World Breastfeeding Week is held annually between the 1st – 7th of August to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world.
New moms and moms to be are continually inundated with every person they meet giving them their advice. Oftentimes, unsolicited. A lot of things you will hear people say or suggest about breastfeeding can be out-dated or just plain wrong which makes it difficult to know who to listen to! Here is a short list of things to know about breastfeeding:
- Breast milk is very healthy. We don’t want to pressure everyone to nurse. We just want you to be aware of the benefits. Breast milk contains antibodies that can’t be engineered. Research shows that breastfed babies tend to have fewer colds and sinus issues. As well as a lessened chance for allergies.
- Momma can get healthier too. Over the long term, breastfeeding helps ward off breast and ovarian cancers. In the short term, the physical contact helps you bond with your baby. It forces you to sit still and focus on nurturing. Nursing also helps mom release the “mothering hormone”, prolactin, which helps keep postpartum depression at bay. AND, you are burning calories!
- Nursing can be difficult in the beginning. Those first days, you might feel what experts call extreme tenderness — and what we call pain. But once your baby is properly latched, discomfort should diminish during each nursing session and go away completely with time. But, if pain persists, you should contact your OB or a lactation consultant who can help you troubleshoot what the issue may be.
- Breastfeeding saves you money. If you mostly nurse and use formula only in a pinch, you should be able to pocket at least an extra $400 in your baby’s first year. That’s even if you buy a breast pump!
- You are the food supply, so make sure you are taking care of yourself. Keep taking prenatal vitamins, get ample calcium, and drink at least 64 ounces of water a day while nursing. Also, you’ll need an extra 300-400 calories per day. Take time to relax as well because stress can affect your milk supply.
- Breastfeeding can be quite convenient. No frantic runs to the store when you discover your last can of formula is empty! No dragging yourself to the kitchen in the middle of the night to make a bottle. Less “stuff” in the diaper bag. Breast milk is always readily available and delivered warm!
- Breast milk and formula IS an option. Combo feeding is always an option. You have to find what works best for you and your family.
- Many women pump for all sorts of reasons. First, some women pump either to encourage their milk supply or to relieve engorgement. If baby has a good night’s sleep and you wake up full of milk, you may as well bottle it for future use! Second, there are the occasional pumpers. Fill a bottle, and Dad can do that midnight feed, or you can have a baby-free date. For this, you may need only a single manual pump. Finally, working moms who take a few short breaks throughout the day to pump, which is taken home and put in the fridge. If you intend to nurse and return to work, discuss your intentions with your boss to make sure you will have a private space to pump.
- Eventually, it will be over. Sometimes a baby loses interest; other times Mom burns out first. Get someone else involved in feeding to ease the transition to bottle or cup.
- We’re all different. Do your best. Move on.
We highly encourage you to take a breastfeeding class through our OBGYN, if one is offered. If not, the Stephenson County Health Department has great resources as well!
You can find reputable resources online as well.
Be on the lookout for FPC to also begin breastfeeding classes in the near future!
*This article was adapted from Parents Magazine*