Crow Wing Energized: Importance of breastfeeding
Providing breast milk to your baby is one of the best ways to make them healthy.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all infants be breastfed exclusively for the first 6 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 sudden infant death syndrome,
Lower respiratory infections,
Lower 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 that 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 that could feed them and provide them with the best nutrition tailored to their exact needs.
Breastfeeding is not without challenges for some mothers in the first few days or even weeks of 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 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.
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 WIC program — the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children — 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, of 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.
15 Things Nursing Mamas Need
Patience. Go easy on yourself – it won’t always be perfect, but what you’re doing is amazing and so worth it.
Prenatal vitamins. Continuing to take your Prenatal Vitamins while breastfeeding can help to make sure you're getting nutrients that you may be lacking from diet alone.*
Nursing pillow. Using a nursing pillow will help you properly position your baby and take some physical stress off your body when feeding.
Nursing bra. A nursing bra provides comfort, support and convenience.
Netflix. A newborn will usually nurse for 20-45 minutes (or longer) per feeding, so it’s the perfect time to catch up on some of your favorite shows.
Nursing pads. Prevent leaking through your tops by having nursing pads handy to absorb any milk leaks and unintentional let-down.
Water. Staying hydrated while breastfeeding is crucial, so it’s smart to up your daily water intake. Try a keeping reusable water bottle where you nurse to help you remember to drink it.
Support. The first few months of breastfeeding can be physically, mentally and emotionally challenging.
Lactation supplement. Our Postnatal Lactation Plus can help support healthy lactation and breast milk production.*
Nursing-friendly clothes. Comfy clothing will allow for easier access, especially when feeding on-the-go.
Nipple balm. Soothe and nourish nursing nipples with Organic Nipple Cream. (This product is designed for breastfeeding, so there’s no need to wipe off before nursing.)
Breast pain relief. Using hot or cold packs can help relieve some of the soreness associated with breastfeeding. You don’t need a fancy product — a simple warm wash cloth or ice pack will do the trick.
Nursing scarf. If you’ll be nursing in public, some moms like to have a nursing scarf for for more discreet feedings.
An app. Breastfeeding? There’s an app for that. Some of our favorites help you track feedings, locate public places to nurse, or even put you in instant contact with an expert. Check out latchME, Baby Breastfeeding Tracker or LactMed (just to name a few) and see what suits you best.
Help. Never be afraid to get help. Grab a trusted book for tips, stop by a breastfeeding support center like The Pump Station, or reach out to a lactation consultant who can help identify and solve any issues you may be having.