Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Introduction to the Benefits of Breastfeeding


Health Risks of Not Breastfeeding

  • Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses. Recent studies show that babies who are not exclusively breastfed for 6 months are more likely to develop a wide range of infectious diseases including ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses and have more hospitalizations. Also, infants who are not breastfed have a 21% higher postneonatal infant mortality rate in the U.S.

  • Some studies suggest that infants who are not breastfed have higher rates of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in the first year of life, and higher rates of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, lymphoma, leukemia, Hodgkin's disease, overweight and obesity, high cholesterol and asthma. More research in these areas is needed (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2005).

  • Babies who are not breastfed are sick more often and have more doctor's visits.

  • Also, when you breastfeed, there are no bottles and nipples to sterilize. Unlike human milk straight from the breast, infant formula has a chance of being contaminated.

  • Breast milk is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. A mother's milk has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that is needed for a baby's growth and development. Most babies find it easier to digest breast milk than they do formula.
  • As a result, breastfed infants grow exactly the way they should. They tend to gain less unnecessary weight and to be leaner. This may result in being less overweight later in life.

  • Premature babies do better when breastfed compared to premature babies who are fed formula.

  • Breastfed babies score slightly higher on IQ tests, especially babies who were born pre-maturely.


  • Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens any bleeding a woman may have after giving birth.

  • Breastfeeding, especially exclusive breastfeeding (no supplementing with formula), delays the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. (However, you should still talk with your doctor or nurse about birth control choices.)

  • Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.

  • Breastfeeding makes your life easier. It saves time and money. You do not have to purchase, measure, and mix formula. There are no bottles to warm in the middle of the night!

  • A mother can give her baby immediate satisfaction by providing her breast milk when her baby is hungry.

  • Breastfeeding requires a mother to take some quiet relaxed time for herself and her baby.

  • Breastfeeding can help a mother to bond with her baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.

  • Breastfeeding mothers may have increased self-confidence and feelings of closeness and bonding with their infants.


  • Breastfeeding saves on health care costs. Total medical care costs for the nation are lower for fully breastfed infants than never-breastfed infants since breastfed infants typically need fewer sick care visits, prescriptions, and hospitalizations.

  • Breastfeeding contributes to a more productive workforce. Breastfeeding mothers miss less work, as their infants are sick less often. Employer medical costs also are lower and employee productivity is higher.

  • Breastfeeding is better for our environment because there is less trash and plastic waste compared to that produced by formula cans and bottle supplies.

Current as of October 2005

For more information on the benefits of breastfeeding visit the US Department for Health and Human Services

Dads Support Pumping

This clip is about 3:23 long but well worth it!
There's something about experience that really encourages empathy.
Remember that pumping may not be easy, and even downright frustration at times, but it's worth it for your baby's health. It's still much more economical than formula and allows you to continue to meet the exclusive breastfeeding guidelines of 6 months even if you have to go back to work.
The most common reason to pump is to collect your milk so your baby can have it when you're not around, and to maintain your milk supply for when you're together. This is essential if you're going back to work but want to continue nursing.

Pumping also means you don't have to be on call for every feeding when you're at home. Your partner (or another helper) can feed your baby your milk from a bottle, allowing you to get more uninterrupted sleep or take a break from baby care. (Letting Dad take over some of the feedings also helps him bond with your baby!)

To see more videos and tips for Dad visit dadlabs.com

Get pumped up for this one. At the Dad Labs they believe Dads should do everything in their power to understand what she, the breastfeeding mom, is going through.
About this video, they say, "We put our beliefs to the Breast Pump 101 test. Wonder what it must feel like to get hooked up to a breast pump? Maybe you should. Daddy Clay and Daddy Brad perform a controlled experiment to increase their understanding of this ordeal. Gain insight into what breastfeeding working moms go through every day!"

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't buy into it

Young mothers are mistakenly led to believe that formula does very well as a replacement for breastmilk. It emphatically does not!

NOTHING can duplicate the properties of breastmilk, no matter how many vitamins, minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formulation.

Breastmilk remains the one and only natural, complete and complex nutrition for human infants. It is nature's formula f
or ensuring the health and quality of life for infants, as well as on through childhood to adult life. Just as importantly, breastfeeding promotes a very special bond between mother and child that only a mother can provide.

Take a moment to read this article

Breast-Feed or Else
Warning: Public health officials have determined that not breast-feeding may be hazardous to your baby's health.

Breast Milk is your baby's choice

Fill out our poll on whether or not YOU are going to breastfeed

Your baby would choose breast milk if he or she had the choice...
Are you giving them what they want and need?

Remember that the health experts say...

Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers.

A recent review of evidence has shown that, on a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months is the optimal way of feeding infants. Thereafter infants should receive complementary foods with continued breastfeeding up to 2 years of age or beyond.

To enable mothers to establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, WHO and UNICEF recommend:

  • Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life
  • Exclusive breastfeeding – that is the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water
  • Breastfeeding on demand – that is as often as the child wants, day and night
  • No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers

Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.

Breastmilk promotes sensory and cognitive development, and protects the infant against infectious and chronic diseases. Exclusive breastfeeding reduces infant mortality due to common childhood illnesses such as diarrhoea or pneumonia, and helps for a quicker recovery during illness.

The Answers you've been looking for

1. Why should I breastfeed?
2. How long should I breastfeed?

3. Will breastfeeding tie me to my home?
4. How can I find support for breastfeeding when I go back to work?
5. Will my partner be jealous if I breastfeed?
6. If I have small breasts or very large breasts, can I still breastfeed?
7. Can I still breastfeed if I have had breast surgery?
8. Can I breastfeed if I become ill?

9. Do I have to restrict my sex life while breastfeeding?
10. Do I still need birth control if I am breastfeeding?
11. Can I breastfeed if I smoke?
12. Can I breastfeed if I drink alcohol?
13. Will my baby get enough vitamin D if I breastfeed?
14. Does my breastfed baby need vacci
nes? Is it safe for me to get a vaccine when I'm breastfeeding?
15. What should I do if my baby bites me?
16. I just found out that I’m pregnant. Can I still breastfeed my toddler or baby?

17. Can I breastfeed if I adopted my baby?

1. Why should I breastfeed?

Breastfeeding is normal and healthy for infants and moms. Breast milk has disease-fighting cells called antibodies that help protect infants from germs, illness, and even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of various health problems for babies, including:

Ear infections
Stomach viruses
Respiratory infections
Atopic dermatis
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Childhood leukemia
Necrotizing entercolitis, a gastrointestinal disease in preterm infants
In moms, breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, and postpartum depression. Infant formula cannot match the exact chemical makeup of human milk, especially the cells, hormones, and antibodies that fight disease. For most babies, breast milk is easier to digest than formula. It takes time for their stomachs to adjust to digesting proteins in formula because they are made from cow's milk.

Learn more about the Benefits of Breastfeeding.

2. How long should I breastfeed?

It is best to give your baby only breast milk for the first six months of life. This means not giving your baby any other food or drink — not even water — during this time. Drops of liquid vitamins, minerals, and medicines are, of course, fine, as advised by your baby's doctor. It is even better if you can breastfeed for your baby's first year or longer, for as long as you both wish. Solid iron-rich foods, such as iron-fortified cereals and pureed vegetables and meats, can be started when your baby is around six months old. Before that time, a baby's stomach cannot digest them properly. Solids do not replace breastfeeding. Breast milk stays the baby's main source of nutrients during the first year. Beyond one year, breast milk can still be an important part of your child's diet.

3. Will breastfeeding tie me to my home?

Not at all! Breastfeeding is convenient no matter where you are because you don't have to bring along feeding equipment like bottles, water, or formula. Your baby is all you need. Even if you want to breastfeed in private, you usually can find a woman's lounge or fitting room. If you want to go out without your baby, you can pump your milk beforehand, and leave it for someone else to give your baby while you are gone.

Learn more about the Pumping and Storage of breast milk.

4. How can I find support for breastfeeding when I go back to work?

Before you deliver, talk to your employer about taking as much time off as you can. This will help you and your baby get into a good breastfeeding routine and help you make plenty of milk. Also, talk with your employer about why breastfeeding is important, why pumping is necessary, and how you plan to fit pumping into your workday, such as during lunch or other breaks. You could suggest making up work time for time spent pumping milk. If your day care is near your workplace, try to arrange to go there to breastfeed your baby during work time. If you can’t breastfeed your baby directly during your work breaks, plan to leave your expressed or pumped milk for your baby. The milk can be given to your baby by the caregiver with a bottle or cup.

The Office on Women's Health and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has created The Business Case for Breastfeeding, a manual that helps business owners and employees support breastfeeding in the workplace. It includes tools you can use to help make your workplace a more breastfeeding-friendly environment, including:

A letter your state's health commissioner can send to employers (PDF, 152 Kb)
A letter you can ask your doctor to send to your employer (PDF, 92 Kb).
You can also share the program's information with your supervisor or your company's human resources department.

5. Will my partner be jealous if I breastfeed?

If you prepare your partner in advance, there should be no jealousy. Explain that you need support. Discuss the important benefits of breastfeeding. Explain that not making formula means more rest. Be sure to emphasize how much money will be saved. It would cost over $300 a month to pay for formula — money that could go to bills, savings, or a vacation. Explain that breastfeeding will give the child the best start at life, with benefits that can last well into childhood. Your partner can help by changing and burping the baby, sharing chores, and simply sitting with you and the baby to enjoy the special mood that breastfeeding creates. Your partner can also feed the baby pumped milk.

Learn more about Family and Partner Support.

6. If I have small breasts or very large breasts, can I still breastfeed?

Of course! Breast size is not related to the ability to produce milk for a baby. Breast size is due to the amount of fatty tissue in the breast and the milk storage capacity of your breast. Small breasts make plenty of milk; they just do not store a lot of milk. Therefore babies will breastfeed often from a mother with smaller breasts. Large breasts make plenty of milk, too. Women with large breasts can have special problems with positioning and latch. They may need help from a professional to find comfortable ways to breastfeed and ways to improve the baby's latch.

7. Can I still breastfeed if I have had breast surgery?

How much milk you can produce depends on how your surgery was done, where your incisions are, and the reasons for your surgery. Women who have had incisions in the fold under the breasts are less likely to have problems making milk than women who have had incisions around or across the areola, which can cut into milk ducts and nerves. Women who have had breast implants usually breastfeed successfully. If you ever had surgery on your breasts for any reason, talk with a lactation consultant. If you are planning breast surgery, talk with your surgeon about ways he or she can preserve as much of the breast tissue and milk ducts as possible.

8. Can I breastfeed if I become ill?

Yes! Most common illnesses, such as colds, flu, or diarrhea, can't be passed through breast milk, and your milk will have antibodies in it to help protect your baby from getting the same sickness.

9. Do I have to restrict my sex life while breastfeeding?

No. But, if you are having vaginal dryness, you can try more foreplay and water-based lubricants. You can feed your baby or express some milk before lovemaking so your breasts will be more comfortable and less likely to leak. During sex, you also can put pressure on the nipple when it lets down or have a towel handy to catch the milk.

10. Do I still need birth control if I am breastfeeding?

Breastfeeding can delay the return of normal ovulation and menstrual cycles. But, like other forms of birth control, breastfeeding is not a sure way to prevent pregnancy. You should still talk with your doctor or nurse about birth control choices that are compatible with breastfeeding.

11. Can I breastfeed if I smoke?

If you smoke tobacco, it is best for you and your baby if you try to quit as soon as possible. If you can't quit, it is still better to breastfeed since your baby is at higher risk of having respiratory problems and for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breastfeeding lowers the risk of both of these health problems in your baby. Be sure to smoke away from your baby and change clothes to keep your baby away from the secondhand smoke and chemicals on your clothing.

Learn more about Smoking and How To Quit.

12. Can I breastfeed if I drink alcohol?

You should avoid drinking large quantities of alcohol if you are a breastfeeding mother. If you have an occasional drink of alcohol, you should wait for about two hours to pass before breastfeeding. Also, many babies don't like the taste of your milk after you have had alcohol and will breastfeed more once the alcohol is out of your system.

13. Will my baby get enough vitamin D if I breastfeed?

All infants and children, including those who are exclusively breastfed and those who are fed formula, should have at least 400 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day, starting during the first two months of life, to help them build strong bones. New research suggests that mothers should be getting 200-400 IU of vitamin D per day to ensure plenty of vitamin D in her milk and for her own health. You can buy vitamin D supplements for infants at a drug store or grocery store. Sunlight can be a major source of vitamin D, but it is hard to measure how much sunlight your baby gets. Ask your doctor and your baby's doctor about vitamin D as well as sun exposure.

14. Does my breastfed baby need vaccines? Is it safe for me to get a vaccine when I'm breastfeeding?

Yes. Vaccines are very important to your baby's health. Breastfeeding may also enhance your baby's response to certain immunizations, providing more protection. Follow the schedule your doctor gives you and, if you miss any, check with him or her about getting your baby back on track. Breastfeeding while the vaccine is given to your baby — or immediately afterwards — can help relieve pain and sooth an upset baby. Most nursing mothers may also receive vaccines. Breastfeeding does not affect the vaccine, and vaccines are not harmful to your breast milk.

15. What should I do if my baby bites me?

If your baby starts to clamp down, you can put your finger in his or her mouth and take him or her off of your breast with a firm, "No." Try not to yell as it may scare the baby. If your baby continues to bite you, you can try a few things:

Stop the feeding immediately so the baby is not tempted to get another reaction from you. Don't laugh. This is part of your baby learning limits.
Offer a teething toy, or a snack or drink from a cup instead.
Put your baby down for a moment to show that biting brings a negative consequence. You can then pick him up again to give comfort.

16. I just found out that I’m pregnant. Can I still breastfeed my toddler or other baby?

Breastfeeding during your next pregnancy is not a risk to either the breastfeeding toddler or to the new developing baby. If you are having some problems in your pregnancy such as uterine pain or bleeding, a history of preterm labor, or problems gaining weight during pregnancy, your doctor may advise you to wean. Some women also choose to wean at this time because they have nipple soreness caused by pregnancy hormones, are nauseous, or find that their growing stomachs make breastfeeding uncomfortable. Your toddler also may decide to wean on his own because of changes in the amount and flavor of your milk. He or she will need additional food and drink because you will likely make less milk during pregnancy.

If you keep nursing your toddler after your baby is born, you can feed your newborn first to ensure he or she gets the colostrum. Once your milk production increases a few days after birth you can decide how to best meet everyone's needs, especially the new baby's needs for you and your milk. You may want to ask your partner to help you by taking care of one child while you are breastfeeding. Also, you will have a need for more fluids, healthy foods, and rest because you are taking care of yourself and two small children.

17. Can I breastfeed if I adopted my baby?

Many mothers who adopt want to breastfeed their babies and can do it successfully with some help. Many will need to supplement their breast milk with donated breast milk or infant formula, but some adoptive mothers can breastfeed exclusively, especially if they have been pregnant before. Lactation is a hormonal response to a physical action, and so the stimulation of the baby nursing causes the body to see a need for and produce milk. The more the baby nurses, the more a woman's body will produce milk.

If you are adopting and want to breastfeed, talk with both your doctor and a lactation consultant. They can help you decide the best way to try to establish a milk supply for your new baby. You might be able to prepare by pumping every three hours around the clock for two to three weeks before your baby arrives, or you can wait until the baby arrives and start to breastfeed then. Devices such as a supplemental nursing system (SNS) or a lactation aid can help ensure that your baby gets enough nutrition and that your breasts are stimulated to produce.

This information taken from (click image to link):

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

From the Experts

We know that breastfeeding is a safe, time-proven feeding method that helps infants to have a healthful start in life.
So unless there are contraindications that warrant a woman to not begin or to interrupt or stop breastfeeding (see http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/disease/contraindicators.htm for further information), women should be encouraged and given the necessary tools with which to breastfeed their infants. The American Dietetic Association (ADA) has long recognized the value of breastfeeding.
For most women, breastfeeding is biologically possible. Both babies and mothers gain many benefits from breastfeeding (see http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding/benefits/#a). Breast milk is easy to digest and contains antibodies that can protect infants from bacterial and viral infections. Also, research indicates that women who breastfeed may have lower rates of certain breast and ovarian cancers.

What about working mothers?

A common reason cited for not planning to breastfeed is that the mother will be returning to work. Women are a significant part of the work force.
One out of three women will return to work within 3 months of giving birth and two out of three women will return to work within 6 months of giving birth. Many mothers will return within 6 weeks or even sooner.
Until recently, when breastfeeding mothers returned to work, they faced the challenge of maintaining an adequate milk supply. But many employers have discovered that accommodating employees who breastfeed is good business.
The Office on Women’s Health in the US Department of Health and Human Services notes that the health benefits to mother and baby conveyed by breastfeeding translate into reduced costs to employers due to lower health care costs, de-creased absenteeism, enhanced productivity, improved employee satisfaction, and a better corporate image.
It is feasible for women to breastfeed in many work environments. Accommodating breastfeeding is not complicated, but as with other work-site issues, clarifying mutual expectations and understanding local policy will minimize concerns. The key needs are basic: time, a location in which to pump or express the breast milk, and employer-employee communication. When child care is on-site or nearby and schedules are supportive, breastfeeding can continue seamlessly.

—Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, MD, MPH Acting US Surgeon General
US Department of Health and Human Services
Journal of the AMERICAN DIETETIC ASSOCIATION - Volume 108, Issue 7 (July 2008) – page 1106 Copyright © 2008 by the American Dietetic Association
(For full article see http://www.4woman.gov/breastfeeding/SG_081508.pdf)