August is National Breastfeeding Month

Dec 12, 2021

mother breastfeeding babyAugust, 2018 – August is National Breastfeeding month, a time when health officials work to educate the community on the importance of breastfeeding. The American Academy of Pediatrics and other health organizations endorse breastfeeding as the best way of feeding infants, and recommend breastfeeding for at least one year or longer. Breast milk can help babies fight off viruses and bacteria and can lower the risk of asthma and allergies. Babies who are breastfed can have fewer ear infections, respiratory illnesses, and diarrhea. For moms, breastfeeding burns calories and can help the uterus return to its normal size. It can also lower the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding has many benefits, but it also can be challenging, and sometimes even frustrating for new mothers. Lactation consultants are a great resource for new moms who may need a little support and encouragement. Lactation consultants at Baptist Health System offer moms support, education and encouragement while in the hospital after delivery. They offer these tips for new moms to help them establish a successful breastfeeding routine.

It is important to remember to be patient and try not to get discouraged. The more often you breastfeed, the more milk your breasts will produce and the more natural it will feel to breastfeed your baby. To get started breastfeeding, wash your hands and cradle your baby close to your breast in a comfortable position.

Use pillows for support if necessary. Make sure your baby’s mouth is wide open and he or she takes in part of the area around the nipple. Your baby is latched correctly if you feel a gentle pulling sensation on your breast and hear a rhythmic sucking and swallowing pattern.

Try not to supplement with formula for four to six weeks even if you feel that you aren't producing enough milk and your baby is always hungry. Your body will make more milk in response to your baby’s increased need to nurse. To make sure your baby is getting enough breast milk, he/she should have six to eight very wet diapers per day and gain about one pound a month.

Newborns typically nurse every two to three hours in the first few weeks. Watch for signs that your baby is getting hungry. These could include stirring, stretching, lip movements or sucking motions.

Let your baby set the pace and thoroughly nurse from one breast until it feels soft - about fifteen to twenty minutes. Try burping your baby before offering the second breast. If your baby is not hungry, start the next breastfeeding session with the second breast.

You may feel some tenderness at first, but breastfeeding should not be painful. To prevent soreness, let the milk dry naturally on the nipples and change bra pads often between feedings to keep them dry. You can apply lanolin after feeding if your nipples get dry or cracked. Remember to wash it off before feeding your baby.

Your baby eats what you eat, so avoid alcohol and caffeine, eat a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids. Get plenty of rest and don’t smoke. Take medications only with your doctor’s approval.

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