There are many ways for a new mom to give her baby the best start in life. Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the CDC and pediatricians’ preference for how mothers feed their babies throughout the first year of life. That is not to place judgment on any mothers who choose not to or who are unable to breastfeed; it is that breastfeeding is the recommendation.
There are many reasons why breastfeeding is highly recommended:
- The nutrients in breastmilk are natural and bioavailable
- It provides a tight-knit bonding experience for mother and baby
- Breastmilk contains everything a baby needs for the first six months of life
- Breastmilk changes composition as the baby grows to provide key nutrients for growth and development
- It provides a very easy way to feed your baby anywhere
- It helps women lose their pregnancy weight
Women are encouraged to put their new baby to their breast within the first hour after the baby is born. Colostrum is the highly-dense and nutrient-rich first-milk that comes from the breast. Colostrum is known to boost a baby’s immune system because it contains antibodies to protect a newborn baby against disease.
The act of breastfeeding is very simple once you get the hang of it. Your baby naturally roots (or searches) for the breast, so hold your baby up to your breast with her body facing toward you. You can touch the upper lip with your nipple, and she will open her mouth naturally. Once her mouth is open wide, pull her onto your breast. You will want to hold your breast, gently squeezing it so that the tip of your breast fits easily into her mouth. You will want as much of the areola (the darker part surrounding the nipple) to be in your baby’s mouth.
In the beginning, it will feel new, and it can be slightly uncomfortable. Once your baby learns how to latch on well, discomfort should fade away. Be patient with yourself and your new baby! Babies can sense stress, and they will be less likely to latch on well when mom is anxious.
There are many items available to make nursing easy and more comfortable, but the only things you truly need are a place to sit or lie down, your baby, and your breast. There are different positions for holding your baby while you are nursing, and you can find the most comfortable one for you. It is important to be comfortable because you will be in that position for a little while!
At Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A., we encourage all new moms to give breastfeeding a try. There is no shame for women who choose not to breastfeed or who cannot, but it is the most beneficial means of providing nutrients for a new baby.
If you have questions, concerns, or want help breastfeeding, contact our practice to learn more. We are here for you and your new baby every step of the way.