Lactation Support to Help You Breastfeed Your Baby

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Breastfeeding creates a special connection between you and your baby and offers many important health benefits to you and your child. Our lactation consultants are available In Duke hospitals and at some primary care clinics to help you learn how to breastfeed your baby comfortably. We can assist with breastfeeding concerns, such as having an adequate milk supply for your baby or overcoming painful lactation. Our lactation consultants work with you to find solutions that will strengthen your bond with your child. We support all families who want to breastfeed their babies.

Our Locations

Duke Health offers lactation services at its birthing centers in Durham and select primary care clinics.

Breastfeeding and Your Baby’s Health

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding until your baby is at least 2 years old because breast milk can help a child’s immune system develop and reduce a baby’s risk for chronic conditions like respiratory issues, diarrhea, and asthma. Research has also found that breastfed babies also have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. According to lactation experts, a baby can benefit from consuming only breast milk for the first six months of life. After that time, you can start to add solid foods.

The Centers for Disease Control also report that breastfeeding can lower your risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and breast and ovarian cancers.

Breastfeeding Education

A breastfeeding class is one of the best ways to prepare for breastfeeding your baby. Duke offers breastfeeding classes with trained nurses who provide insights and tips on feeding and connecting with your baby.

How Our Breastfeeding Specialists Can Help

After delivery and before you go home, a lactation consultant will visit you in your room to discuss whether you have a breastfeeding plan and to understand your goals. We’ll teach you how to tell when your baby is hungry, about the benefits of skin-to-skin contact, why we recommend rooming-in, and how feeding on-demand can benefit you and your baby. Our lactation consultants are specialists certified by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners and are members of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine.

Maintaining Your Baby’s Weight

If your pediatrician is concerned about your baby’s ability to maintain a healthy weight, our lactation consultants can work with you before you go home to determine how much breast milk your baby is consuming and what can be done to encourage additional feeding. We weigh your baby before and after feeding and provide tips on positioning your baby to ensure a comfortable latch.

Overcoming Painful Breastfeeding

Pain during breastfeeding is a challenge for some parents but is not normal. If you experience pain, swelling, or tightness in your breasts, our lactation consultants can teach you techniques to help reduce pain and drain your milk ducts. Breastfeeding regularly every few hours can also minimize problems and keep your ducts clear.

Addressing Medical Needs of Breastfeeding

If medical issues make it difficult to breastfeed, we can help. Our lactation consultants can meet with you before delivery to discuss your needs and find solutions that facilitate breastfeeding after your baby is born. This includes help with breastfeeding pre-term babies, babies born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, or breastfeeding while receiving treatment for a chronic disease or cancer.

Help with Pumping

Before going back to work, learn about how to continue breastfeeding by pumping milk. This class describes how to start pumping for those who have already established their milk supply by breastfeeding after birth. 

Consistently Ranked Among the Nation’s Best Hospitals

Duke University Hospital is proud of our team and the exceptional care they provide. They are why we are once again recognized as the best hospital in North Carolina, and nationally ranked in 11 adult and 9 pediatric specialties by U.S. News & World Report for 2023–2024.

This page was medically reviewed on 07/12/2022