child Breastfeeding

At the University of Maryland Medical Center, we are committed to helping you be successful at breastfeeding your baby. We have lactation experts on staff at all times, and offer breastfeeding classes and support groups for moms receiving care at UMMC.

Breastfeeding Benefits for Babies

  • Breast milk is easy to digest
  • It's backed with the nutrients and vitamins babies need — so much so that babies don't need any other food but breast milk for the first six months of life
  • Protects against infections and viruses like the flu
  • Decreases the risk of gastrointestinal problems, ear infections, allergies, asthma and obesity
  • Decreases the risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • May protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Breastfeeding Benefits for Moms

  • Free and convenient
  • You burn about 500 calories a day to build and maintain a milk supply
  • Decreases risk of developing some cancers including breast, uterine, endometrial and ovarian
  • May reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Decreases the risk for osteoporosis

Getting the Best Start with Breastfeeding

Right after delivery when mom and baby are stable, babies should be placed in skin-to-skin contact with their mother for at least an hour. What this means is that an unclothed baby should be placed on mom's bare chest. This helps trigger a baby's natural instinct to breastfeed.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth. Because the baby is already on the mother's chest, the baby can easily have his or her first feed.

Continue with skin-to-skin contact in the days and weeks following the baby's birth, since it:

  • Increases bonding
  • Helps regulate baby's temperature, heart rate, breathing, blood sugar and blood pressure
  • Promotes breastfeeding

Breastfeeding on Demand

Babies are good at communicating when they are hungry. When they want to eat, they will:

  • Put their hands to their mouth
  • Turn their heads toward the breast and open their mouths (this is called rooting)
  • Lick their lips or stick out their tongue (this is called mouthing)
  • Make soft sounds

Babies Do Best in the Same Room with Mom

We encourage moms and babies to "room in" while at the hospital since there are advantages for mom and baby, including:

  • Babies cry less and are easier to calm
  • Moms learn baby's cues and they get more confidence in knowing how to take care of their baby
  • Moms are actually able to get more rest
  • Better-quality sleep, since babies develop a more regular sleep-wake cycle earlier, and may help ease the transition to day/night routines

Prenatal Support Services

Before your baby is born, the University of Maryland Medical Center offers:

For more information or to register for a class, please email

View Helpful Breastfeeding Videos

Breastfeeding is the Breast Thing for Your New Baby!

Baby Friendly Designation

UMMC is a Baby-Friendly hospital, designated by Baby-Friendly USA. This means the Medical Center is adhering to the highest standards of care for breastfeeding mothers and their babies. These standards are built on evidence-based practices recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) for optimal infant feeding support in the precious first days of a newborn’s life.