What is The Breastfeeding Support Group?
The Breastfeeding Support Group is a twice-weekly, live-forum designed to help nursing moms achieve their breastfeeding goals. Susan and the other moms are there to offer support and encouragement to any mom who is offering any amount of breast milk to their baby. All breastfeeding moms and their babies are welcome. The groups are open, accepting, and non-judgmental. Most moms attend Group because they have questions about breastfeeding or need help.
When do the groups meet?
Groups meet every week on Wednesdays, from noon-1:30pm and Thursdays, from 10:30am to noon.
Is there a fee?
No! It is a free community service provided by VHC, so there is no fee or charge for attending.
Who facilitates the group?
The group is moderated by Susan Howard, an experienced Registered Nurse who is also an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC).
Can I get a lactation consultation at Group?
No. A lot of breastfeeding challenges can be solved in a group setting, but the Breastfeeding Groups are usually not "hands-on" forums. If you need more in-depth help or prefer an in-person consult, contact us to establish a 1:1 home visit.
What if my baby needs to eat at group?
If your baby gets hungry, by all means, feed your baby at Group! Whether you feed at the breast, with a bottle, with a nipple shield or any other device---it is okay. Groups are open, accepting, and non-judgmental. Most moms attend Group because they have questions about breastfeeding or need help.
What if my baby cries the whole time?
Babies cry. It's okay. Susan knows that you will do your best to respond and comfort your baby. All those in attendance are moms and understand. If you are concerned, you can always step out for a few minutes to settle your baby.
I am exclusively pumping; can I attend?
Absolutely! If you are making milk for your baby, you may have a few questions about pumping. Susan can help offer ideas and solutions. If you need to pump during group, bring your pump and plug in!
My baby is in the NICU. Can I attend without my baby?
Having a baby in the NICU is stressful. If you are pumping milk for your baby, or perhaps your baby is not yet latching, this is a great time to attend. Susan can offer you strategies to help protect your milk supply until your baby can feed at the breast. Many of the group's regular attendees are NICU graduates.
My mom or mother-in-law is here helping me. Can she attend too?
Of course, grandmas are welcome! Often Grandmas are astonished at the resources and support available to nursing moms.
Please park your stroller in the Stroller Alcove, near the information desk; space is limited in the classroom. If you need help lifting your car seat from the stroller, let Susan know; she is happy to help out.
Many moms find that breastfeeding is easier when they have their breastfeeding pillow with them; feel free to bring one.
You will notice that a lot of moms prefer to sit on the floor with their babies during Group. Bring a blanket for your little one. You have room to spread out and babies are often much more tolerant of tummy time when they can see a nearby "friend." There are also chairs for your comfort and convenience.
What else do I need to know?
Each time you attend Group you will be asked to sign the sign-in log with your name, your baby's name and age. This validates that the group is being used.
On your first visit, you will sign a waiver that says: the group moderator is not your healthcare provider, you will look after the safety of your baby while at Group, and you agree to abide by the posted rules when using the baby scale.
One of the benefits of attending the Breastfeeding Group is gaining access to a list-serve. The mom2mom list offers additional support and functions as an extension of our live weekday group. The list-serve offers nearly 24-hour support from 1100+ breastfeeding-friendly and knowledgeable moms. All the women in the virtual community are currently attending or have attended the live groups at VHC. If you enjoy the live group; the virtual group is event better!
Susan Howard, RN, IBCLC, a self-professed lacto-geek, loves moderating the twice-weekly Breastfeeding Support Group at Virginia Hospital Center (VHC).