“Breast is best” is the most popular saying in the BF community. Whether it comes from medical professionals or other commoners breast feeding is the best bet for your baby. Your baby needs skin on skin contact to help with bonding and gaining a sense of security. When babies are born they look for their mothers breast as it mimics the same faint smell of the amniotic fluid. They look for security and warmth and they can receive all of their needs while breastfeeding. There are benefits for both mom and baby which include decreased risk of infection and sickness for babies and a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancer for mom.
Immediately after child birth, mothers will produce colostrum which is the first milk . This milk contains antibodies and a small laxative like effect that will help baby pass meconium and excessive bilirubin. This milk helps with babies early days of life and prepares their digestive tract for the “real” breast milk. The more frequently baby nurses the more milk mom will provide.
BENEFITS FOR BABY
Breastfeeding benefits the baby because it has all the ideal nutrients they need. Breast milk is able to adjust and nourish the baby while they grow. While a baby is latched on to the breast the touch of their skin can alert mom of any temperature fluctuation and help change moms body temperature to adjust the baby’s needs. In addition breast milk can also send extra antibodies and help fight any cold or infection baby might have just by touch. Breastmilk is filled with a mixture of essential vitamins, proteins, and fats to help baby grow big and strong. When babies are born they have very sensitive digestive organs which may make it difficult for baby to digest milk. Breast milk is easily digested and aids in expulsion of unwanted things in the body.
Although breastfeeding is considered best for your little one, there may be some things you’d want to consider. If you are HIV positive you shouldn’t breast feed because it could be pass through the milk. Other illnesses and conditions that could prevent a mother from breast feeding include but are not limited to active/untreated TB, using any drugs such as cocaine and marijuana, baby has galactosemia ,are taking prescription medication , or receiving chemotherapy. If mothers have cold or flu like symptoms it is okay to breastfeed.
Sore Nipples – women may have sore nipples the first couple of weeks while adjusting to breastfeeding. It is important that the baby is able to latch on correct to prevent any further discomforts or inability to empty breast properly. Air drying is recommended to avoid any further cracking or bleeding of the nipples.
Latching- it is important the baby latches on to their mother correctly if not it can interfere with milk supply and the amount of milk they’re taking in. If the baby latches on to just the nipple it is incorrect. Women who are struggling with a correct latch or have inverted nipples you should seek the help of a Certified Breastfeeding educator.
Milk Supply- It is very common for women to doubt their milk making abilities. Whether its because there little one takes less Time on the breast than they use to or if its their pumping out put. A good indication that your child is receiving the amount they need would be having 6-8 wet diapers a day. If signs of dehydration occur it is urgent that your child seek medical attention. Be on the look out for hunger cues such as , baby placing hand in mouth and smacking of the lips. Crying is said to be a late sign of hunger. The more the baby nurses the better your milk supply will be.
Pumping- many people are unaware that pumping is a form of breastfeeding. You are still providing breast milk to your baby but in a different way. There are two ways to receive milk, hand expression and pumping from a machine or hand pump. A woman who is exclusively pumping should do it every 1 to 3 hours a day or 8-12 times a day. When storing breast milk don to over heat as it can rid of the vital nutrients. Premature babies or babies with medical issues may not be able to breastfeed right away and this can cause a dip in the mothers milk supply. Pumping can be a way to help maintain and nourish the baby through breastmilk.
Engorgement/ Blocked ducts/ Mastitis- When breasts appear full or hard and experience any pain you could have an engorged breast. This happens when blood vessels in the breast become congested and traps fluid. Usually when you notice one specific hot or red spot on the breast it may be a blocked duct. The best way to receive the pain and blocked vessels would be to apply warm or cold compress and continue nursing . Medical care isn’t usually needed unless Mastitis is the issue. Mastitis is a breast infection , it is commonly entered through cracked or dry nipples. The mother usually receives flu like symptoms and will need to seek medical attention and the possibility of obtaining antibiotics. Moist heat applied 4 times a day for about 15-20 min at a time will usually help alleviate discomfort.
Stress- When mothers are overwhelmed or stressed out it may affect bonding experience with baby and create a decrease in their milk supply. It is best to find some time for the mother to relax and unwind so that issues like those don’t arise. Being anxious or stressed can interfere with the let down reflex making it more difficult to breastfeed. The let down reflex is triggered by hormones thus making it important to try and have a more relaxed mood if possible.
Breastfeeding helps decrease the risk of asthma, allergies, infections, and respiratory illnesses. Studies have shown that the risk of S.I.D.S was drastically decreased on children who’s mothers breast fed them, according to AAP . While breast feeding helps reduce the risk oh health issues, studies showed that breast fed children were linked to a higher IQ. While babies have the most benefit to breastfeeding , mothers have some benefit as well. Aside from the beauty of bonding with your child during this precious time , breastfeeding. mothers have a lower risk of acquiring ovarian and breast cancer, diabetes, and osteoporosis. In addition to that breastfeeding also burns more calories making it easier to lose the baby weight. Finally , while breastfeeding your uterus contracts and oxytocin is related, because of this your uterus shrinks back to normal even quicker.
20 Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom and Baby Carole Anderson Lucia
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