Benefits of breastfeeding

This week is World Breastfeeding Week. As many women enter pregnancy, the question often arises of whether they should breastfeed or not. Many soon to be moms have questions and concerns about what is best for their baby. However there are numerous resources available to help new moms make this very important decision. Let’s start with some of the benefits of breastfeeding…

The Top Ten Benefits of Breastfeeding

  1. It is all natural and provides protection against many diseases and enhanced cognitive development.
  2. It is an easily portable source of nutrition and doesn’t require bringing bottles and formula.
  3. It promotes jaw development.
  4. It won’t stain your baby’s clothes.
  5. It’s FREE
  6. There is ZERO waste!
  7. It also has many lifelong benefits such as reduced rates of obesity, osteoporosis, diabetes, heart disease and higher IQ.
  8. Reduced rates of ovarian and breast cancer for the mother.
  9. May make it easier to lose weight gained during pregnancy.
  10. Promotes a special bond between you and your baby.

While there are many benefits to breastfeeding, many moms still have some questions and concerns…

Question: Will I experience breast pain while breast feeding?

Answer:  There may be some discomfort at the beginning of breastfeeding while the mother and baby get used to this arrangement, but for the most part, it should not be painful.  Breastfeeding should be comfortable, calm and enjoyable for both mother and baby. If at some point during breastfeeding you experience pain, consult your lactation consultant or physician and address the problem so that you can remedy it quickly.  In some cases, treatment may be necessary from breast infections to thrush, but pain is temporary and can be overcome.

Question: I don’t think my baby is latching correctly! Is this normal? What should I do?

Answer: Proper positioning and latch are the keys to successful breastfeeding.  If you suspect your baby is not latching correctly, a lactation consultant can assist you in correcting your baby or position.  Breastfeeding takes trial and error and you and your baby have to practice. Don’t be discouraged if you need help.  Each time you breastfeed, you can correct problems and help your baby get the milk they need.  Every breast is shaped different and every baby’s approach is different, so this requires a sort of dance between mom and baby.  Indications that your baby is latched and positioned correctly are that baby is facing your breast with his/her mouth and body, your baby’s lips are flanged and his/her nose is nearly touching the breast, and at least a ½ inch of the breast around the base of your nipple is in his/her mouth. He/she will begin to suck and swallow and you will see his jaw working all the way back to his temple, you may feel your baby suck, but it should not be painful.

Question: Where can I go for support with breastfeeding?

Answer: Breastfeeding is a special moment between baby and mom, but without support and understanding from those around, it can feel overwhelming .  If you are considering breastfeeding, set yourself up for success by organizing support around you ahead of time.  If you have a mother or mother-in-law, sister or friend that breastfed, they can provide a great resource for assistance.  If you have a spouse or partner that is in favor of breastfeeding, this will greatly increase your success.  There are also mom’s groups, on-line chat groups, La Leche League meetings and professional personnel such as lactation consultants, dietitians and physicians that will support you.  Identify your support before you give birth and plan for successful breastfeeding.

Question: How can I breastfeed if I have a full time job?

Answer:  Pump and store breast milk to keep up supply.  If baby eats three times per day during the time you are away, that is how often you should pump.  Double electric breast pumps offer the easiest and most efficient milk extraction.  Check your area hospitals, WIC office or lactation consultants for renting or buying a pump.  Milk can be safely stored for 3 months in the freezer, and 5 days in the refrigerator and even longer in a deep freezer.   Check out the Center of Disease Control for storage guidelines.  Discuss with your employer a private place and timing of pumping to make it convenient. Plus, breastfed babies are healthier so breastfeeding mothers miss fewer days of work due to an ill child.

Recipes For Breastfeeding Moms

Chicken Salad w/ Apples

Denver Omelet Sandwich

Mediterranean Turkey Burger

For more, search for “breastfeeding recipes” at childrensdayton.org

Sources:

http://www.llli.org/resources.html

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/recommendations/handling_breastmilk.htm

By Marisa VanSchuyver- Dietician at Dayton Children’s

Marisa VanSchuyver has been working at Dayton Children’s Hospital since 2009 with the diabetes and endocrinology team. She has previous  work experience in pediatrics  at OU Medical Center Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma.   She earned her master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Oklahoma and is certified in pediatric and adolescent weight management.  She has special interest in supporting breastfeeding and its benefits to mother and their children.

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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