Breastfeeding

Bridgton Hospital Goes the Extra Steps to Assist Moms Who Breastfeed

The Special Delivery Family Birthing Unit at Bridgton Hospital supports mothers in their choice of how to feed their baby.

Breastfeeding is encouraged because of the proven health benefits to mother and child, but in some cases, it is not an option. We will help you adjust to either breastfeeding or formula feeding.

We are happy to note that the majority of our mothers (about 82 percent – which notably exceeds the national average) do choose to breastfeed their newborns. Our designation as a Baby-Friendly ® hospital ensures that we offer complete support to mothers who will breastfeed.

Our staff includes two certified Lactation Counselors. Both provide support and education for breastfeeding mothers. Bridgton Hospital also offers breastfeeding classes six times a year. Classes are open to any expectant mother who is considering breastfeeding her baby. Women who attend are strongly encouraged to bring their support person to the class. Topics covered in the class include the benefits of breastfeeding, skills and techniques during the first days of breastfeeding, and breast care. There is a $10 fee for class. We also host "Mom's Milk", a breastfeeding support group, and we offer breast pump rentals and other breastfeeding supplies. FMI about the classes, support group or breastfeeding equipment: Call 207-647-6090.

The Benefits of Breastfeeding

Many health specialists besides the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children's Fund advocate breastfeeding, when possible. For example, the American Academy of Pediatrics advocates breastfeeding, as does the U.S. Surgeon General, who recommends breastfeeding babies for at least the first six months of life. At that point you can start introducing solid foods. Healthcare experts believe that it is optimal to breastfeed for 12 months or longer, depending on you and your baby's needs.

The benefits to your baby include:

  • Breast milk is the ultimate food for your baby. As your baby grows, your breast milk also changes to adapt to the baby's nutritional needs.

  • Breast milk enhances the immune system and promotes wellness – it helps prevent illnesses including intestinal tract infections, ear infections, allergies, skin conditions, and respiratory infections. It also reduces the risk of more serious illnesses, such as childhood cancer, meningitis, juvenile diabetes, and other acute chronic diseases.

  • Studies indicate that breastfeeding greatly reduces the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

  • Breastfeeding enhances a baby's physical development, from encouraging the development of straighter teeth to helping brain development.

  • Babies who are breastfed develop a stronger emotional relationship to their mother.
Benefits for moms:
  • Breastfeeding allows you to respond quickly to your baby's need for nourishment. It is convenient and it is free!

  • Breastfeeding provides many physical benefits for a new mother. It helps ease post-pregnancy symptoms. And in the long-term, mothers who breastfeed have reduced risk of breast, ovarian, cervical, and endometrial cancers. They also have less chance of osteoporosis.

  • Breastfeeding also enhances your health, by reducing your risk of anemia. It also helps you metabolically – moms who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster.

While breastfeeding, you have more opportunity to bond with your child, and enhance your emotional relationship. For more information call: 207-646-6090.