Scientific studies have proven that breastfeeding is the best way to go. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends the practice of breastfeeding at least during the baby’s first year. Indeed, it brings a lot of benefits not just for infants but for lactating mothers as well. Nevertheless, first time moms may have some hesitations about it. This could be due to unfounded beliefs or the lack of proper knowledge about the process.
Are you expecting a baby? If yes, this post tackles tips to make sure that your breastfeeding experience will be easier. But first, let’s discuss the many benefits of breastfeeding. Being aware of these advantages can be a great source of motivation for you.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Babies
Unbeatable nutrition: Breast milk contains all the necessary vitamins, enzymes, and antibodies that an infant needs to be stronger and healthier especially on the first two years. Clinical researches show that babies who were breastfed have stronger immune systems and are more energetic than infants who were given formula milk. The risk of acquiring allergies, diarrhea, respiratory diseases, diabetes, obesity and other chronic illnesses is also significantly reduced among breastfed babies.
Smart babies: Breastfeeding has also been associated to intelligence and brain power. Surveys conducted reveal that a big percentage of people with high to excellent IQ scores have been breastfed in their infant years.
High EQ: Aside from impressive IQ scores, breastfed babies also tend to have higher EQs (emotional quotient) than others who were not. Apparently, that unique bond between a mother and child is greatly nurtured during the process of breastfeeding. A mother’s touch, warmth, eye contact, embrace, and voice as she feeds her baby is crucial to the emotional stability and development of a child.
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mothers
Moms become healthy too. Babies are not the only ones who earn the health benefits of breastfeeding. This proves to be true even for mothers. For instance, breastfeeding promotes the production of oxytocin, an amino acid enzyme that stimulates uterine contraction, helps to heal wounds faster, leading to quick recovery.
And did you know that nursing moms are less likely to develop certain types of cancer such as breast, uterine and ovarian cancer. Doctors have found that one reason why breastfeeding may prevent cancer in women is that estrogen levels are lower during the lactation period. The less estrogen there is, the less the risk of the tissues developing cancer cells.
Aid family planning: Moms who breastfed can avoid premature pregnancy. This is because breastfeeding delays ovulation and thus, the longer a mother breastfeeds, the safer she can be from having an unplanned pregnancy. Sufficient birth spacing is crucial to good health and safe conception.
Save money: Obviously, breast milk is far more economical than formula milk. Moms can literally save thousands of dollars each year through breastfeeding. And because babies are healthier and have strong immune systems, there are fewer trips to the hospital. Save thousands of dollars more on doctor’s fees and medication by feeding your child the healthier way.
Avoid postpartum depression: Breastfeeding is also a natural way to prevent experiencing postpartum depression – a condition where in a mother might feel anxious, sad or distressed after giving birth. This is because the production of oxytocin- an enzyme known to prevent anxiety and depression, is greatly increased during the period of lactation.
Lose weight faster: Most women gain a lot of weight during pregnancy. Excess pounds might be difficult to shed immediately after giving birth but it has been found that breastfeeding tremendously helps in eliminating unwanted fat and restoring original weight at a faster pace.
Tips to Successful Breastfeeding
Nursing your baby can also be an exciting and fulfilling experience especially if it’s your first time. Consider the following suggestions on how you can make the process smooth and enjoyable.
Don’t delay: Immediately after birth, your doctor will place your baby close to your chest. It is very important for your newborn to be nourished with your first milk to ingest colostrum – a fluid that contains proteins, vitamins and antibodies.
A baby recognizes the mother’s scent instantly and would want to feed. Just relax and gently hold your baby’s mouth closer to your nipple. Your baby’s instinct will be his or her guide and your little one would know how to suckle.
For mom’s who went through a Caesarean delivery, the father may assist to hold the baby while the mom cradles the little one in her arms to avoid putting pressure on the incision.
Be patient: At first, breastfeeding may hurt so a mom needs to be very patient for a while until she gets used to nursing. Keeping in mind all the possible benefits that nursing can bring for both you and your baby should be enough motivation not to give up.
Breastfeed often: Infants need to feed often during its first weeks. If your breasts are not producing sufficient milk or not producing any milk at all, don’t give up. As your baby suckles, the repeated motion will stimulate milk production. In some moms, milk production can take some time but rest assured that milk will soon flow if you let your baby do the job.
Feed from both breasts: After feeding your baby on one breast, let your little one burp and then offer the other breast. On the next feeding time, offer the breast where the baby finished the last time.
Draw out carefully: If you want to switch to the other breast, break up the suction very gently. Let your pinkie finger slide between your breast and your baby’s gums. You should hear a soft pop and that’s your hint that it’s okay to take your nipple off from your baby’s mouth.
Talk to other moms: Share your experience with other moms and you will surely get the support you need, in case you might have some hesitations.
Make breastfeeding time bonding time. Enjoy these precious moments. Caress your baby while breastfeeding. Talk to your little one. Lovingly gaze at his/her bright little eyes. Make your baby feel how precious the little bundle is.