BREASTFEEDING BASICS

Are you pregnant, know someone who is pregnant or would like to become pregnant? Are you an expectant spouse? Along with the joy of parenthood (grandparenthood, auntie-hood and uncle-hood) there are many new things to learn and decisions to make. One decision for mothers is whether or not to breastfeed. And if you do, for how long? And what are the potential issues? We answer all that and more in Breastfeeding Basics.


BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS

Babies come at any time during the year, but National Breastfeeding Month comes once per year during August. It’s a time to celebrate all the wonderful benefits of breastfeeding and also pay attention to workplace and societal changes needed to make breastfeeding easier for those who choose to do so.



First, let’s look at the benefits of breastfeeding for both the newborn and the mother.

BENEFITS FOR BABY

•  A nearly perfect mix of vitamins, protein and fat.
•  Contains antibodies to help fight off viruses and bacteria.
•  Lowers the risk of developing asthma or allergies.
•  Fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses and diarrhea if
   breastfeeding exclusively for six months.
•  Linked to higher IQ scores in some studies.
•  Promotes physical closeness for bonding.
•  Helps prevent SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
•  Lowers the risk of diabetes, obesity and some cancers.

    BENEFITS TO MOTHERS

    •  Cost-effective (no need to buy formula etc).
    •  Burns extra calories to help lose pregnancy weight.
    •  Releases oxytocin which helps uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size.
    •  Lowers risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

    BREASTFEEDING FACTOIDS
    Breastfeeding isn’t always supported by friends and family, so be prepared to be your own advocate if you choose to breastfeed. For support, there are breastfeeding support groups of women and others to turn to for advice.

    Here’s a few facts on breastfeeding that may be of interest you.
    • According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, breastfeeding rates continue to rise in the United States.
    • 79% of newborn infants started breastfeeding.
    • At six months, 49% were breastfeeding.
    • At one year, 27% were breastfeeding.
    • La Leche League has trained and accredited volunteer mothers who provide support and help to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
    • Hospitals and clinics have International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to assist breastfeeding mothers.
    • Mothers should not breastfeed if:
    • HIV positive
    • Have active, untreated tuberculosis
    • Receiving chemotherapy for cancer
    • Using any illegal drug
    • Baby has galactosemia and cannot tolerate the natural sugar in breast milk
    • Taking prescription medications for migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease or arthritis.
    • 79% of newborn infants started breastfeeding.
    • At six months, 49% were breastfeeding.
    • At one year, 27% were breastfeeding.
    • La Leche League has trained and accredited volunteer mothers who provide support and help to pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.
    • Hospitals and clinics have International Board Certified Lactation Consultants to assist breastfeeding mothers.
    • Mothers should not breastfeed if:
    • HIV positive
    • Have active, untreated tuberculosis
    • Receiving chemotherapy for cancer
    • Using any illegal drug
    • Baby has galactosemia and cannot tolerate the natural sugar in breast milk
    • Taking prescription medications for migraine headaches, Parkinson’s disease or arthritis.
    Some companies and organizations provide breastfeeding support in terms of “mother’s rooms” to nurse or express milk, flexible hours, maternity leave and other benefits. Check with your employer to learn about your options.


    BREASTFEEDING TIPS
    Babies know what to do, and a mother’s body also knows what to do. It should all go smoothly, but sometimes new moms need a little help. Here’s a few tips.
    • Latching on. If a baby is latched on properly, the nipple and much of the areola will be in the baby’s mouth. An incomplete latch can cause sore nipples. To help the baby reattach properly, place a pinky finger between the nipple and the baby’s mouth to break the seal and try again.
    • Holding the baby. If the new mom has had an episiotomy or C-section, then laying down with the baby on a couch or bed is often a good option. Use your hand to support the baby’s head and neck. Sitting up with the baby cradled in the bend of your arm is the most common way to nurse and is comfortable for both mother and baby.
    • Feeding times. Babies will need to be fed 8-12 times per day. The baby will open its mouth or purse its lips and nuzzle towards the mom (or anyone else) when it is hungry. If the baby is crying, it is too hungry and the feeding is late.
    • Be patient. It takes a while to breast feed. It can take 10-20 minutes for each breast. Babies should nurse from both breasts each time.
    • Relax. Milk flows better when mom is relaxed. So get comfy. Place pillows wherever needed and enjoy the experience.
    • Expressed milk. Expressing milk with a breast pump can allows others (dad) to feed your baby while still giving the benefits of breast milk to the baby. Breast pumps can be purchased at pharmacies, Target and Babies ‘R Us. Manual breast pumps are less than $50 and electric pumps will cost more.
    • Handling breastmilk. Wash your hands before expressing or handling breast milk. Store it in clean containers designed for breast milk. Label the container with the date (if the baby is in daycare) and either freeze it or refrigerate it. Don’t combine new milk with old milk. Use the oldest milk first.
    Should you breast feed? It’s up to you – however an informed choice is a good choice. We hope we’ve helped you make a healthy choice.


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