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BREASTFEEDING

Breastfeeding

We help new mothers understand breastfeeding to eliminate concerns and reduce unnecessary worry. New mothers often contemplate whether to breastfeed or bottle feed their new-born baby.

The following reasons outline why breastfeeding is best for both baby and mother.

BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS FOR BABY

  1. In the first year of a baby’s development, breast milk changes with each stage. The natural adaptation of breast milk triggers nutritional adjustments that produce the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals needed for the baby’s growth and development.
  2. Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from certain illnesses. The longer a baby breastfeeds, the greater the health benefits. Breastfeeding is beneficial for up to one year.
  3. It has been observed that breastfed infants have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  4. Breast milk is easier for a baby to digest than formula.
  5. Breast milk can help reduce the risk of many of the long-term and short-term health problems that premature babies may face.

BREASTFEEDING BENEFITS FOR MOTHER

  1. When the baby nurses it stimulates the release of a hormone called oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract. Contracting helps the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and may decrease the amount of bleeding experienced after birth.
  2. Breastfeeding may assist the mother lose the weight gained during pregnancy.
  3. Breastfeeding may help reduce the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

GETTING STARTED BREASTFEEDING

From the very beginning of a baby’s life, mothers should perform skin-to-skin care immediately after delivery and throughout the first week of life. Holding the baby directly against the bare skin right after birth triggers reflexes that help the baby “latch on” to the mother’s breast.

  1. Cup the breast in the hand, stroke the baby’s lower lip with the nipple.
  2. Express a small amount of liquid onto the baby’s lip to stimulate more interest.
  3. When the baby opens his or her mouth wide, the mother pulls the baby close.
  4. Hold the baby to breast not breast to baby.
  5. Aim the nipple toward the roof of the baby’s mouth.

Breastfeeding should not be painful, with a proper latch. If the mother experiences pain with the baby’s latch, break the suction with a light finger in the corner the baby’s mouth and allow the baby to reattempt the latch.

BREASTFEEDING TIMELINE

Most babies will feed at least 8-12 times in 24 hours and at least every 2-3 hours. They may breastfeed for at least 10-15 minutes on each breast and sometimes they will nurse longer. If a mother chooses to feed exclusively from one breast one time, alternate to the other breast on the next feeding.

Mothers often wonder what the signs are when a baby is hungry and ready to breastfeed. A few signs include:

  1. The baby may become alert.
  2. The baby may bend their arms.
  3. Frequently the baby will bring their finger or fists to their mouths.

It is best to offer the breast when the baby looks alert or calm instead of waiting until they are crying. Crying is a late sign of hunger and babies become more frantic and have a harder time latching on when they are distressed. Once a baby is full, they will relax their arms and legs in contentment and may close their eyes.

If you have problems with breastfeeding, contact the lactation consultant where you delivered or your Rosemark provider.

NUTRITION DURING BREASTFEEDING

Mothers need extra calories and fluids each day so they can produce enough breast milk for their baby. Consume approximately 2,500 total calories a day while breastfeeding. Rosemark providers may recommend that continual use of a prenatal multivitamin supplement while breastfeeding.