Charting the Course Together: August is National Breastfeeding Month
Aug 21, 2017
Every August is National Breastfeeding Month, a campaign declared by the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee that hopes to encourage breastfeeding and improve the health of babies around the world. This year’s theme, Charting the Course Together, focuses on using research to build connections between breastfeeding and its many benefits.
Interesting Breastfeeding Facts
- Breastfeeding in Public is Legal: 49 out of 50 states have legislation in place protecting breastfeeding mothers’ rights to nurse their child in public.
- Moms who Breastfeed Get More Sleep: It’s estimated that breastfeeding mothers get an extra 45 minutes of sleep per night, according to a study in the Journal of Perinatal and Neonatal Nursing.
- Breastfeeding Rates Among Mothers 30 and Older are Higher Than in Younger Moms: According to the CDC, only 43% of mothers 20 and younger breastfeed. While 65% of mothers 20 to 29 breastfeed and moms over 30 have the highest rates at 75%.
There are many benefits for both you and your baby when it comes to breastfeeding. One of the biggest is the unique bonding experience that only a mother and her little one can share, but there are both developmental and health benefits as well.
Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Newborn
- Prevents Food Allergies: Your breast milk contains a secretory that some physicians believe contain an additional layer of protection that prevents an allergic reaction.
- Protects Against Illness: When you breastfeed you pass antibodies to your baby that your body has built up from being sick in the past, better preparing your baby’s immunity to germs or illnesses.
- Prevents Postpartum Depression: The activity of breastfeeding connects you and your baby in a way no one else will ever experience. While nursing, your body releases oxytocin, a chemical proven to prevent depression and can help you relax.
- Lower Risk of Childhood Cancer: Breastfeeding can decrease your baby’s risk of some childhood cancers and lower your risk of premenopausal breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
One important thing to remember is that breastfeeding is a physical and mental commitment, and it may not be for every new mother. It can be harder than some think. Frustration can begin early, within the first few weeks your baby is home if they don’t take to breastfeeding like you hoped they would. Here are some things you can do to help your experience be less difficult and help you stay the course.
When Breastfeeding Isn’t Easy, There is Help
- Get Help Early: Schedule an appointment with a lactation specialist or take a breastfeeding class before your baby arrives. Teachers and staff can help answer your questions before you start the breastfeeding process.
- Seek Help with Latching on: If your baby is not latching properly to your breast, feedings can be painful. You can try getting a comfortable chair or a breastfeeding support pillow. Talking with a lactation consultant or your doctor to determine how to make your experience more enjoyable.
- Get the Supplies You Need: Breastfeeding can cause your nipples to become sore, making breastfeeding painful. Your nurse or doctor can give you a list of approved creams that can help you with chapping and suggest other remedies for clogged milk ducts.
- It Takes Time: Not every feeding will go as planned. If your baby is hungry let them eat. Make sure you are adaptable and can feed when your baby is ready. As your baby gets older you will be able to establish a routine and can better estimate your schedules.
Once breastfeeding is going well, your baby can begin drinking breast milk from a bottle. If you are returning to work, plan ahead and begin introducing a bottle 1 to 2 weeks before so your baby can acclimate a new routine. Talk with your doctor or physician at Greenville OB/GYN if you are having trouble breastfeeding and discuss what options best fit you and your new baby.
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