(WHTM) — Some moms are sending their kids off to school for the first time, while others are experiencing a different kind of first: their first child.

For many new mothers, that means breastfeeding, and during National Breastfeeding Month, a Midstate hospital has a few tips for moms-to-be.

August is National Breastfeeding Month and UPMC Lactation Consultant Shannon Lilienthal said there is a reason it is so important.

“It has health benefits for the mother and the baby, but also for our community,”  Lilienthal said.

Lilienthal said during a time of high inflation, breastfeeding is cost-effective. But more importantly, Lilienthal said it has key health benefits for the mother and the baby.

“So human mouth is the gold standard in infant nutrition. It’s natural, it’s easy to digest, as all those antibodies and immunities to help protect the baby,” Lilienthal said. “(For mothers), it helps reduce her risk of female cancers helps reduce her risk of diabetes, and cardiovascular issues, but also helps reduce her risk of anxiety and depression because of all those beneficial hormones that are released when she’s breastfeeding,” Lilienthal added.

But it can be intimidating, especially when it comes to first-time moms. UPMC offers classes to help ease the anxiety.

“So, if you were trying to latch your baby on and you’re leaning over, you’re gonna get so uncomfortable and sore. So we usually want the moms to get comfortable and lean back, and then bring the baby to the breast rather than rather than like leaning over,” Lilienthal said.

And when is the best time to start learning?

“When a mom knows she’s planning to breastfeed, that’s the best time to learn about it when she’s pregnant,” Lilienthal said.

Lilienthal also said it is important to remember not all moms breastfeed for one reason or another, and that it is totally normal. Lilienthal said plenty of moms exclusively pump, which still provides all the same benefits.