she needs to start pumping, anything that entails any type of problems.

Stacy Bonner:                   Since you are a certified lactation consultant, what are some common breastfeeding questions you have heard from those who are breastfeeding?

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      Most of the time what I hear is “will I produce enough milk”.  The majority of moms will produce enough milk for her baby.  It is very rare that a mom will not produce enough milk for her baby, and then the other question is how often do I breastfeed, how long do I breastfeed.  How often you breastfeed is about every 2 to 3 hours, and you breastfeed for as long as you and your baby want to. And does it hurt?  If it hurts like toe-curling pain, there is a problem.  We need to address that problem.  You might be tender the first week or so, tender is okay, a little soreness is okay, but extreme pain is not okay.  Moms sometimes want to have a small drink with dinner or small glass of alcohol is fine with dinner, breastfeed first, have your small, small drink, and then you can breastfeed 2 to 3 hours later, and do not do it every night.

Stacy Bonner:                   Where can a breastfeeding mother or potential breastfeeding mother get additional advice about breastfeeding?

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      Our office, you can always call at 936-1414.  We have a support group for breastfeeding moms, Thursdays from 1 to 3 in Children’s Hospital.  The Health Department is a good place if you are on the wake program.  There are very excellent breastfeeding counselors who can answer your questions.  There are several support groups around town that can help with your problems.

Stacy Bonner:                   What is your department?

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      It is Women’s Education and Lactation Center.

Stacy Bonner:                   Okay, and that could be found on the Children’s Hospital website as well?

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      Yes, yes.

Stacy Bonner:                   Yes.  Thank you, Betty.

Betty McDaniel Thomas:      Thank you.

Stacy Bonner:                   Thanks for listening.  Please feel free to leave us any comments on this Wellcast by clicking the “Add new comment” link at the bottom of this page.  If you have a story suggestion, please email us at or you can use the “Contact us” link on our website at

— end of recording (04:27) —

Posted on Friday, August 2, 2013 in Child and Family Center, Wellcasts and tagged , ,


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