CINCINNATI -- The cultural concept of the maternal instinct advances the idea that all women naturally know how to be perfect mothers: Physically and emotionally nurturing 24/7, endlessly patient and always absolutely certain what's best for their child.
As any real-life mom can tell you, that's not always the case. A new UC Health helpline is working to provide round-the-clock assistance for new mothers who have questions about one of the mommy mainstays: breast-feeding.
"We wanted resources that mom could reach out and get someone live," lactation consultant Stephanie Burke, who advises helpline callers, said. "Most of the calls I've received have been in the middle of the night."
The helpline was launched in 2016, but initially only served University of Cincinnati Medical Center patients. Thanks to a grant from the Ohio Department of Health, it will soon be able to serve women in 18 southwest Ohio counties for free.
Kim Wright, who gave birth to her baby, Beckham, in late August, said she was struggling to nurse him until she got help from consultants like Burke.
"I was kind of at my wits' end," she said. "He's behaving and eating good now. No more tears."
UC Health expects the extended helpline to become available region-wide in the fall. It will provide assistance from 6 p.m. through 7 a.m. seven days a week, including holidays.