Johnston-Willis Hospital is here to help you plan for the best possible start for your baby and your family as you journey into parenthood. We encourage you to consider breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can be one of the hardest, but most rewarding, things a new mother can do for her baby. Just as you are learning how to feed your baby, your baby is learning how to eat outside of the womb. Johnston-Willis Hospital can assist both you and your baby on this new journey. Our hospital received the Virginia Maternity Center Breastfeeding-Friendly designation from the Virginia Department of Health. Johnston-Willis was designated with two stars for our efforts in implementing policies and practices that support a breastfeeding-friendly environment for patients. The designation is based on the World Health Organization’s Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.

Benefits of Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding helps you and your baby in many ways. The first milk, colostrum, is full of antibodies to strengthen baby's immune system and is the perfect food for your baby in the first days of life.

Breastfeeding lays the foundation for your baby's lifelong health.

Breastfeeding lays the foundation for your baby's lifelong health and is one of the best gifts you can give your child. Babies who are not breastfed are at greater risk for many illnesses, including infections and childhood cancers, as well as SIDS. Breast milk helps your baby grow stronger in body and mind, and mothers who breastfeed have reduced risk of breast cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Breast milk provides all the nutrition your baby needs for the first six months of life until you start introducing solid foods. Babies who are breastfed during the time that they are learning to eat other foods have less risk of developing allergies and digestive problems. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies continue breastfeeding for at least the first year.

At the Hospital

We’ll help you build a good breastfeeding relationship with your baby. Immediately after birth, if you and your baby are stable, your baby will be placed skin to skin on your chest for the Golden Hour. This is a precious time when your baby adjusts to being born, enjoys the security of being close to your body and will usually start to breastfeed.

You and your baby can share 24-hour rooming in so you can get to know each other and breastfeed frequently. Your baby will let you know when he/she is hungry, usually feeding 8 to 12 times each day. Holding your baby with lots of skin to skin contact is good for both of you during this time. It promotes a good milk supply and can decrease your risk of postpartum depression.

Donor Milk Program

Chippenham & Johnston-Willis Hospitals were the first in Central Virginia to partner with Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters to provide donor human milk to patients. In the event that your baby needs to be supplemented, due to medical complications, instead of offering baby formula you have the option to choose donor human milk. The use of donor human milk is an evidence-based practice that can improve a baby’s health and lower the risk of infection.

Your Lactation Support Team

Our nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) will help you learn to breastfeed. For most moms and babies, a little assistance is all that is needed to get breastfeeding off to a great start, and most breastfeeding problems can be avoided. The first week or two of baby's life is a time of many adjustments for you and your family, but we will work with you through the challenges and see you moving on to a wonderful experience with your baby.

You can attend one of our Breastfeeding Support Group meetings which are held twice a month. A lactation consultant is available at the meetings to offer assistance as needed.

For answers to your breastfeeding concerns, you can call Johnston-Willis Hospital’s lactation consultants at (804) 483-6342.