Breastfeeding Knowledge For A Nurse

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After giving birth to a newborn, there are many adjustments you may need to get accustomed to. Aside, from recovering from the delivery a newborn. There is a moment of bonding time for both parents, usually immediately after birth of a newborn. Which may entail mother to breastfeed their newborn for the first time. We as nurses we are able to educate the benefits of breastfeeding newborns, if the mother decides to breastfeed their child. Ultimately it is up to the mother to decided what is best, and we need to support their choices. If the mother decides to breast feed, we can help the mother with proper technique of breastfeeding. Ensuring the newborn has a proper latch to the breast. As well as, showing the mother how to remove the newborn from the breast, to ensure not inflict trauma to the tissue of the nipple.

According to Durham & Chapman the benefits of human milk, “is the preferred source of infant nutrition and provides all the nutritional needs an infant requires. In the short term, infants who breastfed have a decreased risk of: Gastroenteritis, otitis media, hospitalization due to respiratory syncytial virus, necrotizing enterocolitis, sudden infant death and urinary tract infections” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 482-483). “Over the long term, breastfed infants are at decreased risk of: asthma, atopic dermatitis, cardiovascular disease, celiac disease, childhood inflammatory bowel disease, obesity and sleep disorders” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 483).

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There are some contraindications for breastfeeding that nurse should know about, such as, “women with active & untreated tuberculosis; women who are receiving diagnostic or therapeutic radioactive isotopes; women who are receiving antimetabolites or chemotherapeutic agents; women who have herpes simplex lesions on a breast; women who are HIV positive; women who use street drugs; infants with galactosemia” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 483-484).

The components of human milk contain, “proteins, carbohydrates and fats are synthesized in the breasts’ alveolar glands. Proteins account for approximately 6% of the calories in human milk and are easier to digest than protein prepared in formula. Carbohydrates account for approximately 42% of the calories in human milk with lactose as the main carbohydrates” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 484). “Fats account for approximately 52% of the calories in human milk. Cholesterol, which is essential for brain development, is higher in human milk. Vitamins and minerals are transferred to the human milk from the maternal plasma” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 484). “Human milk contains multiple antibodies, enzymes and immune factors that help protect the infant from common infections. It also stimulates the growth of healthy bacteria in the intestinal system, which inhibits growth of bacteria that can cause diseases” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 484).

We as nurses are able to properly educate the mother on how to breastfeed correctly. Which includes, “how to hold her infant during the feeding sessions depending on what is comfortable for the infant and mother. Periodically changing the infants’ position on the breast decrease nipple irritation” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 487). “Common tools used to asses and document breastfeeding efforts are LATCH, L (Latch) grasps breast, tongue down, lips flanged, rhythmic sucking; A (audible swallowing) spontaneous and intermittent 24 hours old; T (type of nipple) everted after stimulation; C (comfort- breast & nipple) soft and tender; H (hold /positioning) no assist from staff, mother is able to position and hold infant. (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 488). “Preventing nipple tissue breakdown, painful nipples are a primary reason that women stop breastfeeding. Nipple irritation can lead to skin breakdown, which can cause mastitis. Each breastfeeding mother must be taught to inspect her nipples for signs of: irritation, redness, bruising, and tissue breakdown” (Durham & Chapman, 2019, Pg. 488).

In healthcare as a nurse, we must be properly trained on how to educate new mothers on how to breastfeed. There are many post-partum nurses that are able to assist mothers that may not know how to breastfeed their child or even bottle feed. That is when we can provide education and guidance, so their infant receives proper nutrition. If needed, we are able to provide them with outside resources to help the new mother get accustomed to the changes to having a newborn infant.


  1. Durham, R. F., & Chapman, L. (2019). Maternal-newborn nursing: the critical components of nursing care (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: F.A. Davis Company.
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Breastfeeding Knowledge For A Nurse. (2021, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
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