It is the philosophy of St. Bernards Birthcare Center to provide family-centered care. From the time your infant is born, families are encouraged to actively participate in caring for their newborns. After delivery and the recovery process, you and your newborn may be moved to our postpartum care unit on the fourth floor. This transition of care will provide you with a quieter environment to bond with your infant and rest. The transition also allows mothers of infants who may remain in NICU for an extended period of time to remain close to their babies.
We offer lots of postpartum support, whether you want advice and counseling for breastfeeding or find yourself dealing with postpartum depression.
The decision of how to feed a baby is an important decision ideally made prenatally. Whether to breastfeed, formula feed, or both; should be an informed choice made by the mother and the baby's family. Exclusive breastfeeding is the optimal method of infant nutrition through the first 6 months to one year of life, and we support it and encourage it, unless there is a specific reason why you shouldn't. Breastfeeding should begin as soon as possible after birth, ideally within the first hour. We believe that families need to be supported before, during and after delivery in their feeding choices and the decision made around birth. At St. Bernards, we focus on educating and promoting breastfeeding, skin-to-skin care and rooming-in; however most importantly, we want to allow families to choose what options are best for them and help them be successful in their choice.
St. Bernards supports and embraces the 10 Steps for Successful Breastfeeding published by WHO / UNICEF. Our staff receives continued education in order to provide support to the families on their feeding choices so that is done in a safe and successful way. Evidence based medicine has showed that prenatal education and postnatal support are the two most important components of a successful feeding program. Our physicians, nurses and lactation consultants are always available for your family.
Prenatal education has been shown to be one of the main components to improve breastfeeding outcomes (initially and long-term). St. Bernards is the leader in the region for lactation support, with three board-certified lactation consultants to help mothers while in the hospital and after discharge.
These ladies are available to assist mothers at the bedside after delivery, in the NICU when their new baby needs special attention, and in the new outpatient clinic after mom and baby are discharged from the hospital. The outpatient clinic, located at 4334 East Highland Drive, Ste. B, sees patients by appointment only, Monday – Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment, call 870.897.7335.
At the Hospital
The exciting time has arrived! At St. Bernards, we encourage and offer skin-to-skin care regardless of your feeding choice along with rooming-in and a fully staffed well baby nursery that can be utilized by families if the need arises. During hospitalization you will be visited by one of our International Board-Certified Lactation Consultants who will work with you in your method of feeding. Our goal is that by the time you go home, you feed prepared to take care of your baby.
It's time to go home! Even though you are discharged from the hospital, we are still here for you and your baby. Before discharge, we will give you a booked called New Beginnings that also comes with a phone application for your use. Postnatal support is an extremely important part of a successful feeding story. You can call our lactation consultants every day, including weekends on the Breastfeeding Helpline at 870.897.7335 and we will be happy to answer any questions.
The Breastfeeding Help Line - 870.897.7335 - is a free service with extended hours for mothers in Northeast Arkansas and Southeast Missouri. Our lactation experts will help you through a wide-range of challenges and give you the understanding and support you need to breast feed your baby with success. Problems with which they may need assistance include but are not limited to:
- Painful or cracked nipples
- Low milk supply
- Plugged ducts
- Breastfeeding twins (or more!)
- Breastfeeding an adopted baby
- Weight checks
- Babies who are slow to gain weight
We also offer a Breastfeeding Clinic in which we will do a feeding assessment and a weight check to make sure that all is going well. The clinic is located at 4334 East Highland Drive, Ste. B.
Please remember, our goal is to assist you to succeed in your feeding plan; however, all mothers and babies are different and unexpected things can happen, so being able to adjust your breastfeeding plan white keeping everyone health is more important than following a rigid set of rules.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is my baby getting enough milk?
Most likely yes, but we want you to be sure. If a baby continues showing feeding cues after they are finished breastfeeding, then we probably need to re-check the technique and feeding method. Our signs include: nursing constantly, and crying after most feedings; yellowing skin; not waking spontaneously or inability to stay awake for feeds; trouble latching or sustaining breastfeeding for at least 10 minutes at a time; fewer wet or dirty diapers than expected; or dry lips. If you notice any of these warning signs, contact your pediatrician or family doctor ASAP.
I am considering giving formula, does that make me a bad mother?
Not at all! Many women or families decide that breastfeeding is something they don't want to pursue and we fully respect and support that decision. We encourage you and your family to obtain the pertinent information and get answers to your questions in order to make an informed choice. Our team will work with you to provide all the relevant information regarding formula choice, preparation, storage and administration.
My milk hasn't come in and I'm considering using formula for a few days. Am I messing up my chances of getting my baby to breastfeed? What about his/her microbiome (healthy gut bacteria)?
Several researches have shown that using formula supplementation during the first days of life will decrease maternal stress and actually improve your chances of a successful breastfeeding story. This is called: Early Limited Formula Supplementation. If you choose to breastfeed, we encourage you to put the baby to the breast first each time and then, if the baby continues showing signs of hunger, supplement with formula. The amount of formula will be decided by the baby. As your milk comes in, your baby will take less and less formula until the breastmilk is enough.
Initial research showed that the microbiome (healthy guy bacteria) can be altered by formula supplementation. However, further, more extensive and complete research have shown that limited formula supplementation does not alter the microbiome of your baby.
At St. Bernards, we have Donor Breast Milk that can be provided to term infants to supplement their feeds while in the hospital. Our Donor Breast Milk comes from a Certified Breast Milk Bank that screens and pasteurizes the breast milk before it's ready to be given.
Why don't I get anything with pumping?
Initially pumping can be frustrating for some moms due to colostrum being thick and sometimes difficult to get with a pump. Pumping followed by hand expression will usually get you a few drops or sometimes a little more. Remember to keep pumping on the schedule that our Lactation Consultants give you as this will stimulate your milk to come in.
Having a baby can be very exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Feeling weepy, moody, exhausted, unable to sleep, anxious and nervous after your baby is born is normal.
About 80 percent of new moms have baby blues. It is caused from rapidly changing hormones and physical changes such as milk coming in. The great news is these symptoms will go away on their own and it’s not an illness.
Ask for help from others when you need it and get as much rest as possible. Even little “cat naps” can help. If the symptoms persist more than 2–3 weeks after the birth of your baby, call your doctor and seek help.
About 20 percent of women experience an episode of depression, known as postpartum depression, after having a baby.
Postpartum depression (PPD) is treatable, but many people do not know the facts. They wait too long to get help or never seek treatment.
Postpartum depression affects one in every 8 to 10 women. It usually occurs within the first year after childbirth, miscarriage or stillbirth. PPD is not a character flaw or sign of personal weakness. It does not mean that there is anything wrong with your ability to be a mother. The symptoms of PPD range from mild blues to severe depression. The depression may be mild, moderate or severe.
There is no need to struggle alone. Many new mothers feel out of control, but with help they get back on track and feel good again
If you think you might have post-partum depression, please reach out to your OB-GYN, primary care provider or licensed counselor.
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800.273.TALK
- National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Hotline: 800.662.HELP
- National Child Abuse Hotline: 800.4.A.CHILD