We support and encourage all mothers in their choice of feeding. We do recommend that you consider breastfeeding or providing breast milk for your new baby for as long as you can. View the videos in our breastfeeding series for more information about reasons to breastfeed, benefits to mom, latching, nipple pain, and more.
Breastfeeding support, 24/7
We offer support to moms who are breastfeeding at home! Call 501-526-3558 to set up a telemedicine call with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. Private insurance and Medicaid are accepted for lactation consultation services.
The Benefits of Breast Milk
Breast milk is the food your baby’s body is designed to drink. Breast milk helps to develop your baby’s immune system, digestive system, and brain, protecting them from illness and other serious conditions. Breast milk contains hundreds of compounds designed to help your baby grow. Infant formula does not contain these protective compounds and can, in some cases, increase a child’s risk of disease.
Mom’s breast milk can:
- Decrease your baby’s chance of death from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Decrease risk of serious infections
- Improve brain and eye development
- Help your baby’s immune system grow healthy and protect them better
- If your baby is born premature, mom’s own milk can decrease your baby’s chances of having necrotizing enterocolitis, chronic lung disease, and retinopathy of prematurity (all serious illnesses).
Cue Based Feeding
Cue-based feeding means watching for your baby to show you when he/she is hungry.
Feeding your baby only when you see these signs helps them reach full feeds sooner. For that reason, we focus on the quality of the feed, not the amount. Your baby’s cues or signs may also show certain times in the day that the baby is more alert allowing us to plan ahead. Once your baby is ready there are things that we all need to look for when deciding if your baby is hungry and ready to eat. The nurse will score the baby based upon the cues shown and a breast or bottle feed will be offered when the baby is ready.
Some of the cues your baby may show are:
- Sucks on pacifier
- Turning head
- Seeking and rooting for food
- Fingers in mouth
During the feeding, there may be some signs that your baby is stressed or needs to stop feeding. Some of these signs are:
- Pulling away from the breast/bottle
- Arms extended or floppy
- Frowning or looked stressed
- A poor seal on the nipple
- Holding their breath
- Breathing events
- Aspiration concerns: watery eyes, coughing/choking etc.
If your baby loses weight, cannot maintain temperature, or there are concerns of aspiration their feeding plan will be changed. If you have any questions or concerns, please let your baby’s nurse or doctor know.
If you need help getting a pump, please talk to your baby’s nurse or a lactation consultant. Pumping for your baby in the NICU can come with some challenges. If you need help with your milk supply, try doing some Kangaroo Care (if your baby’s nurse says it is okay). Skin-to-skin contact may help milk supply along with some support from the lactation team, your family and friends, and all of the other staff at UAMS.
Donor milk can be used when a mother’s own milk is not available. Donor milk is not like mom’s milk and does NOT provide the same benefits as those listed above but it does help decrease the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies.