Breastfeeding is a beautiful gift you will share with your baby from birth and for as long as you wish. Women’s bodies are designed to produce breastmilk to nourish our babies throughout the first year of life. The production of breastmilk will continue as long as the milk is removed from the breast. Although the production of breastmilk is innate and happens automatically (whether you choose to breastfeed or not) during the second trimester in pregnancy; latching your baby on without any pain and getting comfortable with holding your baby in an appropriate position, is a learned behavior which you will be able to master with lots of practice and the right kind of support from family, friends and professionals. It is normal to have questions and concerns in the early postpartum days, so the more you learn before your baby is born, the easier and more naturally breastfeeding will be once your baby arrives. Please read the information below to get a general idea of how breastfeeding works and feel free to message me with any additional questions. If you already had your baby and find yourself struggling with breastfeeding, please contact me for a consultation or to schedule a home visit.
I am an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and will be honored to support you and assist you through this precious, yet not always easy, stage of motherhood.
Why is Breastfeeding Important? Breastfeeding Protects Babies!
Colostrum is liquid gold
Known as liquid gold, colostrum is the thick yellow first milk that you make during pregnancy and just after birth. This milk is very rich in nutrients and antibodies to protect your baby. Although your baby only gets a small amount (drops) of colostrum at each feeding, it matches the amount your baby’s tiny stomach can hold.
Your breast milk changes as your baby grows
Colostrum changes into mature milk. By the third to fifth day after birth, this mature milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein to help your baby continue to grow. It is thinner than colostrum but it provides all of the nutrients and antibodies your baby needs.
Breast milk is easier to digest
For most babies (especially premature babies) breastmilk is easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk, and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them.
Breast milk fights disease
The cells, hormones, and antibodies in breastmilk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique; formula cannot match the chemical makeup of human breast milk. In fact, among formula fed babies, ear infections and diarrhea are more common. Formula fed babies also have higher risks of:
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Necrotizing enterocolitis, a disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract in preterm babies.
- Lower respiratory infections
- Asthma and allergies
Mother benefit form breastfeeding too!
Breastfeeding makes your life easier
It might take a little more effort and time than formula feeding at first. But breastfeeding can make life easier once you and your baby settle into a good routine. When you breastfeed there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. You don’t have to buy, measure, and mix formula and there are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night or when you go out.
Breastfeeding saves money
Formula feeding supplies can cost well over $1,500 each year, depending on how much baby eats. Breastfed babies are also sick less often, which can lower health care costs.
Breastfeeding can feel great
Physical contact is very important to newborns. It can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness as well. Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time to bond. The skin to skin contact boosts the mother’s oxytocin levels, which helps the milk flow and calms the mother.
Breastfeeding is good for the mother’s health
Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of these health problems in women:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Postpartum depression
Breastfeeding also may help reduce the risk of osteoporosis and helps the mother loss weight faster and easier after birth.
Nursing mothers miss less work
Breastfeeding mothers miss fewer day from work because their babies are sick less often.
Breastfeeding makes the world a better place!
Breastfeeding is good for the environment. There is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.
Research shows that if 90% of families breastfed exclusively for 6 months, nearly 1,000 deaths among infants could be prevented. A country such as the US would also save $13 billion per year! Medical care costs are lower for fully breastfed infants than for never-breastfed infants. Breastfed babies typically have fewer sick doctor’s visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.
For more general information on breastfeeding see Your Guide To Breastfeeding!
If you are in need of breastfeeding assistance, I am an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) and I am honored to assist you and support you in your breastfeeding journey. Click here to learn more.