Waupaca Naturals...

Hosted By:  Computer Clint, LLC 


Home  Articles & Recipes


Why Breastfeed?

by Kathy Pehlke, Certified Doula

New parents want to give their babies the very best. When it comes to nutrition, the best first food for babies is breast milk.

Breast milk is the normal food for babies; God designed babies to need breast milk. Breastfeeding helps babies grow strong physically and emotionally. Human milk contains at least 100 ingredients not found in formula. No babies are allergic to their mother's milk, although they may have a reaction to something the mother eats. If she eliminates it from her diet, the problem resolves itself.

Breast-feeding is good for new mothers as well as for their babies. There are no bottles to sterilize and no formula to buy, measure and mix. It may be easier for a nursing mother to lose the pounds of pregnancy as well, since nursing uses up extra calories. Lactation also stimulates the uterus to contract back to its original size. A nursing mother is forced to get needed rest. She must sit down, put her feet up and relax every few hours to nurse. Nursing at night is easy as well. No one has to stumble to the refrigerator for a bottle and warm it while the baby cries. If she's lying down, a mother can doze while she nurses.

I have listed below some of the reasons why mothers opt to nurse:

  • Breast milk has immune system boosting ingredients including antibodies from the mother that help prevent and minimize many sicknesses.

  • Breast milk is the best fluid for baby when sickness occurs – breast milk is a clear fluid which contains nutrients and active immunities to help fight the sickness; it digests easily and quickly; and nursing provides reassuring comfort.
  • Breastfeeding helps prevent children from developing allergies (especially if they are exclusively breastfed for the first six months), asthma, eczema and diaper rash

  • Baby cannot be allergic to his mommy's milk

  • Breastfeeding helps protect children from getting ear infections.

  • Milk supplied directly from the breast is free of bacteria and is always "just right" for your baby

  • Wherever mom goes, sweet, warm, fresh breast milk is ready immediately

  • Breastfeeding provides a wonderful way to calm and comfort a fussy baby

  • It's a wonderful time to hold and be close to your child

  • Breastfeeding helps protect moms from getting osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, cervical cancer and breast cancer (studies have shown that the longer a mom breastfeeds throughout her life, the lower her chances of getting breast cancer)

Tips for Breast-Feeding Success

It's helpful for a woman who wants to breastfeed to learn as much about it as possible before delivery, while she is not exhausted from caring for an infant around-the-clock. The following tips can help foster successful nursing:

  • Get an early start:
    Nursing should begin within an hour after delivery if possible, when an infant is awake and the sucking instinct is strong. Even though the mother won't be producing milk yet, her breasts contain colostrum, a thin fluid that contains antibodies to disease.

  • Proper positioning:
    The baby's mouth should be wide open, with the nipple as far back into his or her mouth as possible. This minimizes soreness for the mother. A nurse, midwife, or other knowledgeable person (lactation specialist) can help her find a comfortable nursing position.

  • Nurse on demand:
    Newborns need to nurse frequently, at least every two hours, and not on any strict schedule. This will stimulate the mother's breasts to produce plenty of milk. Later, the baby can settle into a more predictable routine. But because breast milk is more easily digested than formula, breast-fed babies often eat more frequently than bottle-fed babies.

  • No supplements:
    Nursing babies don't need sugar water or formula supplements. These may interfere with their appetite for nursing, which can lead to a diminished milk supply. The more the baby nurses, the more milk the mother will produce.

  • Delay artificial nipples:
    It's best to wait a week or two before introducing a pacifier, so that the baby doesn't get confused. Artificial nipples require a different sucking action than real ones. Sucking at a bottle could also confuse some babies in the early days. They, too, are learning how to breast-feed.

  • Air dry:
    In the early postpartum period or until her nipples toughen, the mother should air dry them after each nursing to prevent them from cracking, which can lead to infection. If her nipples do crack, the mother can coat them with breast milk or other natural moisturizers to help them heal. Vitamin E oil and lanolin are commonly used, although some babies may have allergic reactions to them. Proper positioning at the breast can help prevent sore nipples. If the mother's very sore, the baby may not have the nipple far enough back in his or her mouth.

  • Watch for infection:
    Symptoms of breast infection include fever and painful lumps and redness in the breast. These require immediate medical attention.

  • Expect engorgement:
    A new mother usually produces lots of milk, making her breasts big, hard and painful for a few days. To relieve this engorgement, she should feed the baby frequently and on demand until her body adjusts and produces only what the baby needs. In the meantime, the mother can take over-the-counter pain relievers, apply warm, wet compresses to her breasts and take warm baths to relieve the pain.

  • Eat right, get rest:
    To produce plenty of good milk, the nursing mother needs a balanced diet that includes 500 extra calories a day and six to eight glasses of fluid. She should also rest as much as possible to prevent breast infections, which are aggravated by fatigue.

Home  Articles & Recipes

Help  Site Map

For questions concerning this site, please contact the webmaster
Information contained herein deemed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.
Owned and maintained by Computer Clint, LLC
Copyright 2012 Computer Clint, LLC All rights reserved.