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National Breastfeeding Month

By Entira Family Clinics

 

Now that your baby is finally here, you might have quite a few questions about how best to care for your infant.  One of the best ways is to breastfeed your baby!

For National Breastfeeding Month, our clinics in the St. Paul, MN area will discuss the benefits of breastfeeding, food to avoid, and tips to make the process go more smoothly for you and your baby.

Benefits

Breastfeeding has both emotional and physical benefits for new babies. Many providers recommend that new mothers at least attempt to breastfeed, as breast milk contains most nutrients and vitamins a new baby needs.

Children who breastfeed, generally have stronger immune systems and are less likely to become overweight.  Other benefits of breastfeeding include reducing the risk of cancer to both the mother and baby as well as reducing ear infections, ER visits,  and frequency of asthma in your baby.

The act of breastfeeding helps solidify the bond between child and mother, boosting your relationship and helping your baby develop socially. Touch, closeness, and interaction are all essential for infants and nursing helps calm your infant as well. You’ll likely benefit from these peaceful moments with your baby.

Don’t forget that mothers more easily lose weight when breastfeeding! Also, nursing is cheaper than formula feeding and typically requires fewer or no bottles at all!

What to Avoid

Much like during pregnancy, some foods can harm or irritate your baby if you consume them while breastfeeding. You won’t need to be as diligent as you were while pregnant, but keep in mind that the food you eat passes to your baby.

You don’t have to cut substances like caffeine and chocolate out of your diet completely but consume them sparingly. Try to have three or fewer cups of coffee in a day, and watch how much-caffeinated beverages you drink and chocolate you eat.

Avoid fish that contains high levels of mercury, including shark and swordfish. Mercury can harm an infant’s nervous system, so if you’re craving fish, consider options like light tuna and salmon.

Tips to Get You Started

Make sure to breastfeed within the first hour of delivery if at all possible, but don’t worry if your baby doesn’t immediately take to breastfeeding. It can take some trial and error to find a position and routine that works for you both. The following tips may help:

•    When your baby latches, make sure his or her lips face outward, not pulled inward towards the gums. You should hear low swallowing sounds that indicate your baby is eating.

•    Express some milk before nursing to activate the let-down reflex and make the milk flow more easily from the beginning. Your baby won’t need to suck as vigorously to receive nutrition, which prevents sore nipples and helps the milk flow stay steady.

•    Choose a nursing position that allows your baby to rest comfortably without turning his or her head.

•    Eat a calcium-rich diet to ensure you and your baby receive enough nutrients.

Talk to the health providers at Entira Family Clinics if you have difficulty with breastfeeding. We can help you figure out a positive solution.

If you have any other questions about infant care or National Breastfeeding Month, call us at 651-788-4444.

 


 

 

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