The Association of Ontario Midwives reports that 80% of babies under the care of midwives are exclusively breastfeeding at 6 weeks postpartum.
Midwives support clients to be successful with breastfeeding in a number of ways, including informed choice and personalized care during pregnancy, birth and until 6 weeks postpartum. We are also available 24/7 and this includes for breastfeeding support. Best of all, the home visits we provide in the first week so baby can stay skin-to-skin as much as possible!
Informed choice is a key component to midwifery care and also applies to a families decisions on how they will feed their baby. Midwives inform parents of the benefits of breastfeeding as well as current recommendations and guidelines on infant feeding. Ultimately, our goal is to inform and support our clients in whatever feeding method they choose.
Home visits in the first week postpartum is unique to midwifery care and ideal for supporting breastfeeding. Home visits allow new parents to stay-put, focus on skin-to-skin and feed on demand rather than stressing about arriving on time at the clinic for a scheduled appointment.
Ongoing breastfeeding assistance until 6 weeks postpartum is another key way midwives help to support breastfeeding.
When a client chooses to breastfeed, we support them in learning proper techniques, assessing latch, ensuring their baby is gaining weight, and that the client is happy in their feeding role. We have the training and skills to help clients with all the challenges that may come along with breastfeeding. We are available 24/7 if a client encounters a breastfeeding issue or if they just need a little encouragement.
One thing I have observed as a midwife is that breastfeeding can take on so many different “styles”. I have had countless clients be successful with exclusively breastfeeding for 6 months and beyond, but have also supported a number of clients who chose to exclusively pump and give expressed breastmilk or that committed to breastfeeding for just a few days for the benefits of colostrum.
No matter what your breastfeeding goal may be, midwives are a fantastic source of support. There’s nothing that makes us more happy than supporting our clients as they become a more confident parent, whatever that role may look like!
Sara Vildis, Registered Midwife