Home / Health and Science / Support for breast-feeding on rise in Gainesville and elsewhere

Support for breast-feeding on rise in Gainesville and elsewhere

By

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Breast-feeding can be a daunting task for a new mother. Across the nation, groups like La Leche League are bringing women together to help each other on a peer-to-peer basis. They also assist mothers in finding answers to other questions about their babies.

La Leche League of Gainesville leader Kathy Lemons said being able to talk to other mothers can ease fears.

“The peer encouragement is really, really nice,” said Lemons. “We are not experts, but we have experience as leaders. Even other moms who come to the meetings offer their support.”

La Leche League holds monthly meetings that are open to the public, Lemons said.

http://youtu.be/cnf8O125_sc

Jessica Puentes is a full-time mother, certified lactation counselor and part-time student at the University of Florida.

When Puentes began breast-feeding, she said it was rough and painful. She said she saw three different lactation consultants in order to help her through it.

Puentes said her nurse tried to get her to supplement her milk with formula because she wasn’t producing enough.

For mothers who cannot produce enough milk on their own but do not want to give their babies formula, milk banks are available.

At the banks, donated breast milk is screened, tested and pasteurized before it is provided to mothers, Puentes said.

Another option for mothers who cannot produce enough milk is milk sharing. Sharing milk is the process of one mother giving her baby to another mother for feeding.

Groups like Human Milk 4 Human Babies match up mothers who are looking to milk share rather than get milk from a bank. These groups don’t screen and test their milk like banks do, but members may request blood work and tests from the donor mother.

According to Puentes, breast-feeding can reduce the risk of diabetes and heart problems in babies.

There are studies that show that mothers who breast-feed are less likely to have ovarian cancer, uterine cancer and breast cancer, Puentes said. Breast-feeding can also help bring the uterus back to its normal size after childbirth.

Lemons said La Leche League makes home visits upon request and mothers can always call leaders of the group if they need any help.

Now more than ever, mothers have access to breast-feeding help, whether it’s from a lactation counselor or an organization like La Leche Group.

With groups like this across the entire United States, mothers can find aid virtually anywhere.

Michelle Plitnikas wrote this story online.

About Ethan Magoc

Ethan is a journalist at WUFT News. He's a Pennsylvania native who found a home reporting Florida's stories. Reach him by emailing emagoc@wuft.org or calling 352-294-1525.

Check Also

Juan Gilbert, chair of the University of Florida's Computer and Information Science and Engineering Department, demonstrates how to use the Prime III voting machine, which he developed. Prime III assists the disabled with voting and was used for the first time in New Hampshire for this month's election. (Alexa Lorenzo/WUFT News)

UF-Developed Voting Machine For Disabled Used On Election Day

Other states have a separate voting machines made specifically for people with disabilities, but with Prime III, all of New Hampshire's are able to accommodate any voter.