During August, organizations around the world spread awareness about breastfeeding and how it can benefit babies in all communities. Across the world, only about 38% of infants are exclusively breastfed.
We at Elmwood Pediatric Group support each mother in their decision on whether or not to breastfeed their child. However, there are benefits of breastfeeding that are important to know when you are making your decision.
Who Can Breastfeed?
Unless there are health problems with the mom, almost all mothers are able to breastfeed and encouraged to do so for the first twelve months of their baby’s life. Moms may need to alter their lifestyle habits while they are breastfeeding.
Benefits from Breastfeeding
Both mom and baby benefit from breastfeeding! Breastfeeding provides your baby with all of the nutrition they need for growth and development. It provides your baby with antibodies that protect them from illnesses, and it is easier for them to digest compared to formula. Breastfeeding has also shown to decrease the risk of certain health problems including sudden infant death syndrome.
There are also benefits to the breastfeeding mother’s health, including helping your uterus return to its normal size, helping you lose weight, and reducing the risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
What to eat and Drink While You’re Breastfeeding
While breastfeeding, you will need extra calories and will need to be careful about eating and drinking certain things.
- Avoid drinking caffeine if possible or limit the intake to one to two cups of coffee a day
- Avoid drinking alcohol or if you do, limit it to one to two drinks in a several hour period and do not feed the baby until at least two hours have passed (or pump and dump the milk)
- Most medications are safe, but talk with your doctor before taking any medications while breastfeeding
- Do not smoke or use illegal drugs
Tips for Breastfeeding
Use breastfeeding resources from Elmwood Pediatric Group or resources available online for more tips on breastfeeding. It can be helpful to talk to a lactation consult, especially if you have breastfeeding challenges such as sore nipples, milk supply, engorgement, plugged ducts, etc. Our nurse practitioners are lactation consultants. We would be glad to talk with you about breastfeeding at a prenatal visit, during visits with your baby or on the phone if you have questions.