Infant Tips

Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is an incomparable experience that offers many health benefits, emotional rewards, and practical advantages when compared to formula feeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that breastfeeding for the first 12 months will provide your baby with the optimal source of nutrition, and offers the following good reasons to choose breastfeeding.

Benefits for Baby
  • A stronger immune system
  • Fewer ear infections
  • Better digestion (less vomiting, and diarrhea)
  • Decreased risk of pneumonia, urinary tract infections, and certain types of spinal meningitis
  • Less likelihood of hospitalization for respiratory infections
  • Reduced risk of childhood acute leukemia and lymphoma
  • Less likelihood of obesity in adolescence and adulthood
  • Lower vulnerability to both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.
  • Fewer allergies

Benefits for Mom
  • Faster and easier recovery from childbirth
  • Reduced risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Reduced risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and cardiovascular disease
  • Less work, especially at night (no bottles to prepare or warm)
  • Convenience (no need to pack up formula and feeding equipment for errands, visits, travel)

Practical Realities
  • Breastfeeding promotes mother-child bonding
  • Mother’s milk is just about “free”; formula is expensive; so breastfeeding is economical
  • A healthier child means fewer trips to the doctor--less worry, less hassle, lower medical costs
  • Breastfeeding is better for the environment—no product packaging that needs to be discarded

For more information visit:
http://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/baby/breastfeeding/Pages/default.aspx
http://www.llli.org/nb.html

Getting Started

Breastfeeding is nature’s way, but that that doesn’t necessarily mean that nursing comes naturally. There is a learning curve, and sometimes there are challenges, particularly at the beginning. That’s why new mothers, almost universally, have always relied on the guidance and support of other women as they begin the exciting adventure we call motherhood. As with any new adventure, it’s best to learn as much as you can, and equip yourself properly, before you start out.

Attend a Prenatal Breastfeeding Class

Most hospitals with a maternity department offer breastfeeding classes that will teach you the basics: how to position yourself and your baby comfortably, how to be certain your baby “latches on” properly, how to feel confident that your newborn is “getting enough.” You’ll learn how to avoid (or take care of) problems like sore nipples and clogged milk ducts, and—once your milk supply is established—how to express or pump breast milk, store it properly, and prepare bottles so you can let others (especially your husband or partner) feed the baby.

Line up Your Support System

New babies require almost constant attention, it will take some time to figure out your newborn’s unique set of cues, and for the first few weeks, you won’t be getting much uninterrupted sleep. Your body will be recovering from childbirth, and your emotions will be all over the place. You should be comfortable asking for support from those around you—husband, mother, sister, doctor, friends. Don’t be afraid to ask for information, advice, and help. Many new fathers feel they lack the nurturing skills that seem to come naturally to women. Encourage your baby’s Dad to be a true partner in parenting—he can change diapers, get up and bring the baby to you for night feedings, and even—once you’re ready to pump breast milk—give the baby a bottle. Accept the offers of friends and family members to help do some laundry, make you a meal, or help out with other household chores. Most important, be sure you have women around you have breastfed their own babies and are enthusiastic and supportive about your decision to breastfeed. They will be an invaluable source of inspiration, encouragement and practical advice. In addition, you may want to join a breastfeeding support group, new mothers group, or online community. Sharing your experiences during the early weeks with your new baby will help make this an even more joyful and rewarding time in your life.

Talk to a Lactation Consultant

Most maternity hospitals (and many pediatricians) have a lactation consultant on staff. Your obstetrician may also have a recommendation. If you have specific concerns about breastfeeding, you may want to talk to a lactation consultant ahead of time. Once your baby is born, you may find you have specific questions or need help to get the process going smoothly. A lactation consultant can offer very specific suggestions, one-on-one guidance, and invaluable expertise.

To find a board certified Lactation Consultant in your area visit: http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3432

Helpful Products
  • Nursing bra
  • Nursing tops
  • Breast pads
  • Lanolin cream
  • Nursing pillow
  • Comfortable chair or glider with ottoman
  • Nursing stool
  • Nipple shield
  • Quality breast pump and milk storage bags

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Dr. Greene

Dr. Greene is a practicing pediatrician, author, speaker, children’s health advocate, and father of four.

Dr. Levine

Dr. Alanna Levine is a New York based pediatrician and a mom of two children.