Helping new moms find breastfeeding support

- Inside Breastfeed Atlanta's Marietta clinic, Nynese Smoot nurses her son Braxton, a ritual they both seem to love.

"He'll kind of take a break, and he'll coo and ooh and ah," Smoot smiles.

The Atlanta mom was thrilled to give birth for the first time at 44 and has always wanted to breastfeed, but she needed some help.

"Because sometimes you just don't know, and as a new mom there are things that I just don't know," Smoot says.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends newborns be fed exclusively breast milk until their 6 months of age. After that, the AAP advises mothers to continue breastfeeding, while adding in complementary foods, until the baby reaches the age of 1. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says breastfeeding can reduce a baby's risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, asthma and even ear infections.

"Babies get sick less, they tend to have a more normal growth chart, when they're breastfeeding," says Breastfeed Atlanta Executive Director Christie Courtney.

But she says the idea of breastfeeding can seem foreign to some new mothers.

"In some families, especially where there is not a history of breastfeeding, that can be a totally novel concept," Courtney says.  "If a young mother, if her only notion of a breast is in relation to sex, then it may seem very, very foreign to her to breastfeed, especially if she doesn't know the benefits of it."

Nynese Smoot drops in twice a week to Breastfeed Atlanta's Grant Park location, where she can get one on one help from a board-certified lactation consultant for $75. Braxton gets regular weigh-ins, and the team offers her advice on how to tweak her feeding routine. She also likes the "mommy meet-ups," or support groups that bring nursing mothers together.

"As the mother of a newborn, sometimes you feel like the walls are closing in," Smoot smiles.  "Sometimes you just need to see another mother and hear another baby's cry.

For more information about Breastfeed Atlanta, visit breastfeedatlantallc.com.

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