One of the first decisions you will make as an expectant parent will be choosing whether to breastfeed or formula feed your baby. The decision to breastfeed or formula feed is often based on a new mother’s comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical considerations that she might have.
One of the best-kept secrets about breastfeeding is that it’s as healthy for mothers as for babies! Most people are aware of the benefits of breastfeeding for babies, but many overlook, or are unaware of the benefits to the mother. Research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers. From the effect of oxytocin on the uterus to the warm emotional gains, breastfeeding gives a mother many reasons to be pleased with her choice. Breastfeeding is more than a lifestyle choice — it’s an important health choice. Any amount of time that you can do it will help both you and your baby.
The benefits of breastfeeding are numerous. Breast milk provides perfect nutrition and is easy for babies digest, contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections, and also aids the development of the infant’s own immune system. Breast feeding is cost effective and environmentally friendly!
Although mother’s milk is the best nutritional source for babies, breastfeeding can be challenging. Oftentimes, both mother and baby need plenty of patience and persistence to get used to the routine of breastfeeding. But all the effort is often worth it in the long run — for both the mother and her baby.
As a lactation counselor I provide breastfeeding information, encouragement, and reassurance that all is well and offer help that may be necessary to address a particular problem or difficulty that may arise. Some of the common concerns for new mothers in the first few weeks or months may include; poor or painful latch, positioning, sore nipples and other nipple issues, engorgement or plugged ducts or any kind of breast pain while nursing, baby’s refusal to latch on, milk supply concerns, concerns that baby is not getting enough milk or low weight gain, and breastfeeding multiples to name a few.
A consultation usually includes birth and breastfeeding history, observation of the breastfeeding pair, assessment of the feeding situation, development of a plan of care and follow up contact as needed.