CLEVELAND — Connor is Anna and Kevin McHugh’s first baby.
He was posterior and McHugh’s work was quick. The couple made it to the Cleveland Clinic Fairview hospital emergency entrance just in time and doctors delivered him to the back of their car.
After her wild entrance into the world, McHugh said she knew she wanted to breastfeed.
“A bit like the natural choice. Of course, if I could, if he hung on and everything. But he immediately hooked up when he was born. So that was exciting,” she said. “They called him ‘the man with the boobs’ when he was in the hospital.”
Although Connor had no trouble locking in, McHugh had some concerns.
“He was curling his upper lip, so he had a shallow grip, not like a deep grip. So he was just on the breast much longer than expected for his first feedings. Obviously it’s a learning process for both of us,” she said. What am I going to do all day every day? ‘”
When her son was three and a half weeks old, a lactation consultant told him about the new clinic and the breastfeeding medicine center at the Cleveland Clinic. She said the team there helped right away.
“Now we just have to lift his lip every time he takes the breast, and he’s gotten so much stronger and his feedings are going really well and he’s content and happy. So we’re very happy “, said McHugh.
The Breastfeeding Medicine Clinic and Center opened in June, directly across from Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights. It also recently expanded to a location in Lakewood.
The clinic helps mothers with various breastfeeding issues, such as sore nipples, low or overproduction of milk, how to pump properly and get back to work.
McHugh said that kind of support makes a big difference.
“The clinic is new, but breastfeeding is also new. So even though, you know, our bodies are designed to do that, the baby is learning to eat, to suckle, you know, to do everything,” she said. “We’re also learning to breastfeed.”
McHugh said she breastfeeds six to seven times a day. She pumps right before bed and in the middle of the night.
“I’m going to pump at 3 a.m. because your boobs are most awake at 3 a.m. and that’s when they know how to produce,” she said, holding Connor. “So you can’t miss this pump, can you? You’re sleeping soundly and I’m pumping for you.”
New directives from the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that paediatricians support those who breastfeed their child until the age of two, after the introduction of solid foods.
Dr. Heidi Szugye is medical director of the Cleveland Clinic Clinic and Breastfeeding Medicine Center and said the recommendation follows continued evidence of the benefits of breastfeeding for mother and baby after this first year of life.
The AAP policy reads in part: “Research has shown that breastfeeding is linked to decreased rates of lower respiratory tract infections, severe diarrhea, ear infections and obesity. Breastfeeding is associated with a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome, as well as other protective effects.
But Szugye said there was a lot more to the policy update beyond that.
Another key point is the persistence of disparities in breastfeeding rates and outcomes for minority and poor women and the need to provide more resources to these populations. The policy also talks a lot about the need for healthcare systems and workplaces to better support breastfeeding mothers.
“I think there’s been a lot of negative publicity about it. This recommendation, really being kind of a burden on moms and all on moms shoulders and especially in light of the formula shortages we are experiencing right now,” Szugye said. “But, if you really dive deep into the policy statement, there is much, much more to this recommendation. And a call to make sure we’re supporting moms so they can achieve those breastfeeding goals.”
McHugh said she personally plans to breastfeed for as long as she can.
“Even though he’s a year and a half and I just pump and he takes it out of a bottle. But you know, they call it liquid gold,” McHugh said. obviously so for a reason because your body makes exactly what your baby needs from his saliva. So I think if I can do it, I’ll try to do it for two years.”
The new breastfeeding clinic has helped McHugh feel prepared for the journey ahead.
While breastfeeding is the right choice for her, she urges every parent to do what’s right for them.
“If you navigate it, what’s best for you, your life, your baby, your family, your situation, your unit — everyone will be happier all around,” she said.
Szugye said last year the Cleveland clinic delivered more than 12,000 babies across all facilities in Northeast Ohio and there’s been increased demand from patients and doctors to offer more. support and education.
Since June, the Clinic and Breastfeeding Medicine Center has worked with 200 mothers and babies.