New mother Jen Chinskey had her first child at Chilton Medical Center in January 2018. She assumed the mothering instinct would kick in when it came to breastfeeding her son, but that did not happen. “To me, it was what you naturally did,” said Chinskey.
“My mom did it, my stepmother, my sister – so I went in with the thought process that I would automatically be successful.” Her initial attempts were not successful. “When I first started, he wouldn’t latch. The lactation staff gave me a nipple shield to help him latch on more effectively. It took a long time. But we are finally shield-free, and now it is very easy.”
To support mothers’ breastfeeding challenges, Chilton Medical Center’s lactation consultant, Meg Johnstone, founded a breastfeeding support group more than two years ago. “We’ve had more than 80 mothers attend this free group,”
Chinskey said she started attending the support group when her son was about a week old.
Health professionals agree breastfeeding has many advantages. “It’s really nature’s ideal food,” said Amy Moriarty, manager, Maternity Center at Chilton Medical Center. “Breast milk has qualities that prevent and fight infection. It changes properties as the infant feeds, and it helps to thin out mucus. Although formula-fed infants and mothers enjoy the bonding process, bonding may be enhanced in the nursing mother and infant because of the secretion of hormones during breastfeeding.”
The Maternity Center at Chilton has been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital by Baby-Friendly USA. The maternity team includes board-certified obstetricians, anesthesiology specialists, neonatology specialists, maternal-fetal specialists and nurse practitioners trained in the newest diagnostic and therapeutic options and on-site 24/7. Physicians partner with certified doulas to help women have a positive birth experience.
The breastfeeding support group meets virtually every Monday from 11a.m. to noon and every Wednesday from 6 to 7 p.m. A “Fourth Trimester” group for the new moms with babies from birth to 12 weeks meets Mondays from 1 to 2 p.m. Please call 973-831-5263 for more information.