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National Breastfeeding Month: Breastfeeding 101 by Pediatrician and Prenatal Class Teacher Sephora Marsha Germain, MD


Breastfeeding not only provides health benefits, it offers an intimate bonding opportunity for mother and child. Dr. Sephora Marsha Germain, Crystal Run pediatrician and prenatal class teacher, talks through the ins and outs of breastfeeding to help educate expectant parents as they prepare for their little bundle of joy!

What are some of the benefits of breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding is a natural source of nutrition that has plenty of benefits for both mother and baby. For new moms, breastfeeding can promote both physical and mental health as well as, decrease post-partum bleeding, decrease the risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and can even help women return to their pre-pregnancy weight sooner.

Not only does breastfeeding offer many health benefits for the mother, it offers extensive benefits for the baby. Breast milk contains antibodies that can help your infant build up their immunity and protect them against respiratory illness, gastrointestinal illness, ear infections, asthma and allergies. Some studies have shown that babies who are breastfed have a decreased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and often have a decreased risk of obesity in childhood and adolescence compared to babies who are not breast fed.

In addition, breastfed babies tend to be sick less often which in turn helps reduce stress for parents and cuts down on time missed from work.

When should you start breastfeeding and for how long?

Mothers should start breastfeeding soon after the baby is born. Direct skin to skin contact can help facilitate the production of milk for new mothers.  The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends exclusively breastfeeding until the child is six months old after which solid foods should be introduced with breast milk until 12 months of age. Breastfeeding can continue for as long as desired by both parent and child.

Can a working mom breastfeed?

With a little planning and preparation, working mothers can absolutely breastfeed.  Most workplaces offer rooms that allow nursing mothers to pump and store their breast milk. By law, places of employment need to offer breastfeeding women time to pump and a private space for them to do so. If you’re unsure of the accommodations, ask your employer about a designated breastfeeding/pumping room.  Pumped breast milk can be refrigerated for up to seven days and stored in the freezer for at least six months. Be sure to note the date on stored breast milk and discard any that has expired.

There is nothing more important than the health of you and your baby and breastfeeding helps ensure mother and baby are happy and healthy!

There is no such thing as being over-prepared for parenthood.  If you’d like to learn more information on breastfeeding, birth, and labor, attend a prenatal class! Crystal Run Healthcare’s prenatal classes are informational sessions led by pediatricians to help prepare expectant parents for the days, weeks and months following the birth of their child. Crystal Run offers free to attend prenatal classes in West Nyack, Monroe and Middletown.

Our next prenatal class in West Nyack will be held on August 6th, in Middletown on August 15th, and in Monroe on September 4th. Check out our online event calendar for the complete prenatal class schedule and to RSVP!   


Sephora Marsha Germain, MD earned her Medical Degree from SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, NY and completed her Residency in Pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk,VA. She is Board Certified in Pediatrics and is seeing patients in Monroe and West Nyack.