Every new mom wants to do what’s best for her baby, especially if it has the extra bonus of getting them back to their pre-pregnancy weight a little faster. For this reason and many others, more and more new moms are choosing to breastfeed.
What women often don’t realize is that they also benefit from breastfeeding. Studies have verified that not only do women who breastfeed return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster (it takes a lot of calories to produce milk), but they also receive the lifetime benefits of a lower risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes and postpartum depression.
When formula was invented decades ago, it was seen as a new and better option over breast milk. Yet formula has never been able to mimic the rare qualities of breastmilk, including passed-on immunities. Studies show that babies who breastfeed receive numerous benefits, including lower rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), ear infections, asthma, diabetes and obesity.
“Because of all these benefits, we encourage moms to breastfeed, and we are here to help them learn how,” said Julie Hobden, New Beginnings Birth Center Manager.
Hobden discussed how it’s important for moms to take advantage of the “Golden Hour,” which is the first hour after birth, to initiate breastfeeding, bond with, and calm their new babies. The most productive way to spend the Golden Hour is skin-to-skin with baby directly on mom’s chest. Even though moms are excited to share their new baby with others, it’s best to wait and take advantage of this vital, precious bonding time.
“Skin-on-skin time is important for helping babies regulate their temperature, breathing and heart rate. Babies can hear their mom’s heartbeats, and this calms them and helps them adapt to a new environment,” Hobden said.
In that first hour of breastfeeding, babies receive vital colostrum. It’s not milk, as that takes a few days to come in, but it’s full of nutrients to complete and boost a baby’s developing immune system. Colostrum helps protect babies from sicknesses during those first months when their immune systems are not yet fully developed.
Some moms are hesitant to breastfeed because they figure why start when I have to return to work. Others worry it will hurt. Still others believe bottle feeding will be easier. Yet with breastfeeding, moms have a free milk supply at-the-ready wherever they go.
“Even if a mom breastfeeds just the first few weeks, it can make a big difference. We work closely with each and every mom who chooses to breastfeed to make sure latch on is correct and that she is comfortable with breastfeeding before she goes home,” Hobden said.
Establishing proper latch on from the start helps moms avoid sore nipples, which occasionally happens but usually passes in a few weeks after mom and baby have had time to establish correct positioning. While it may seem like breastfeeding should come naturally, moms often need the help of an experienced nurse to learn the best techniques.
“There are a million and one different tricks to breastfeeding, so we have a million and one ways to help new moms out,” Hobden concluded.
To learn more about the New Beginnings Birth Center at Prowers Medical Center, visit prowersmedical.com or call (719) 336-6759.