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Sewickley program aims to educate mothers about breastfeeding

| Monday, July 17, 2017, 11:00 p.m.

As part of breastfeeding awareness month in August, a lactation consultant is aiming to educate mothers about breastfeeding.

“I think women think they shouldn't need help,” said Edith Davidson, a lactation consultant at Heritage Valley Sewickley hospital. “It's really valuable to have a group. I have a lot of knowledge about breastfeeding and lactation, and sometimes I'll ask other members to share their experiences.”

Davidson hosts the twice-a-month meetings at the Sewickley Valley YMCA, 625 Blackburn Road, from 10 a.m. to noon the first Wednesday of the month and from 6 to 8 p.m. the third Wednesday of the month.

The group hosts women in an array of stages, from pregnancy to breastfeeding a second or third child. They share ideas with one another, and learn about problems that may occur, such as biting, clogged ducts, or the behavior of older babies.

“I try to steer them to reliable, evidence-based websites,” Davidson said. “My job is to help people meet their goals. Sometimes in a group, there are people talking to each other. It's very flexible and depends on the group.”

Women who are pregnant could benefit from coming to learn about the positive impacts breastfeeding has — Davidson presents new information from time to time. Other times, women arrive with specific concerns, whether they are pumping or are on their second child and want to be better prepared. Davidson provides links to helpful websites, resources from pediatricians and lactation consultants, and guidance.

Rachel Kyle has been attending the support group for three years. She was nursing her daughter. After having problems with her son, she decided she wanted support right from the start.

“When you're a new mother, it's one of the hardest things in the world. You feel alone, you're hormonal… Having the support is vital,” Kyle said. “It's really good to learn that other people are going through what you're going through, and you're not alone in this. That's really important.”

Davidson may discuss alcohol and breastfeeding, how to wean, how to tell if the baby has eaten enough, or breastfeeding in public.

“More than bad experiences, I hear good experiences,” Davidson said. “They will do it in front of each other, and that alone makes it comfortable.

“I enjoyed breastfeeding [my three children] so much. It's good for the children and the mothers,” Davidson said. “I am very passionate about teaching the class and the support group. I feel that I have more to give.”

Rebecca L. Ferraro is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.

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