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Health Check: Why Breastfeeding is Simpler Than You Think

Have you noticed more women breastfeeding their babies over the last few years? Yes, we have too, and we’re really happy about it.  Since 2011, breastfeeding rates have been on the rise in the U.S, reflecting a growing recognition of the value of mother’s milk.

Why breastfeed? Breast milk is best for your baby. Some of the benefits include:

  • Breastfed babies are often healthier. Breast milk is filled with vitamins and nutrients your baby needs to boost his/her immune system. It also improves your baby’s brain development.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to get infections and to develop asthma, some cancers, diabetes and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
  • Breastfeeding helps with your own weight loss and helps your body recover faster from pregnancy and labor. Breastfeeding can burn 300 to 500 calories a day!
  • Breastfeeding saves time and money. Unlike formula, breast milk is always the right temperature, no bottle is needed, and it’s FREE!
  • Breastfeeding helps you bond with your baby.

Getting Started
Breastfeeding is a skill; it may take some practice and determination.

  • Breastfeeding can start as soon as the baby is born. Placing the baby’s skin with your skin within the first hour of delivery is a great way to kick off breastfeeding.
  • Always wash your hands before breastfeeding. Don’t get discouraged about how little milk you are producing in the first few days. A newborn baby’s stomach is only the size of a marble!
  • Using a breast pump can help stimulate even more milk, which you can then store and give to the baby at a later time. Breast milk can be kept frozen for four to six months. Thaw it at room temperature or in the fridge, but never in a microwave.
  • Breastfeed when your baby is hungry; don’t try to stick to a schedule. Your baby knows when he or she is hungry.
  • Keeping track of the number of wet diapers can reassure you that your baby is getting enough milk.
  • Nursing should not hurt. Pain is a sign that your baby has not latched on properly. If the pain continues after one minute into feeding, break the suction by placing your pinky finger gently in the corner of the baby’s mouth and re-latch baby.
  • Always bring the baby to the breast, never the breast to the baby.
  • When in doubt ask for help! Speak to a nurse or lactation consultant. You are not alone!

For more information on breastfeeding, contact Tiana Turner healtheducation@montefiore.org.

Source:  Montefiore Health System’s Office of Community and Population Health

 

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