Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is a feeding method that fosters bonding between mother and infant. Breastfeeding has many benefits to the newborn that continue even into adulthood.

Benefits of breastfeeding for Mom and Baby

  • Helps decrease the incidence of common childhood diseases and infections, such as ear infections and respiratory syncytial virus(RSV)
  • May enhance mental development
  • Fewer developments of allergies
  • Enhances jaw development
  • Decreases risk of postpartum hemorrhage
  • Decreases risk of breast cancer
  • Promotes mother's return to pre-pregnancy weight
  • Delays fertility
  • Saves money
  • Promotes bonding between Mom and Baby
  • Reinforces Mother's caregiving role
  • Naturally induces contraction of the uterus that returns it to pre-pregnancy size
  • Reduces risk of hemorrhage

Cons to formula

  • Expensive
  • Lack of antibodies can lead to illnesses/infections
  • Time consuming, e.g., preparation and sterilization of bottles
  • Is inferior nutrition
  • Increased risk for Baby of many health problems later in life including obesity and diabetes
  • Greater risk of contamination

Breastfeeding basics

Positioning is important because it encourages an accurate latch-on, and ensures comfort for both mother and baby. Skin to skin contact also facilitates proper feeding. Positions include football or clutch hold, cradle, across-the-lap, and side-lying.

To promote a proper latch-on, brush the infant's cheek to encourage a wide-open mouth. The infant's mouth should cover the majority of the areola of the breast.

Initial feeding may be quite often; mothers should become aware of their infants pattern.

Breastfeeding requires patience, persistence, and support.

Resources

  • Lactation Consultants are certified specialists, usually nurses, who promote its benefits, provide breastfeeding education, conduct support groups, provide one-to-one visits, and encourage and support the mother through problems such as engorgement and latch-on issues.
  • La Leche League an international organization with an aim to promote breastfeeding and provide education. With 3000 local groups, La Leche League provides support, education, and shares their experiences.
  • breastfeeding.com facts, books, pumps, and clothing

www.breastfeeding.com, www.lalecheleague.org, Lowdermilk D.L., Perry S.E. (2004). Maternity & Women's Health Care, St. Louis: Mosby.

Published Monday, December 14, 2009 - 17:46; Last updated Monday, February 11, 2013 - 06:50