Questions Answered By Licensed Midwife and Nurse Practitioner
Sarah Kaddour · May 26, 2019
Paging Mary Love!
Our friendly medical pro, licensed Midwife and Nurse Practitioner Mary Love, is giving you the inside scoop on pregnancy, breastfeeding and newborns. Whether you’re a first time parent or on your second child, we know how overwhelming it can feel. Our mission is to arm you with helpful information and tips before you even need them.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for moms?
The immediate benefits of breastfeeding consists of releasing the hormone Oxytocin that decreases risk of bleeding after the delivery of the baby and helps the uterus shrink back down to regular size. In this transition, cramps can arise,. However, cramping is a good sign as this often means that the uterus is reducing in size. The long-term benefit of breastfeeding for mothers are a decreased risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses. Breastfeeding can also ultimately help with weight loss over time. The calorie demand when nursing is even higher than pregnancy. Most mothers experience significant weight loss the first couple of weeks after their delivery and then later down the line, such as the six to nine month period of breastfeeding. The difference in weight loss is contingent upon the demand for milk during that time.
The availability and cost efficiency are great benefits. Breastfeeding is virtually free minus the cost of materials moms may need, such as bottles and nursing supplies. As a new mom, you won’t run out of it and it’s always the right temperature when it comes out of the breast. The perks of being able to wake up in the middle of the night, nurse, and soothe the baby immediately with no preparation time can be a great pro for most moms.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for babies?
When the first form of milk comes out of the breast, it is often a yellow, sticky consistency for the first couple of days. This is called colostrum, and is often referred to as ” liquid gold”. That is because it is chock full of antibodies and helps babies develop healthy gut bacteria. Even if a mother does not want to breastfeed or even if she does it for the first day or two, breastfeeding has plenty of significant long-term benefits. Mary Love emphasizes that it creates a healthy start, such as a decreased likeliness of sickness. That means less ear infections, less colds, less chronic illnesses, and a lower rate of obesity within the child’s life span.
What if a newborn is not ingesting a lot of breast milk?
Newborns only hold approximately 5-10 milliliters in their stomach. That means only a few drops each time you nurse can sustain the baby for the first couple of days.
Why does breast milk change over time?
Breast milk can change over a course of a day and while the baby grows. A mother’s body tailors milk formulation to exactly what that baby needs. Studies show that even gender differences creates different milk formula. For example, a mother can create different breast milk for her daughter and son. Formula stays the same and that leads to controversy on mothers often staying away from formula unless absolutely necessary.
Why isn’t the baby latching?
The reality of nursing a newborn is mothers need patience. Trial by error is the way to learn. Keep trying with adjustments until the baby can comfortably latch on. Results vary for every mother. Latching successfully on the first try can occur on the first couple of days to as long as a couple of weeks.
Is it normal to feel pain while nursing?
The first 10-30 seconds might be uncomfortable or even painful. As you nurse, the pain goes away. If it gets more painful as you nurse or you get cracked nipples or bleeding, then there might be a problem and you may need professional guidance on positioning the baby. Reach out to a lactation consultant if pain is persistent.
Does a baby need to burp after each feeding?
At the end of nursing, it is always advised to try burping the baby. Sometimes the baby will burp, sometimes it won’t burp. This is not anything to stress about if the baby is happy. The gas might just come out the other end.
The first couple of weeks are the hardest with hormones being all over the place and sleep deprivation; however, rest assured that it gets easier over time.
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