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Breast is Best for Babe!

Two weeks ago I attended a seminar with Teresa Pitman, a La Leche League Leader for 28 years, the Executive Director of La Leche League Canada, certified childbirth educator and doula. The seminar was on the importance of breastfeeding and how healthcare practitioners can help their new-mothers be successful. Since this month is breast cancer awareness month I thought I would continue with the theme of breasts for this blog. As stated in my last post, breastfeeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Breastmilk is the natural food for infants, it contains everything your baby needs and it’s FREE! The milk you produce is actually an important part of your baby’s development. Breastfeeding:

  • decreases the risk of ear, chest and stomach infections
  • prevents diarrhea
  • decreases the risk of digestive disorders and food sensitivities
  • decreases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  • decreases the risk of childhood obesity
  • promotes proper jaw and tooth development
  • promotes healthy brain development

I recommend that baby be fed exclusively with breastfeeding until the age of 5-6 months, after which solid foods can start to be introduced. It is important that baby is still breastfed until at least 1 year, some mothers continue breastfeeding until their toddler is 2, 3 or 4 years! It’s great to see momma’s who are so passionate about it. The unfortunate thing is, the majority of mothers stop breast feeding in the first 3 months.

One question that frequently comes up is, how do I know my baby is getting enough milk? You know your baby is getting enough milk if they feed at least 8 times every 24 hours. That being said, don’t restrict the number of feeds to 8, and don’t restrict the length of the feeding. It is important not to swaddle your baby. Swaddling a baby makes them sleep longer, however when you are trying to establish a milk supply, this is not beneficial. Having baby’s hands free also allows you to watch for hand gestures that signal hunger. Another sign that your baby is getting enough milk is that your baby has enough wet diapers. Fluid in = fluid out. Refer to the chart below for the number of wet diapers a baby should have according to their age. If your baby is active and has a strong cry, and if your baby has a wet, pink mouth and bright eyes you know he/she is getting enough milk.

If baby is not getting enough milk, this can be solved by increasing the frequency of feedings and increasing the amount of skin-skin contact with minimal separation.

Image                                                                                        Source: http://beststart.org/resources/breastfeeding/pdf/breastfdeskref09.pdf

This topic is extensive and I could write about it forever. I hope I was able to answer some of your questions. If you have any further questions please feel free to email me at brendatappND@gmail.com

Local Resources:

Peterborough La Leche League                                                                                                                                                                                                  Free dinner at 5:45,  group discussion at 6:30 (donation of $5/adult suggested)                                                                                                           4th Thursday of every month                                                                                                                                                                                                          201 Antrim Street (The Peterborough Family Resource Center)                                                                                                                            Dads/partners and older children are welcome to attend

Peterborough Regional Health Centre
1 Hospital Drive, Rm W6609, Peterborough
705-743-4132

Kawartha Birthing & Lactation Consulting
705-740-6170 – call for appointment

Prenatal Breastfeeding Classes
Peterborough Family Resource Center                                                                                                                                                                                         201 Antrim Street, Peterborough                                                                                                                                                                                                  705-148-9144 – Call to register

Glow Maternity Studio and Apparel                                                                                                                                                                                             382 George Street (just south of Hunter), Peterborough                                                                                                                                                      705-775-4569

Partners in Pregnancy                                                                                                                                                                                                                   170 Simcoe Street (Turnbull Building) Suite 302, Peterborough                                                                                                                                      705-741-1191

And of course myself. While not a certified lactation consultant I have had lots of training in breastfeeding!