Do you really think we’re the only mammal who can’t find our FOOD source?
“Breastfeeding is the best start in life for a baby. Unlike so much that is considered ‘best’ and is often beyond even one’s wildest dreams, in this instance the best is yours to give.”
– From La Leche League’s The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 5th Ed
An overwhelming body of research has established that not only is breastfeeding the optimal way for feeding and nurturing infants, but also that human milk and the process of breastfeeding itself hold a key position in the development of many critical functions in human infants and their mothers. These are just a few of the amazing benefits of breastfeeding;
- Higher IQ
- Better Immunity
- Lower rate of allergies & asthma
- Lower rates of infection
- Better eye sight
- Protection from certain diseases (e.g. diabetes) that can last well into adulthood
- Lower breast, cervical & ovarian cancer rates
- Reduced post-partum bleeding
- Higher bone density
- Less osteoporosis
- Faster recovery after birth
- Weight loss
Composed of all of the essential nutrients for growth and survival of the human infant, breast milk contains a matrix of bio-active compounds including immunoglobulins, enzymes, growth factors and hormones which reduce infection, gastrointestinal disorders, chronic diseases, allergic disorders, and infant mortality. Breastfeeding is associated with advanced psychomotor development and intellectual superiority and improved oral development. The increased mother/infant physiologic interdependency promotes emotional bonding and responsiveness.
DID YOU KNOW?
- At 4 months, a breast fed baby’s Thymus (T cells= immunity) is twice as large as a formula fed baby?
- New research shows that breast milk is loaded with viable stem cells. Treatments are under research.
- Poop! Formula fed baby poop is .05-1 degree hotter than breast fed baby poop. Since formula doesn’t digest as well, the baby’s body is working harder to break down the waste matter
- Breast milk is full of macrophages, which are multipurpose immune cells
- The half -life of breast milk is 45 min, so it is perfectly normal for a newborn to want to eat again 1 hour after they had a very sufficient nursing session
- Over 74% of babies under 6 months of age get up to HALF their daily calories at night
- A 2007 study by the Academy of Breast Feeding Medicine found no significant differences in sleeping lengths from 0-6 months for formula vs. breast fed babies
- Babies who aren’t hungry wake for other needs- they are designed to be close to their caretakers
Existing literature suggests several factors which may increase initiation and duration of breastfeeding for mothers. Health professionals like midwives, lactation consultants and peer counselors can promote the intention to breastfeed with educational materials and classes. Encouragement from the mother’s support network, maternal grandmothers, fathers and female relatives, and participation in community based support programs for breastfeeding women can also help. Hands-on lactation assistance in the immediate postpartum period from skilled facilitators who provide practical knowledge, positive reinforcement, and emotional encouragement for mothers is invaluable.
A CHECK LIST FOR SUCCESS:
- Supportive environment
- Desire to breastfeed and confidence in your ability.
- Trust your body will be prepared. Your breasts have been developing since the 4th week of pregnancy,
- Use the breast- pinch test to check for a well-formed & active breast. Does the nipple evert (pop out)? Usually by about week 37 you will be able to see a few drops of colostrum
- A peaceful calm mamma
- A baby who is semi-awake
- Vigorous regular emptying of breast
The rule of supply and demand: To Make MORE, Take MORE
WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE FIRST LATCH?
- Reinforces positive bio-behavior by gratifying root/suckle reflex
- Helps maintain blood glucose levels
- Prebiotics and probiotics begin lining babies’ intestines with healthy micro flora
- Breast milk as a mild laxative helps cleanse the meconium
- Sucking helps balance cerebral fluids & pressure: baby’s head feels so much better!
- Stimulates milk production
- Speeds delivery of placenta
- Assists uterus to clamp down reducing blood loss
- Reduces engorgement
- Facilitates bonding
SHORT CUTS TO SUCCESS:
- Nose to nipple. Positioning baby “nose to nipple” will help place areolar tissue deeper against the palette when the baby gives Mom a nice wide open mouth.
- Tummy to mummy. Bring the baby to you, not the breast to the baby.
- See how you feel, break the seal. If after 30 seconds it feels pinchy and very uncomfortable take the baby off by breaking the suction and try again. Remember you are both learning together. The easiest way to break the seal is to place your finger between your nipple and the baby’s tongue releasing the suction seal.
- If you squeeze, it’s a breeze! Speed Flow, Babies Grow. Research shows if you massage and compress your breast during a nursing session with your newborn you will transfer a larger volume of milk with fattier milk content. This is accomplished by speeding the flow of hind milk into the earlier part of the feeding session.
- First breast first, then switch partners, start again. Finish the “first breast first” which means stay on the first breast for at least 15-20 minutes. Then you can burp your baby and offer the other side if he/she wants more.
- Drink lot of water, 2-3 liters per day. How much water you need depends on how hot it is, how active you are. A good rule of thumb: if your tinkle is clear- you are getting enough fluids (all fluids count).
- Consume extra calories. Nursing moms need 500-600 Extra Calories per day. Eat a lot of protein, vegetables and whole grains, and healthy fats to help support baby’s developing brain.
IF YOU ARE GOING TO PUMP
These days many moms rent or buy breast pumps to help speed the time it takes for their milk volume to increase in the early days and later to offer occasional bottles to their baby if they have to be separated. If you choose to pump, please understand that hand expression is more successful for extraction during first 24 hours postpartum.
Pumping can help relieve fullness, but remember; if you take more, your body will make more. Be sure that you are pumping gently and not over stimulating milk production. A 3 day old newborn thru 2 weeks of life usually only requires 2 ounces of milk per feeding. If you are trying to replace a feeding, pump 10-12 minutes on each side 1-3x per day after feeding at the breast.
There are many different pump manufacturers: i.e. Medela, Hygeia, Ameda. Some pumps are more comfortable than others depending upon your breast shape and size. You will want to find the one that’s most suitable to you. Under the Affordable Care Act of 2011, breast pumps are covered by insurance and may be tax deductible.
SOME PUMPING GUIDELINES
- The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine for Human Milk Storage Protocols: (http://www.bfmed.org/Media/Files/Protocols/Protocol%208%20-%20English%20revised%202010.pdf)
- Breasts and nipples do not need to be washed prior to expression.
- Freshly expressed human milk may be stored safely at room temperature for 3–4 hours optimal, 6–8 hours acceptable under very clean conditions.
- In the Refrigerator breast milk may be stored at 48C (39.8F) for 72 hours optimal, 5–8 days acceptable under very clean conditions. Breast milk may be stored in the Freezer (-20 degrees C, 0 degrees F) for 6 months optimal (in the body of freezer, not in the door), 12 months acceptable under very clean conditions.
- All stored containers of human milk should be labeled with the date of milk expression. Try to avoid adding warm milk to already cooled or frozen milk, in order to prevent rewarming of the already stored milk.
IF YOU ARE STORING, YOU DON’T WANT A FREEZER FULL OF MILK
Remember that breast milk is adjusted for your baby’s age. For example, with a preemie, the breast milk will have more protein to grow brain, higher fat and lower sugar (lactase for energy). The protein ratio of whey:casein in breast milk for newborns is 80:20, but by 6 months that ratio is nearly 50:50.
When moms are weaning, breast milk is higher in salt content and lower in fat.
The article below was contributed to by Dahlia Frydman, Shelly Girard and Seannie Gibson.
Mother, birth specialist, Licensed IBCLC Lactation Consultant, naturalist and educator. Accredited by ACHI; Master Doula, Midwifery Assistant & NRP Certified. Practicing in Los Angeles since 2002.
“In my experience nearly all mothers can breastfeed and natures’ gift to us is that babies are hard wired to nurse. It is however a learned skill, just like learning a new dance. What may seem complicated at first becomes second nature with practice. For moms with painful nipples or experiencing less than optimal latches a little bit of expert instruction at the beginning can make all the difference. Our caring and gentle approach let’s new moms relax, address their issues of concern and feel completely supported throughout the session. We are here to assist you in having your easiest and best breastfeeding experience.”
Note on consultation: All babies are weighed before and after a nursing session to determine their milk intake per feed. Please note: In Home Lactation Consultations are a reimbursable Insurance expenses, we will provide you with a Superbill for your insurance company.