Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed your child. While it’s a natural process, the act of breastfeeding doesn’t always come easily.
In honor of National Breastfeeding Month, we want to support you if you’ve decided on this feeding choice. Breastfeeding has many health benefits for both you and your baby. Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich offers these tips to make breastfeeding easier.
Know your “why”
Having a good reason to want to breastfeed will help you want to get through any challenges you face along the way. Some of the ways that breastfeeding benefits your baby include lower risks of the following:
- Ear infections
- Type 1 diabetes
- Severe lower respiratory disease
- Gastrointestinal illnesses, which can be very serious in infants
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
Breastfeeding helps you, too. Some of the ways that breastfeeding benefits your health include lower risks of the following:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Breast cancer
- Ovarian cancer
Breastfeeding also boosts your baby’s immune system, particularly when they’re too young to get their own immunizations yet. Even if you have something simple as a viral cold that goes through your household, your breast milk has antibodies that can prevent your baby from getting sick.
Prepare in advance
If you intend to breastfeed, read everything you can about it while you’re still pregnant. When you deliver your baby, let the hospital staff know that you’re committed to breastfeeding to ensure they won’t give your baby a bottle. Some hospitals even have lactation consultants on staff; it’s a good idea to see one during your stay to ensure that your baby is latching on properly.
Don’t give up too early
Some new moms worry that they don’t have enough milk to feed their baby in the first days after birth. While some moms do indeed have this condition, it’s pretty rare.
Right after birth, your body produces a substance called colostrum, which is a very concentrated form of breastmilk. This is sometimes called “liquid gold” because of its darker color and its high levels of powerful antibodies. It’s also very high in fat, which helps to sustain your baby until your mature milk comes in.
Mature milk doesn’t come in until 2-5 days after birth, so don’t panic if your milk hasn’t come in yet during this time. Your baby will be fine if it takes a few days.
Get help if you need it
Sometimes you might face challenges with breastfeeding. One of these challenges, especially in the early days, is an improper latch, which means your baby might not get enough milk and may be a little fussy. This is very fixable, but you’ll need some help to get a proper latch. A lactation consultant or a breastfeeding support group such as La Leche League can provide the support you need.
Similarly, you might face issues along the way, such as mastitis (a breast infection), or your baby might refuse to nurse. Again, you can overcome these issues with some help and support.
Breastfeeding is a very good thing to do for your baby’s health, as well as your own. It also provides an excellent way for you to bond with your baby. If you have any questions about breastfeeding, contact Dr. Darin L. Weyhrich today or request an appointment online.