Breastfeeding & Chestfeeding

Support as you learn to feed your baby

If you choose to breast or chestfeed your baby, Novant Health provides education, support and resources to help you nurse your child.

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Novant Health breastfeeding locations

Services offered by Novant Health Breastfeeding with board-certified lactation consultants include:

  • In-person, video visits and on-demand breastfeeding consults (On-demand video visits are from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. for North Carolina residents only.) 
  • Breastfeeding classes
  • Breastfeeding and pumping supplies
  • Rentals for pumps and scales
  • Infant weight check

For more information on breastfeeding services, classes and support groups, call 888-976-4937.

Explore Breastfeeding Services

Novant Health Breastfeeding - SouthPark

Novant Health Breastfeeding - Huntersville Medical Center

Novant Health Breastfeeding - Matthews Medical Center

Novant Health Breastfeeding - Mint Hill Medical Center

Novant Health Breastfeeding - Presbyterian Medical Center

A Novant Health midwife is standing across from a mother as she holds her newborn.

Novant Health Breastfeeding - Forsyth Medical Center

Novant Health Breastfeeding - Thomasville Medical Center

A Novant Health midwife is standing across from a mother as she holds her newborn.

What are the benefits of breast milk?

Breastfeeding and chestfeeding are nurturing and bonding experiences for mothers and their babies. You are generally recommended to breastfeed or chestfeed your baby for at least a year. Breastmilk includes many health benefits, such as:

  • It’s easy for baby to digest
  • Antibodies in breast milk protect against infections
  • It encourages brain development
  • It helps fight disease

Novant Health breastfeeding consultants and services

Our lactation consultants are available to work with you and your family throughout your hospital stay and beyond to teach you chestfeeding and breastfeeding techniques for a positive nursing experience, provide follow-up contacts and promote confidence in your nursing abilities. Our team provides a variety of chestfeeding and breastfeeding services, including:

  • Prenatal chestfeeding and breastfeeding classes
  • Prenatal assessment
  • Bedside hospital consultations 365 days a year
  • Consultations in our Level IV neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
  • Outpatient consultation appointments
  • Back-to-work appointments
  • Breast pump and baby scale rentals
  • Retail pumps and breastfeeding supplies
  • Nursing bras and certified bra-fitters
  • Breastfeeding aids and gift items

Connect virtually with a lactation consultant

After you leave the hospital, you can continue to access personalized chestfeeding and breastfeeding support through Novant Health.

Our lactation support program offers daytime visits, on-demand virtual lactation consultations and other resources designed to connect breastfeeding and chestfeeding moms with expert support.

Share your concerns, ask questions and get expert advice from the comfort of your own home — even during a 3 a.m. feeding — with little to no wait through a private, one-on-one, video breastfeeding consultation. Common concerns a lactation consultant can help you with include:

  • Low milk supply
  • Sore nipples
  • Engorged breasts
  • Difficulty with positioning or latching
  • A sleepy baby who is difficult to wake up
  • Pumping questions

Start an On-Demand Visit

Mother's Milk Club

New moms and their babies are invited to join our chestfeeding and breastfeeding support group. Connect with other new moms and get advice from certified lactation consultants. 

The Mother's Milk Club meets virtually to ensure we can continue to provide our group with the support and connection you need.

Find a Mother’s Milk Club Group

Baby Cafés

Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers can connect with a lactation consultant and other new parents at a Novant Health Baby Café location. Baby Café USA is a national organization that offers free breastfeeding support and other resources for new parents. Baby Cafés are free and usually open at least once a week. 

At Baby Café locations you can:

  • Weigh your baby for milk intake
  • Get help with positioning and latching your baby
  • Discuss strategies for pumping and storing milk if you're returning to work or school Connect with other parents throughout their breastfeeding journeys

Common Questions About Breastfeeding

You should start nursing within the first hour and keep your baby in yourthe room to encourage bonding. We encourage these additional breastfeeding tips:

  • Use skin-to-skin contact during feedings.
  • Nurse your baby on one side until the breast softens, then switch to the other.
  • Nurse your baby eight to twelve times in 24 hours.
  • Avoid pacifiers and feeding supplements at first.

Many new mothers wonder if their babies are getting enough to eatsustenance from breastfeeding. The following signs indicate your baby is getting enough milkit's working:

  • Your baby seems satisfied after breastfeeding.
  • Your baby's stool has changed to seedy-yellow by day 5.
  • Your infant is frequently wetting and soiling diapers stooling and voiding by day 3 (six wet diapers, three stools in 24 hours).
  • Your breasts feel full before your baby breastfeeds and softer afterward.
  • You don't have nipple or breast pain.

When you're breastfeeding, you can generally eat what you want. But there are guidelines you can follow to ensure you and your baby stay healthy during the process:

  • Eat well-balanced, nutritious meals.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Limit caffeine to no more than two 8-ounce servings per day.
  • If your baby seems fussy, determine if there's a link to any food you ate. Remove the food from your diet for 48 hours, and check for improvement. Babies aren't typically bothered by anything the mother eats.

You can choose to pump and store milk for later use. Follow these tips to make sure your milk is safe and ready for your baby:

  • After pumping, label and date the milk and use the oldest first.
  • Breast milk can be stored in a refrigerator for five to eight days. It can be stored for as long as three months in a freezer and six months in a deep freezer.
  • Thaw frozen or refrigerated milk to room temperature by placing it in a container of hot water. Never heat breast milk in a microwave oven. The heating is not uniform, and your baby could get burned. It can also destroy essential nutrients and antibodies in breast milk.
  • Test milk on the inside of your wrist before giving it to your baby.

It's important that you're comfortable while breastfeeding. Try these tips:

  • Wear a support bra if you need extra support.
  • Practice correct positioning and latching on to prevent sore nipples. Contact a lactation consultant if you need a refresher on these best practices.
  • Alternate your positioning during feeding to prevent repeated pressure on any particular point. Express a little bit of milk to help your baby latch on.
  • To remove your baby from your breast, place your little finger in the baby's mouth and break the suction.
  • After your baby feeds, express some colostrum or breast milk and rub it on your nipples. Then air dry your nipples for 10 minutes. Apply a gentle lanolin preparation made for use on nipples or try hydro gel pads. That will help with soreness, chapping and cracking.
  • Avoid using soap to wash your nipples, and don't use vitamin E ointments. These can be toxic to babies.
  • Don't wear nursing pads once they've become moist. Avoid pads with plastic liners and tight bras.
  • You may experience engorgement three to five days after you deliver your baby. This is normal. Symptoms include tenderness, swelling, warmth and hardness of your breasts. You may also have a fever or headache. The best remedy is to feed your baby often.
  • Try treating your swollen breasts with ice packs and cabbage leaves.
  • To avoid sore nipples, follow the instructions for your breast pump.

Contact a lactation consultant if you have any of these concerns:

  • You feel breastfeeding isn't going well.
  • Your nipples are cracked, bleeding or painful.
  • Your baby is having difficulty latching on for feeding.
  • Your baby isn't breastfeeding eight to 12 times initially.
  • You're supplementing with bottles.
  • Your baby isn't wetting or soiling enough diapersstooling and voiding adequately.

Breastfeeding can be stressful. We're here to support you, so dDon't hesitate to call your pediatrician if you have any concerns — especially if you experience the following:

  • Your baby seems hungry after breastfeeding.
  • Your baby is sleepy and doesn't eat at least eight times in 24 hours.
  • Your baby is fussy and cries a lot.
  • Your baby doesn't void six times after your milk has come in (days 3 to 5).
  • Your baby's stools are not yellow by day 5.
  • You feel the need to supplement with formula.
  • Your baby appears jaundiced (yellow skin tone, yellow in the whites of the eyes).