Benefits of Breast Feeding!
Breast feeding can save families as much as $100 per month in formula costs. Breast feeding can save families even more money by reducing medical costs for healthier mothers and healthier babies. Experts also agree that breast feeding holds many other benefits for both the mother and infant.
It’s true. Bottled milk does offer some advantages, such as extra sleep and more freedom to go out. However, the psychological benefits of breastfeeding far outweigh the psychological benefits of bottle feeding.
In addition to being more expensive, formula needs to be stored at the proper temperature, heated, measured and mixed. Many moms consider the preparation and storage advantages of breast milk reason alone to breast feed their infants.
As for the extra sleep, breast feeding moms quickly learn to sleep when the baby sleeps and then rouse themselves only lightly during the night.
A summary of some benefits of breast feeding for infants are:
- Fewer ear and respiratory infections.
- Potentially fewer allergies.
- Reduced incidences of cancer.
- Protection against SIDS–sudden infant death syndrome.
- Disease preventing immunities are passed from mother to child.
- Reduced incidence of blood infections and meningitis.
- Lower mortality rate for infants.
- Assures contact with mother.
- Fewer incidents of serious diarrhea.
- Reduced incidences of insulin-dependent diabetes.
- Acts as first brain food as it helps to set down the proper matrix for humans.
Benefits for mothers include:
- Fewer incidents of pre-menopausal ovarian and breast cancer.
- Sense of fulfillment.
- Eating more while potentially losing weight.
- Calming effect of nursing your infant and baby.
- Mothers and babies are more relaxed.
- Saving a family more than $400 over buying formula during the first year of life.
- Contraceptive effect (don’t rely on this).
- Increased sense of pride in giving of themselves to their baby.
- Less time missed from work because of improved health of baby.
Strong, early bonding of mother and child is another benefit breast feeding offers both mother and child. Babies need contact with mother to become properly socialized.
Advice for breast feeding mothers:
1. The more the baby breast feeds, the more milk your body will produce.
- breast feed early.
- breast feed often.
2. New babies breast feed about every two hours. However, they often breast feed for many reasons other than hunger. Therefore, allow the newborn to breast feed as often as he or she wishes.
- Be sure the baby is sucking effectively.
- Offer both breasts at each feeding.
3. If you must return to work, remember that baby can be breast fed part-time or you can express milk for full-time breast feeding.
No one can give better advice to a breast feeding mother, than a mother who has been there. Please click here to share your breast feeding experiences and advice with other breast feeding mothers.
Questions about breast feeding:
1. When should I wean my baby?
When you want to. In some societies, the baby is not weaned until the third or fourth year. Traditionally, however, babies are weaned in most societies by some time in the second year.
Of ten people wean at a milestone. Say when the baby cuts her first tooth or takes his first step.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast feeding for one year, although they say no harmful effects have been found from weaning after six months.
2. How should I wean?
Stop one or two feedings per day, every few days until baby is weaned.
It is important to substitute cuddling and other attention for breast feeding, though, so mother and child will not miss the bonding the breast feeding created.
3. What should I do if I need to breast feed in a public place?
The world loves a mother and her baby. If you are caught in a crowded situation with no really appropriate place to breast feed your baby, approach the person in charge. He/he will normally move mountains to accommodate you! For more information about breast feeding in public, click here.
4. I just had my first child and am breast feeding her. What makes my breasts so sore?
When done correctly breast feeding shouldn’t cause a lot of pain. Although the average woman will experience some initial tenderness when she first begins to breast feed, the tenderness should disappear after a week or two.
The three most common causes of breast tenderness are:
- Breasts that are too full of milk.
- Positioning the baby incorrectly.
- A child who is sucking improperly.
5. The hospital staff gave my baby many bottles in the hospital. They did not seem too interested in breast feeding for my baby. Now I’m having trouble getting him to breast feed. I thought it was natural for babies to breast feed. Why am I having problems?
Breast feeding is natural but may have to be learned, especially when your baby is given bottles in the hospital. The newborn who is first given a bottle has to configure his mouth differently and suck in an entirely different way than a newborn who breast fed from the beginning.
It’s possible your breast feeding experience would have been off to a smoother start if the hospital or birth center had encouraged breast feeding. However, your baby can certainly be switched from bottles to breast when you keep offering the breast, possibly exclusively until he prefers to breast feed. If you continue to have problems, seek help from a breast-feeding counselor or join a support group.
5. My husband and my mother can get my baby to take a bottle. Why won’t she take one from me?
Babies are more likely to accept a bottle from anyone other than mother. When you try, your baby can smell your breast milk and even the youngest baby knows Mom has something better to offer than a bottle.
6. I have read mothers and babies are supposed to bond more quickly with breast feeding. But I’m concerned that I don’t have enough warm, fuzzy feelings when my baby breast feeds. Is something wrong with me?
No. Everyone reacts differently. Some mothers are absolutely overwhelmed with love the first time they see or hold their baby. But most bonding and motherly feelings develop over time.
We will answer your questions about breast feeding your baby whenever possible. We would also love to share your answers to other mothers. Please click here to share your breast feeding answers with other breast feeding mothers.
If you think we are prejudiced for breast feeding your child, you are correct.
If you have not decided to breast feed your child, or need reinforcement for your decision, please consider the following:
Best for Baby’s Health.
Breast fed babies are healthier. Study after study shows breast milk contains a mother’s antibodies against infections. These are passed along to her child.
Studies also show that breast milk protects babies and reduces the incidence of gas, intestinal distress, allergies, and ear and respiratory infections.
Best for Baby’s Brain and Psychological Well-Being.
Breast milk appears to be a baby’s first brain food. Breast milk contains a long chain of fatty acids with a composition that is very much like brain tissue. Thus, you are laying down the exact matrix in your baby’s brain that is needed by human beings.
In addition, breast milk is exactly the right food psychologically for an infant. It insures contact with his/her mother, which the baby needs to become a social being.
Most mothers who successfully breast feed their babies say the time investment is worth it. The creation of a special sense of closeness with their infant makes it all worthwhile.
Best for Moms.
There is some evidence that breast feeding facilitates the mother’s postpartum recovery and lessens the risk of breast cancer.
Breast feeding mothers say it gives them a great sense of private fulfillment to actually devote themselves to their babies. Many even say it enhances their self-esteem and confidence.
In short, breast milk provides the most complete, easily digested, convenient, and economical source of nourishment and closeness for your baby while also offering innumerable benefits for the mother.
Directions for Breast Feeding Your Infant.
Most babies come into the world knowing how to breast feed. If you get them anywhere close, they root around, get attached, and suck away. Others need a little help
There are also mothers who need assurance they are “doing it right.” Usually this lack of confidence comes from hearing other mothers’ tales of failure and/or erroneous advice from well-meaning friends, relatives, and acquaintances plus the media’s misinformation.
1. To breast feed properly, your baby needs to open her mouth wide enough to take in the nipple and 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch of the colored area around the nipple.
2. Your free hand should be used to support your breast,keep it in the baby’s mouth, and keep it out of the baby’s nose. Use your fingers under the breast with your thumb on the top.
3. Hold the baby at your breast by positioning him on his side or tummy-to-tummy with his mouth at nipple level. During the first breast feedings, it is often helpful to remove clothing from mother and baby to be skin-to-
4. To help her get started, express the milk into her mouth. This encourages her to open wide, suck, and swallow.
5. As a general rule, you’ll breast feed your newborn eight to twelve times per day. breast feed your baby on demand, not by the clock. You don’t want to let your baby get overly hungry, as he does not feed as well if you do.
6. Sucking does not equal eating. Check to see if your baby, who is sucking away like mad, is actually swallowing. Babies usually do some non-nutritive sucking. Watch for this.
7. Newborns usually suck one to three times, then swallow. Thus a new born who is sucking 15 minutes per breast, but not swallowing, is not receiving enough to eat and may need to breast feed 20 to 25 minutes per breast to get enough to eat.
8. Be assured that you will produce enough milk. Breast milk contains chemicals call suppressor peptides. These chemicals automatically regulate how much breast milk is produced. Each time you take milk out, either by a breast feeding or pumping, your body will replace that milk and continue to do so as long as you breast feed.
1. To breast feed in public, wear clothing that allows easy access to your breasts with as little exposure as possible.
2. Don’t wait until your baby is frantic and bawling to breast feed. Crying babies attract attention to both of you.
3. Look at the eyes of people passing by and smile. This will draw attention away from your breasts. Looking at your baby will draw attention to your breasts.
4. Turn away from the public as much as possible. Use a blanket, magazine, or another person to screen you from view.
5. Turn your chair to the wall if necessary to breast feed your baby.
6. Practice at home, in front of a mirror. Once you realize how little people can really see, a flash of flesh if they are looking at just the right time, you will be more comfortable in public.
If you wish to breast feed your baby and work, you will almost always end up pumping milk at work.
After you pick out a pump you like and can afford, and there are many choices, you will also need the following equipment:
- Ample bottles, lids
- Extension cord
- Three prong adapter
- Hand pump for emergencies
- Dry erase marker for dating bottles
Certainly your job dictates your attire at work. And where you will be able to pump dictates how much privacy you will have to dress and undress.
However, you can solve most of your problems by wearing clothing that buttons in front. Two piece outfits that button in front are ideal.
Good breast feeding bras that are convenient to open while offering good support are a must. breast feeding pads that breathe and protect your clothes are necessary, too.
Proper Storage of Milk
Clean, clean, clean! Scrub hands before pumping. Wash all pump parts that come in contact with milk in warm, preferably hot, water after each use. Wash bottles and pump parts contacting milk in dishwasher once per day for sterilizing.
Refrigerate milk as soon as possible after pumping, even though, in a bind, it can be left at room temperature for up to six hours before it begins to break down.
Fresh milk can be stored in refrigerator for up to 72 hours.
Frozen milk can be kept for up to four months in a freezer that has a separate door from the refrigerator. Milk must be frozen within 24 hours of pumping.
Defrosted milk should be used immediately or refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Never refreeze milk.
Breast feed and pump frequently because your breasts respond to use to produce milk. The more you pump (or breast feed), the more milk you will produce.
If you need to supplement your breast milk with formula, consider diluting breast milk with formula rather than alternating the two.
Never add warm milk on top of frozen milk. Cool milk before adding fresh milk to frozen milk.
If your job/lifestyle requires travel while you are breast feeding, continue to pump as often as you can. If you can simulate your life at home, all the better. You will probably need to discard the milk unless you have a short trip and a way to freeze and store frozen milk.
Your milk production will probably decrease over the course of a two plus day trip. When you return, you will need to build your milk production up again. Travel and leaving your baby in general becomes easier after your baby is six months old and supplementing his/her diet with solid foods.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) now recommends breast milk as the preferred source of feeding for almost all babies for at least the first year of life.
In a new policy from a recent issue of the journal of the AAP, Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics cites that research indicates that breast feeding provides advantages unmatched by other feeding options and that human milk feeding ensures the best possible developmental and psychological development for infants.
Some of the suggested breast feeding practices include:
1. Breast feeding within the first hour of life or as soon as possible thereafter.
2. Rooming-in for newborns to facilitate breast feeding.
3. Unless medically indicated, no formula or water supplements.
4. Breast feeding on demand. Paying attention to hunger signs other than crying such as rooting, mouthing, increased alertness or activity.
5. Breast feeding exclusively for the first six months of life, then adding solid foods.
6. Expressing human milk for feeding when breast feeding is not possible.
Barry Sears, Ph.D.
Barry Sears, a pioneer in biotechnology, holds twelve patents for cancer treatments and dietary control of hormonal responses. In a book written with Bill Lawren entitled Enter the Zone, Dr. Sears writes, “It takes about six months after birth before the delta 6 desaturase enzyme reaches full activity. During this period the essential supplies of GLA (which the infant still can’t make effectively) comes only from mother’s breast milk. This explains why breast-fed babies invariably are healthier and leaner than bottle-fed babies. They have a higher dietary intake of GLA.”
Sears explains that GLA is considered an “activated” essential fatty acid because very small amounts fill the metabolic pipelines that allow the body to make other activated essential fatty acids.
What does this scientific talk mean to mothers? That you are giving your baby one more push toward a healthy start in life by breast feeding!