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Crow Wing Energized: Breastfeeding is important

The longer a mother breast feeds her infants the greater the benefits to her and the infant.

Three babies crawl
The joyful bonding experience of breastfeeding between a mother and child is one of the greatest experiences of all.
Contributed / Metro Newspaper Service
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Providing breast milk to your baby is one of the best ways to make them healthy.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends all infants be breastfed exclusively for the first six months of their life and continue to be breastfed for a year or more. The longer a mother breast feeds her infants the greater the benefits to her and the infant.

Some of the benefits of breastfeeding your baby:

  • A lower rate of SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome),
  • Lower respiratory, ear infections.  

Breast milk is free and has all the nutrients in it that your baby needs to grow.
There are also several benefits for mothers who breastfeed, including reduced chances of female cancers, cardiovascular and heart diseases.

The joyful bonding experience of breastfeeding between a mother and child is one of the greatest experiences of all. It is difficult to explain this bond, but truly felt by those in that moment. As a mother of four, I enjoyed each one of those moments knowing I was the only one who could feed them and provide them with the best nutrition tailored to their exact needs.

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Breastfeeding is not without challenges for some mothers in the first few days or even weeks of an infant's life. One of the best ways you can prepare for your breastfeeding experience is to attend a breastfeeding class. Essentia Health offers this class one Tuesday a month for free. You can register for this class on their website: https://www.essentiahealth.org/classes-events .

The class gives future parents education on what to expect, how to feed and when to feed their baby. In addition to attending a class, reading any books or handouts that you receive from your doctor’s office on breastfeeding can help.

If a mother is unable to receive any education before the baby's arrival, the delivery staff will be able to provide hands-on learning and education to make her feel comfortable nursing her infant before she goes home. Having a good support system in place with her partner, family and friends can improve her success at meeting her breastfeeding goals.

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There are several resources available for a mother if she is having any difficulties or questions about breastfeeding her infant at home. We would encourage her to make an appointment with a lactation specialist at the clinic or community Women Infants and Children program to assist with any issues she may encounter.

This appointment would be beneficial for any mother that is breastfeeding an infant for the first time even if she isn’t having any issues as it would help to ease any of the worry that may come with breastfeeding or ensuring the infant is getting enough to eat.

There is also a local Infant Feeding support line at 855-710-BABY (2229) that can be called at any time to talk with a lactation specialist. Some issues can be answered over the phone or reassurance provided from the comfort of your own home.

The reality is that almost all women can successfully breastfeed to their desired goal if they want to. There are very few who are unable to and that is why seeking help sooner improves a mother’s chances of success. Breastfeeding provides lifelong health benefits for the mother and child.

While breastfeeding may not seem the right choice for every parent, it is the best choice for every baby.

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