Angie Lipschutz, Advanced Practice Nurse Practitioner (APNP)
August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, a great time to encourage moms-to-be to consider breastfeeding their newborns.
Breast milk is the perfect food and nourishment for your baby. If you choose to breastfeed, you experience instant, natural bonding. This amazing capacity starts long before your baby is born.
During pregnancy, your breasts are being prepared for breastfeeding. Three to four days following birth, the breasts produce colostrum, which is rich in oils, nutrients, hormones and antibodies. The small amount of colostrum your baby gets with each feeding is sufficient until breast milk is produced. As your baby breastfeeds more, your body knows to produce more milk.
Breastfed babies have lower risks of
- Childhood obesity
- Ear infections
- Intestinal disorders such as colic, diarrhea and vomiting
- Respiratory infections
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- Type 2 diabetes
Benefits for breastfeeding moms
- Lose pregnancy weight faster
- Uterus returns to its prepregnant size sooner
- Lower risk of breast and ovarian cancers, Type 2 diabetes and postpartum depression
- Convenient…no formulas to prepare and no bottles to fill and wash
Breastfeeding may be natural, but it’s far from easy
Since babies have a natural sucking reflex and mothers’ bodies are made to make milk, why is it sometimes difficult? The scenario goes like this…your baby is content and you are so surprised all is going well. Then after the third day, your baby seems to be crying a lot and acting like she is still hungry. This is a very natural occurrence for many women who breastfeed. It is happening because your baby is becoming more alert and growing, which leads to an increase in the amount of milk needed.
It is at this time that breastfeeding may start to seem difficult and some moms may need encouragement and help to continue to breastfeed. Remember, in the first month of life your baby will gain 1.5 to 2 pounds above her birth weight. You should try to breastfeed on a schedule of about every two hours to achieve a solid supply and demand cycle.
Despite what most people think, breastfeeding does not come naturally to everyone; it must be learned, and women need support. Initially, it can be frustrating and difficult, so be patient and try to give it a few weeks.
We’re here to help
For all the reasons listed above, breastfeeding is best. But some new moms may find it difficult, if not impossible, to breastfeed for a variety of reasons. Whether you breastfeed or give formula, the goal is for your baby to grow healthy and happy and for you to feel happy and comfortable with your decision.
The experienced nurse practitioners and nursing staff at Women’s Health Specialists offer breastfeeding support services. They are available to answer questions about everything from pumping, latching, positioning and sore nipples during the first difficult weeks.
We are here to help. Call us at (920) 749-4000.