Northwestern Medicine Breastfeeding Services

Breastfeeding Services

Northwestern Medicine Breastfeeding Services

The internationally board-certified lactation consultants, along with your physician and your baby’s pediatrician, want breastfeeding to be successful for you and your baby. Our trained lactation staff will work with you during your hospital stay to ensure you are comfortable with breastfeeding. Lactation rooms are available for breastfeeding mothers who visit our hospitals.

Breastfeeding help in the hospital

Northwestern Medicine postpartum nurses serve as a new mother's first resource for breastfeeding. Many of these postpartum nurses have earned special certification as lactation counselors and can guide a mother in the basics of positioning her baby and coaching the newborn to latch onto the breast. Mothers who need additional assistance can request help from a certified lactation consultant.

Lactation consultants

Whatever feeding method you choose, our internationally board-certified lactation consultants will help you learn the proper techniques to feed your baby. Our postpartum nurses are specially trained to help you learn proper breastfeeding techniques. Certified lactation consultants are also available for more complex breastfeeding concerns, such as:

  • Breastfeeding twins or triplets
  • Breastfeeding premature babies (less than 37 weeks)
  • Breastfeeding infants with congenital anomaly, neurological impairment or other medical conditions that affect the infant's ability to breastfeed
  • Breast anatomy concerns, including flat or inverted nipples
  • History of breast surgery or trauma
  • Ineffective breastfeeding
  • Medication use

Special needs

Lactation consultants collaborate with postpartum nurses to help new mothers with more complicated needs. This includes developing pumping schedules for babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) who cannot yet breastfeed and assisting with breastfeeding as the baby matures. Lactation consultants also facilitate free, weekly support and information groups for mothers with newborns in intensive care. New parents can also view educational breastfeeding programs in their rooms using the hospital's on-demand video system and patient education television.

Breastfeeding classes and support groups

Women who plan to deliver at Northwestern Medicine hospitals are encouraged to attend breastfeeding classes led by certified lactation consultants. Participants learn about feeding techniques and positions, pumping and breast milk storage. Instructors also recommend husbands, partners, mothers or sisters attend, as they can be supportive and informed coaches when a mother begins breastfeeding.