The Benefits of Breastfeeding, for Mom and Baby- Do You know them?

 

 

There is nothing more beautiful to me than a mother and her baby especially while breastfeeding.  Breastfeeding is the best start you can give your little one. It is beneficial for both you and your baby! 

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During the first couple days after your baby is born, your breasts will be producing colostrum which is incredibly important for your newborn.

 

4 reasons why it's important for your baby to get colostrum. 

When a baby is born the lining of their stomach and intestines are permeable,  that means it has microscopic holes where foreign particles can get through.  

  1. Colostrum acts like a sealant for those holes and creates a protective barrier from foreign particles.  
  2. Colostrum acts like a first line of defense from bacteria and viruses, in other words it protects your little one from getting sick because it's loaded with leukocytes (protective white blood cells).  
  3. Colostrum is also loaded with antibodies from you and these anti-bodies act as an immune booster for your baby.  It protects the baby's throat, lungs, and intestines from bacteria and virus your baby may be exposed to from grandma,  grandpa and all your other friends and relatives.  
  4. Colostrum is easy to digest for your baby, it's high in concentrated nutrients that are perfect for your new baby.  It helps your baby clean house, literally, it has a laxative affect which helps your newborn get rid of excess bilirubin and helps prevent jaundice.  Yea for pooping!

 

When does your milk come in?

Around the 3rd or 4th day Mature milk comes in.  You will probably notice your boobs look and feel really full and will probably start leaking. 

Wonder if your little one is getting enough milk? Check out my blog,  How Much Can A Newborn Really Drink? 

 

How often do I need to breastfeed?

Make sure to breastfeed your newborn 8 - 12 times in each 24 hour time frame.  About every 2 - 3 hours.  Start counting the second your baby latches on and then know you will be nursing in 2 hours. YES!!! You will feel like all you do is nurse!!!!  Your baby will give you clues to when he/she is hungry.  Your baby will turn his/her head to nurse, smack their lips, make sucking noises and/or put their hand up to their mouth and begin to suck.  

It's important to feed every 2 hours because your little one is counting on you for nutrition and it helps you establish a good milk supply.  Don't worry, this routine is not forever. The good news it that nature gives you and your baby a release of the feel good-love hormone, oxytocin which a lot of moms and babies really enjoy. Did you know that breastfeeding actually helps you de-stress and protects your baby from getting to stressed as well. Believe it or not, studies show that breastfeeding moms actually get more sleep! 

Check out my section on The Best Breastfeeding Videos and Baby Behavior 101

 

Be patient and get help if you have any pain while breastfeeding.

In the beginning you and your baby are learning how to breastfeed, so be patient. You and the baby will get the hang of it.  I always recommend that any mom I work with see a lactation consultant while they are still in the hospital after the baby is born.  They have a ton of tricks and it will help you get off on the right start. 

Almost all health care providers agree that breastfeeding is the best way to feed babies because of the health benefits to the baby and the mother.  The nutritional composition of breast milk is ideal for human infants and what is amazing is that as your baby grows and his/her nutritional needs change, your breast milk will adjust accordingly.   What is also cool is that whatever you eat, flavors your breast milk slightly so you are exposing your little one to different flavors, therefore expanding their taste pallet.  Which will come in handy once they start eating solids. 

For breastfeeding resources and help go to my resources page.

 

What are the benefits of breastfeeding for your baby?  

Here is a list by Dr. William Sears........  Breastfeeding Benefits from Top to Bottom

  • Brain. Higher IQ in breastfed children. Cholesterol and other types of fat in human milk support the growth of nerve tissue.
  • Eyes. Visual acuity is higher in babies fed human milk.
  • Ears. Breastfed babies get fewer ear infections.
  • Mouth. Less need for orthodontics in children breastfed more than a year. Improved muscle development of face from suckling at the breast. Subtle changes in the taste of human milk prepare babies to accept a variety of solid foods.
  • Throat. Children who are breastfed are less likely to require tonsillectomies.
  • Respiratory system. Evidence shows that breastfed babies have fewer and less severe upper respiratory infections, less wheezing, less pneumonia and less influenza.
  • Heart and circulatory system. Evidence suggests that breastfed children may have lower cholesterol as adults. Heart rates are lower in breastfed infants.
  • Digestive system. Less diarrhea, fewer gastrointestinal infections in babies who are breastfeeding. Six months or more of exclusive breastfeeding reduces risk of food allergies. Also, less risk of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis in adulthood.
  • Immune system. Breastfed babies respond better to vaccinations. Human milk helps to mature baby's own immune system. Breastfeeding decreases the risk of childhood cancer.
  • Endocrine system. Reduced risk of getting diabetes.
  • Kidneys. With less salt and less protein, human milk is easier on a baby's kidneys.
  • Appendix. Children with acute appendicitis are less likely to have been breastfed.
  • Urinary tract. Fewer infections in breastfed infants.
  • Joints and muscles. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is less common in children who were breastfed.
  • Skin. Less allergic eczema in breastfed infants.
  • Growth. Breastfed babies are leaner at one year of age and less likely to be obese later in life.
  • Bowels. Less constipation. Stools of breastfed babies have a less-offensive odor.

According to WIC, breastfeeding saves lives and here is how:

  • Lack of breastfeeding is a risk factor for sudden infant syndrome (SIDS).
  • Human milk protects premature infants from life-threatening gastrointestinal diseases.
  • Breastfed children have lower risk of dyeing before their first birthday. 

 

Breastfeeding has a ton of benefits for the mother too!

  • Breastfeeding helps the uterus shrink to it's pre-pregnancy state and will help reduce the amount of blood loss after delivery. 
  • Breastfeeding releases Oxytocin, the feel good- loving- bonding hormone.  
  • Breastfeeding releases Prolactin, the milk-making hormone, appears to produce a special calmness in mothers. Breastfeeding mothers have been shown to have a less intense response to adrenaline (Altemus 1995).
  • Breast feeding burns a ton of calories so you might be able to get into your skinny jeans faster. ;-)
  • It is good for your pocket book.  Breastfeeding reduces healthcare costs and formula is expensive. 
  • Breastfeeding reduces the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of osteoporosis.  
  • Breastfeeding is a well documented contraceptive method. It is called the the lactational amenorrhea method (LAM), with 98 to 99 percent prevention of pregnancy in the first six months. 
  • Breastfeeding mothers usually resume their menstrual cycle 20-30 weeks later than mothers who do not breastfeed.  

 

Breastfeeding is economical. 

  • Breastfeeding reduces healthcare costs.
  • Infant formula has increased in price by 150% since the 1980's. 
  • Breastfeeding reduces the burden on landfills.

 

QUESTION: Did you find this article helpful or interesting.  If so, why?  Please share with us in the comment section. I would love to hear your thoughts. 

If you find this information useful please feel free to share it with your friends and loved ones.  


Resources: 

California WIC Program: Benefits of Breastfeeding handout

La Leche League International: A Well Kept Secret: Breastfeeding's Benifits to Mothers  

Newman J, M.D. and Pitman T.  The Ultimate Breastfeeding Book of Answers, Published by Three Rivers Press. NY 2006