The Benefits of Breastfeeding: preparation and persistence pay off
The healthiest start for baby
Breastfeeding provides perfect nutrition that is easy to digest, full of antibodies, and it is known to reduce asthma, allergies, infections, diarrhea, and obesity as your baby grows. It also helps create a warm and nurturing bond between mother and infant.
Benefits for Mom too
Mothers benefit from breastfeeding as well. Nursing burns calories, helping new moms return to their pre-pregnancy weight. There is evidence breastfeeding reduces ovarian cancers and osteoporosis. Breast milk is free, requires no preparation, and is available as needed. As a mother and child gain experience and baby nurses with ease, breastfeeding makes outings easy and convenient.
The first feeding is important
When choosing to breastfeed, make sure the birth team knows your wishes, as the first breastfeeding after birth is important. It nourishes your newborn with the earliest milk called colostrum. Medlea calls colostrum “liquid gold” because it is a perfect blend of nutrients and antibodies that adapts through your baby’s first weeks.
Prepare for success
For new mothers, the reality of breastfeeding does not always immediately match the expectation. Comfortable nursing often requires persistence, as many newborns and new mothers need some practice to establish a latch-on that is comfortable. Some advanced preparation will help ensure early breastfeeding success. Take time to research different nursing positions (see this A Woman’s View article), take breastfeeding classes, or arrange for a lactation coach. Be prepared for discomfort until you and your baby settle into a routine that works. Having supplies on hand like nursing pads, a comfortable nursing bra, pillows, a breast pump, and ointments for sore breasts will relieve discomfort and stress.
Don’t forget self-care
While breastfeeding, be sure to care for yourself as well as your baby. Eat well, stay well hydrated and make time to rest and reduce stress. Avoid excessive caffeine, alcohol, and smoking.
Reach out for help
There are lactation consultants at A Woman’s View to guide you through a rewarding breastfeeding journey. And, the A Woman’s View website has many articles with helpful information for breastfeeding mothers including dealing with sore nipples, feeding multiples, pumping breast milk, and preparing to return to work.
Remember each breastfeeding experience is different
For most new mothers, breastfeeding is a positive experience that provides the newborn with optimal nutrition. Try not to be discouraged if it is difficult at the beginning. Preparation and persistence pay off. There is no better way to deeply bond with your newborn and start your baby on the road to better lifelong health.