Breastfeeding and Lactation

What is a Lactation Consultant?

If your baby is a patient at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, you may meet with a lactation consultant or breastfeeding resource nurse.

They can educate you about the multiple benefits of breastfeeding or pumping breast milk for your baby. They can also work with you and your baby on breastfeeding positions and proper latch technique and address any breastfeeding challenges you may face.

Qualifications and duties of lactation specialists

Our lactation team is comprised of four lactation consultants and more than 650 breastfeeding resource nurses and is led by Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN, an internationally recognized expert in the field of human milk and breastfeeding for vulnerable infants. lactation consultant Dr. Spatz is a PhD-prepared nurse, researcher and author. With more than 20 years experience in the field of human milk management, Dr. Spatz has written and lectured extensively about the importance of mother’s milk to critically ill and fragile infants and babies.

Our four lactation consultants are all internationally board-certified. They are all registered nurses or registered dietitians and have been additionally trained to help moms breastfeed or pump milk for their babies. To learn more about our lactation team, see meet our team.

All of our breastfeeding resources nurses are registered nurses who work in units throughout the Hospital. Each breastfeeding resource nurse has completed an intensive two-day course on how to support and educate families on the provision of human milk and breastfeeding. Breastfeeding resource nurses are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. Your child's nurses should be able to help you and answer most of your pumping and breastfeeding questions.

Lactation consultants and breastfeeding resource nurses want to understand your personal breastfeeding goals. They can offer information about breastfeeding basics, address common breastfeeding concerns, and assist moms with breastfeeding for special needs babies. They will work with you to create and review a personalized pumping schedule to maximize your milk production for your child and achieve breastfeeding success.

How human milk and breastfeeding can support your baby

Your milk is both food and medicine for your child. No infant formula can compare. Your milk will protect your infant while he or she is in the hospital.

Mouth care

Your baby’s nurse will teach you about mouth care. With a sterile cotton swab or your hand-washed finger, you will coat the entire inside of the baby’s mouth with the milk. You can leave a small amount of milk for your baby’s nurse to do mouth care when you are not here. Mouth care with your milk helps to protect your baby from infection and babies love it.

Pumping schedule

We will work with you to create and review a personalized pumping schedule to maximize your milk production.

Skin-to-skin contact (kangaroo care)

Skin-to-skin contact supports the emotional, psychological and physical well-being of the child and parent. It reinforces the bonding and attachment between baby and parents. We will teach you more about skin-to-skin contact.

Non-nutritive sucking

Babies find sucking to be soothing. That's why you see so many babies with pacifiers. If your baby has been intubated (using a breathing tube), you'll need to wait until that is removed before your baby can begin non-nutritive sucking at the breast. You will need to pump your breast first so your baby doesn't get milk until he's ready.

Lactation services at the Hospital

Along with personalized counseling and a variety of online resources, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia offers a number of services for breastfeeding moms. They include:

Additional breastfeeding resources

We offer a number of online breastfeeding resources, including:

Breastfeeding basics

Covers topics such tips for breastfeeding success, evaluating breastfeeding, returning to work, and pumping and storing your milk 

Common breastfeeding concerns 

Addresses issues such as engorgement, mastitis, plugged ducts, low milk supply and jaundice

Breastfeeding for special needs babies

Offers guidelines for breastfeeding preterm babies, pumping milk for hospitalized babies, as well as the option of donor milk.

Contact us

For more information or to schedule a breastfeeding consultation, call CHOP's lactation team at 215-590-4442

Reviewed by: Diane L. Spatz, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
Date: August 2012

  • Print
  • Share

Contact Us