Go Team! More breast feeding tips
Even if breastfeeding is going great for you early on, it’s still normal to feel more tired than ever before. Today, pediatrician and breast feeding expert Dr. Esther Chung gives motivating advice on nursing:
Breastfeeding has many health benefits for babies, mothers and society. Babies who are breastfed have lower rates of ear infections and diarrheal illnesses. They are at lower risk for asthma, obesity and even leukemia. Mothers who breastfeed are also at lower risk for breast and ovarian cancer and they have less postpartum bleeding.
Remember in our post about the early weeks of breastfeeding where we encouraged you to stick with it because it gets easier? Dr. Chung concurs:
For some women, breastfeeding comes easily. They experience little discomfort, their babies latch on easily, and they produce a lot of milk. For most, breastfeeding is challenging in the first 1-2 weeks following birth, but by the time the baby is 4-5 weeks old, breastfeeding is easy. Having patience and trusting that your body will produce enough milk are the keys to breastfeeding success. Maternity hospitals that employ trained professionals with International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) credentials have higher rates of breastfeeding. After leaving the hospital, families can find IBCLCs in their neighborhood by entering their zip code into the International Lactation Consultant Association website, http://www.ilca.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3432.
Dr Chung’s Tips to Successful Breastfeeding
- Hold your baby skin-to-skin on your chest. This means your baby’s body is in direct contact with your skin. You may choose to wear a gown that opens in the front and your baby should wear a hat and diaper to minimize heat loss. Skin-to-skin contact allows your baby to maintain a normal temperature and prepares him/her to feed. As a result, most babies will search for the breast and breastfeed.
- Initiate breastfeeding within the first hour of life.
- Request that your baby stay in your room (“rooming in”) so you can breastfeed when your baby is ready.
- Request that your baby only breastfeed – no bottles, no formula.
- Expect to breastfeed throughout the night. Rest while your baby is resting.
- Take your baby to see his/her health care provider 2 to 3 days after leaving the hospital/birthing center.
- Find out how your workplace supports breastfeeding mothers – for example, do they provide a lactation room or other facility for mothers to pump milk during breaks?
- Discuss with your baby’s health care provider and/or your breastfeeding support group the many ways to maintain your milk supply after returning to work.
- Learn more about breast pumps, which you can rent or buy. Some health insurance will cover related costs.
Returning to school and work may pose challenges for some women. In 24 states, there are laws related to breastfeeding and the workplace (see http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/health/breastfeeding-state-laws.aspx). Section 4207 of the Affordable Care Act is a federal law that requires all employers to provide time and space for women to pump milk, but employers with less than 50 employees can apply for exemption if there is undue hardship (see http://webapps.dol.gov/FederalRegister/PdfDisplay.aspx?DocId=24540).
Esther K. Chung, MD, MPH, FAAP
Currently a Professor of Pediatrics at Jefferson Medical College and Nemours, Dr. Chung won the 2009 Physician of the Year Award from the Pennsylvania Resource Organization for Lactation Consultants (PRO-LC) and the 2008 Special Achievement Award from the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), for breastfeeding advocacy work. A member of several breastfeeding advocacy groups including the International Lactation Consultants Association, she frequently lectures nationally to healthcare professionals on breastfeeding topics.
For Two Peds in a Pod's suggestions for how to continue breastfeeding when returning to work, see our earlier post on this subject. Drs. Kardos and Lai
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