Published on August 21, 2017

New mothers find support and expert advice at TLC

When she was pregnant, Helena Frost says she got plenty of advice about pregnancy and childbirth but no one talked to her about breastfeeding. So the new mother has come to rely on Essentia Health' certified lactation consultants and the mothers she' met at a weekly drop-in group.

"I was nervous about breastfeeding and wondered if Quinn was getting enough," Helena says of her daughter. "I had lots of questions and didn't know who to ask."

Helena and Quinn are regulars at The Lactation Club, or TLC. Helena connects with other breastfeeding mothers while they have their babies weighed and get their questions answered by a certified lactation consultant. Mothers can drop in any time from 1-3 p.m. each Tuesday at the Essentia Health-Lakewalk Clinic, 1502 London Road.

"It gives you a chance to get out, meet some mothers and feed your baby while you get advice," said Helena, who lives in Superior. "You see the older babies and hear about the changes they're going through. Someone in the group will ask a question and we'll talk about it, so when I'm at home, if it happens to me, I know what to do."

Angela Qson, an Essentia Health registered nurse and certified lactation consultant, hosted a recent TLC session. She talked with each mother as she weighed the babies, answering questions and offering advice. Later a discussion sprang up about gas rumbling through tiny tummies and precious milk being spit up. Mothers shared their solutions and Angela pointed out that both are normal parts of early infancy.

Like many mothers in the group, Helena had a visit with a lactation consultant after giving birth in the Birthplace at Essentia Health-St. Mary' Medical Center. It' part of the birthing center' commitment to being Baby-Friendly. Developed by the United Nations Children' Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization, the Baby-Friendly designation recognizes hospitals that offer an optimal level of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies based on the "Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding."

Weekly weigh-ins and discussions at TLC reassure Helena. "It gives me a boost of confidence that I can do it on my own," she said.

Essentia Health offers free drop-in groups for breastfeeding mothers in Duluth, Brainerd and Fargo. To learn more, contact our certified lactation counselors.