Benefits of Breastfeeding

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Babies deserve the very best. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of life and that breastfeeding continue for at least 12 months and thereafter for as long as mother and baby mutually desire.

Human milk and formula are different. Human milk provides all of the protein, sugar, fats and vitamins your baby needs to be healthy. It also helps to protect your baby against certain diseases and infections. Because of the protective substances in human milk, breastfed children are less likely to have the following:

• Ear infections
• Allergies
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea
• Pneumonia, wheezing and bronchiolitis
• Meningitis

Breastfeeding may help to protect against Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Some studies suggest that children who were breastfed score higher on IQ
tests and have better visual acuity. Even premature infants can benefit from breast milk. Preemies who are fed their mothers’ milk may require shorter hospital stays and have fewer infections.

The primary benefit of breast milk is nutritional since it contains just the right amount of fatty acids, lactose, water and amino acids for digestion, brain development and growth. Infant formula from a bottle cannot compete with these benefits. Human milk is also free of contamination by polluted water
or dirty bottles.

Breastfeeding is also beneficial for mothers. Not only are there no bottles to sterilize and no formula to buy, it may be easier for you to lose the pounds of pregnancy quicker since nursing burns extra calories. Breastfeeding also stimulates the uterus to contract which results in reducing the incidence of postpartum hemorrhage and the uterus returns to its normal size sooner.

While lactation is usually a natural result of pregnancy, breastfeeding is not always easy. Listed below are tips on how to make breastfeeding a success:

  • Get an early start. Nursing should begin within the first two hours after delivery while the baby remains skin-to-skin. The first feeding should occur when your baby is awake, actively sucking and looking for food.
  • Rooming In. Your baby's feeding cues are more easily recognized when your baby is in your hospital room with you.
  • Nurse on demand. Newborns need to nurse frequently. This will stimulate the mother’s breasts to produce milk. Since breast milk is more easily digested than formula breast-fed babies eat more frequently than formula fed babies.
  • No supplements. Nursing babies don’t need formula supplements. These interfere with their appetite for nursing, which can lead to a diminished milk supply.
  • Delay artificial nipples and pacifiers. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that artificial nipple and pacifier use be delayed until the first three to four weeks of life for breastfeeding infants. This allows newborns to learn breastfeeding techniques and assists mothers with learning their infants feeding cues. Once
  • breastfeeding is well established, evidence shows that pacifier use during sleep may reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Air dry. Mom should express colostrum onto her nipples and allow them to air dry after each feeding. This will help prevent nipple soreness. • Days 3-5. Expect your milk supply to increase. Your breast will feel full and become soft again after nursing. Frequent feedings will assist in keeping your breast comfortable until your supply adjusts to your baby’s intake.
  • Eat healthy and rest. Mothers need to consume a well-balanced diet and stay hydrated with 6-8 glasses of fluid every day. An afternoon nap will assist with fatigue and nighttime feedings.

For more information about breast feeding or to sign up for breastfeeding classes or support groups, call 828.315.3041.

Find Us

Frye Regional Birthing Center
420 N Center St
Hickory, NC 28601
Phone: 828.315.2272

Hours of Operation: 24 Hours