A Head Start at Breastfeeding

March 13, 2019

The transition from expectant mother to mother of a newborn can be extremely challenging, so it helps to have knowledgeable hospital staff on hand for support.

When Lindsey Sansone chose to deliver her baby at Riverview Medical Center, she was confident she’d receive the support she needed. It turns out that was more than true. Lindsey, an ICU nurse at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, is especially grateful for the assistance provided by Cassandra (Casi) Leahy, RN, an international board-certified lactation consultant, who helped her get a strong start with breastfeeding.

“I thought breastfeeding was this natural process, that my baby and I would know instantly what to do. But after almost an hour of unsuc­cessful attempts at feeding, both of our frustrations were growing quickly,” Lindsey says. “Casi sat down and said, ‘I’m not going any­where, and we are going to figure this out.’ She was right. With her help, we eventually did.”

Casi showed the new mother different techniques, such as different ways to hold the baby so he could develop the all-important skill of latching onto the nipple. Casi, now director of Clinical Services for the Center for Breastfeeding, wants to help every family she works with get their breast­feeding journey off to a good start.

The nurses in the labor and delivery and postpartum areas at Riverview are certified breastfeeding counselors, and they are prepared to assist all families with their infant-feeding goals.

“Many families choose to breast­feed their infants—more than 80 percent of all families in New Jersey currently initiate breastfeed­ing. Many parents need support to achieve their breastfeeding goals, and we can provide them with the help they need,” Casi says.

Adds Lindsey, “Casi has a very calm quiet confidence that puts you at ease. She takes genuine owner­ship in her job, and it shows in how she treats people.”

Casi’s Breastfeeding Tips

What drew you to this career?

I love working with new families as they navigate through their parent­ing journey. For families who have chosen to breastfeed, I want to share my passion for breastfeeding by offering information, tools and support.

What tips do you have for new breastfeeding moms?

Get off to a good start. This begins with taking advantage of the “Magical Hour” immediately following delivery. Their time is spent skin-to-skin on their mother’s chest, where the baby feels secure and is also right near the breast for nursing. This time helps the family become more comfortable with breastfeeding and better prepares them to go home as a new family.

To speak with a Hackensack Meridian Health board-certified lactation consultant or to set up an appointment for a feeding assessment, call the lactation warmline number at 732-776-3329.

Tell us about a team member at Hackensack Meridian Health who made all the difference in your care.