Welcome to the Health Care Providers page

In this section of our website you will find up-to-date information on health care issues related to Down syndrome. We trust you will find this information useful. We encourage you to contact us for questions or suggestions at (518) 438-1113 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Our services at the Down Syndrome Aim High Resource Center are devoted to helping individuals with Down syndrome get access to appropriate health care, from birth to adulthood, so that they can reach their fullest potential.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011 20:25

La Leche FAQ: Breastfeeding

Our FAQs present information from La Leche League International on topics of interest to parents of breastfed children.  Not all of the information may be pertinent to your family’s lifestyle.  This information is general in nature and not intended to be advice, medical or otherwise.  If you have a serious breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  Please consult health care professionals on any medical issue, as La Leche League Leaders are not medical practitioners.

Is it possible to breastfeed my baby who was born with Down syndrome?
How wonderful that you want to give your baby the precious gift of breast milk!  Babies with Down syndrome experience special benefits from breastfeeding beyond the myriad of advantages to healthy newborns:

  • Breast milk provides extra protection against infections and bowel problems which babies with Down syndrome are more likely to develop.
  • Breastfeeding improves mouth and tongue coordination, giving a child with Down syndrome a real developmental advantage.
  • The act of breastfeeding provides additional stimulation for your baby.
  • Breastfeeding promotes closeness between mother and baby, and enhances mothering skills.
  • Extra patience and reasonable expectations are critical when breastfeeding a baby with Down syndrome.  Low muscle tone and a weak suck can impede the baby’s ability to breastfeed.  Here are a few tips that may help you breastfeed your baby:
  1. Because babies with Down syndrome are often sleepy and placid, you may need to interest your baby through frequent breast feedings throughout the day, wake him fully before breastfeeding, or provide extra touch and stimulation to keep him alert.
  2. Pay extra attention to positioning your baby at your breast.  Try to keep you baby’s body elevated near your breasts with his ear, shoulder and hip in a straight line and use extra pillows for support.  
  3. If gulping and choking are a problem, try positioning your baby so that his neck and throat are slightly higher than your nipple.
  4. If poor muscle tone makes it difficult for your baby to latch on well, try supporting your baby’s chin and jaw while nursing, using the “Dancer Hand Position”.  To do this, cup your breast with your thumb above your areola, your index finger pointing outward, and the other three fingers below the areola.  Use your index finger to support the baby’s jaw while nursing.  As breastfeeding enhances your baby’s muscle tone, he will be able to support himself.

Resources for Additional Information
These are available from your local La Leche League Leader or our catologue.
Breastfeeding the Baby with Down Syndrome by Shelly Wright Timko, BA; Yvonne D. Culp, RN; Julia G. Pindell, BFA; and Roseanne Harakal, BS.  This unit describes the genetic causes and the conflicts mothers may experience in their decision to breastfeed the baby with Down syndrome.  (No 382-19, 12 pages, $3.00)

Breastfeeding a Baby with Down Syndrome.  Newly revised pamphlet providing education and support for breastfeeding a baby with Down syndrome.  (No 528-24, $1.95)

Source:  La Leche League International  Visit their website at:  www.lalecheleague.org