August 1 – 7, 2012 is World Breastfeeding Week, so let’s talk breastfeeding!
It is amazing in this modern day how many people are still misinformed about breastfeeding. It is unfortunate that formula companies advertise so prevalently in hospitals, doctors offices, and all over the internet where they offer new moms free samples. This can interfere with getting the breastfeeding relationship between mother and baby off to a good start, especially if the mother is experiencing breastfeeding difficulties and doesn’t get appropriate support when she needs it. I believe having an appropriate support network is extremely important. In my own experience, I had the support of my family including my mother who breastfed me until age 3, and I had the phone numbers on hand of 2 local La Leche League leaders and a highly recommended lactation consultant. I also had the mentality that I WILL breastfeed (as opposed to I WANT to breastfeed).
I had some breastfeeding difficulties with my first baby, as I imagine most new moms would. I settled for a poor latch which led to cracked and sore nipples, and I got outside help several times during the first 2 months of my daughter’s life. With my second child, I had the experience and knew what to do and haven’t had any problems.
If I meet someone who says they WANT to breastfeed (instead of believing that they WILL breastfeed), then I think it is extra important that they find a support network. Some women don’t have any friends or family members who have ever breastfed. If they are going to be the first one in their family to successfully breastfeed, they will need to find support outside of their circle of friends or family. In those cases I think one of the best things you can do, preferably before baby is born, is to join a local breastfeeding support group such as La Leche League. It is a wonderful way to meet other breastfeeding mothers who will support you and not offer judgement. I have met mothers at these meetings who have experienced the entire range of breastfeeding challenges. It’s nice knowing that if you have a certain issue, you will very likely meet someone else who has had the same issue and can share their experience with you. And the leaders are an amazing source of information and assistance who you can call at any time if you need help.
Here are some wonderful breastfeeding facts that I found at http://www.publichealthgreybruce.on.ca/family/breastfeeding/WhyBreastfeed.htm
Why Breastfeed Your Baby?
Breastfeeding is a lifestyle– and a way of feeding your baby. Breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and mother. Health Canada recommends that your baby does not need anything but breastmilk for at least the first six months of life. Breastfeeding can continue until your baby is 12 months old and beyond.
Breastfeeding: Best for Baby – Best for You
For the baby and growing child, breast milk:
● provides the best possible infant food.
● contains all of the nutrients and energy your baby needs, and changes to meet your baby’s growing needs.
● is easy for baby to digest.
● promotes proper development of the jaw, teeth and facial structure.
● encourages a normal weight gain for baby which protects against future obesity.
● protects against chronic health problems such as allergies, sudden infant death syndrome, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, celiac disease, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and dental cavities.
● protects against infection because living substances in breastmilk prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and viruses in baby’s digestive system.
● prevents babies from being sick and makes their illnesses less severe. Breastfed babies have fewer respiratory illnesses and less diarrhea and constipation.
● contains everything needed to help the development of baby’s brain.
● enhances attachment between mother and baby by providing lots of direct skin contact between mother and baby. You cannot spoil your baby, so this physical contact helps to build a secure, loving relationship.
For the mother, breastfeeding:
● causes less postpartum bleeding and less chance of anemia.
● uses up extra calories, allowing most mothers to lose weight gradually without dieting.
● protects a mother from health problems such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer, urinary tract infections, and osteoporosis.
● can continue when mothers return to work or school.
● saves a great deal of time, effort, and money. Breast milk is always safe, fresh, and exactly the right temperature. Breast milk is always with you, making breastfeeding convenient – especially in emergencies.
● produces naturally-soothing hormones which increase calmness, self-esteem, and confidence.
For the family and community, breastfeeding:
● reduces costs to families – breastfeeding is free and readily available. In comparison, breast-milk substitutes (formula) cost $2000 – $3000 per child per year.
● protects the environment as breastfeeding is free from unnecessary packaging and waste.
● improves the health and well-being of our community.
● decreases health care costs as breastfed babies have fewer physician and hospital
● improves productivity and reduces time away from work for parents because their breastfed children are healthier.
Other useful breastfeeding information can be found online at:
If you know of other helpful online resources, please share them by adding them in the comments!
Oh and by the way, Sweetheart Diapers & More is offering 15% off all of our breastfeeding products during World Breastfeeding Week! Check out the list of sale items on our home page.