Today, most mothers are choosing to breastfeed their infants. Breastfeeding may be "natural" but it may not be easy. Many mothers are surprised when their babies don't seem to know what to do. Our "Breastfeeding Class" offers many suggestions to improve success. The class describes benefits, positioning and latch, common questions and concerns, resources in the community, use of breastpumps and milk storage. We strongly encourage your participation. Father's are especially invited to attend.
Breastmilk is the World's Best Baby Food! The American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization agree that breastfeeding is the best choice for the newborn. Listed below are a few of the benefits gained for mother and baby:
- Breast milk provides perfect infant nutrition: Human milk is uniquely superior for infant feeding. Formula companies attempt to copy many of the components of human milk but it is not same.
- Simple and easy: Breast milk is the right temperature and there are no bottles to mix or warm.
- Less expensive: Breastfeeding 1 infant for 1 year can save over $1800.00. Formula costs approximately $150.00+ each month.
- Promotes maternal health and recovery: Mom's weight returns to normal faster --plus, she can eat 2000+ calories a day! Breastfeeding "shrinks" the uterus faster and reduces the risk of maternal hemorrhage.
- Protects baby: Breastfed babies have fewer allergies, colds, ear problems, stomach problems and infections
- Reduces risks: Fewer cases of childhood diabetes, asthma, intestinal disorders, cancers and overweight children.
- Gentle food for your baby: Easily digested and less stomach problems.
- Mom can breastfeed if she works: Workable solutions are available.
- Relaxes mom: Hormone released causes warm and cozy feelings.
- Less risk for breast cancer: Studies show less breast and ovarian cancer with breastfeeding moms and female infants.
Myths about breastfeeding? Responses from Dr Jack Newman, MD, FRCPC
More information from Dr Jack Newman and other helpful breastfeeding links:
- Many women do not produce enough milk.
Not true! The vast majority of women produce more than enough milk. Indeed, an overabundance of milk is common.
- It is normal for breastfeeding to hurt.
Not true! Though some tenderness during the first few days is relatively common, this should be a temporary situation which lasts only a few days and should never be so bad that the mother dreads nursing. Any pain that is more than mild is abnormal and is almost always due to the baby latching on poorly.
- There is no (not enough) milk during the first 3 or 4 days after birth.
Not true! It often seems like that because the baby is not latched on properly and therefore is unable to get the milk. Once the mother's milk is abundant, a baby can latch on poorly and still may get plenty of milk.
- A baby should be on the breast 20 (10, 15, 7.6) minutes on each side.
Not true! However, a distinction needs to be made between "being on the breast" and "breastfeeding". If a baby is actually drinking for most of 15-20 minutes on the first side, he may not want to take the second side at all. If he drinks only a minute on the first side, and then nibbles or sleeps, and does the same on the other, no amount of time will be enough.
- Pumping is a good way of knowing how much milk the mother has.
Not true! How much milk can be pumped depends on many factors, including the mother's stress level. The baby who nurses well can get much more milk than his mother can pump. Pumping only tells you have much you can pump.
- Breastmilk does not contain enough iron for the baby's needs.
Not true! Breastmilk contains just enough iron for the baby's needs. If the baby is full term he will get enough iron from breastmilk to last him at least the first 6 months. Formulas contain too much iron, but this quantity may be necessary to ensure the baby absorbs enough to prevent iron deficiency. The iron in formula is poorly absorbed, and most of it, the baby poops out. Generally, there is no need to add other foods to breastmilk before about 6 months of age.
- It is easier to bottle feed than to breastfeed.
Not true! Or, this should not be true. However, breastfeeding is made difficult because women often do not receive the help they should to get started properly. A poor start can indeed make breastfeeding difficult. But a poor start can also be overcome. Breastfeeding is often more difficult at first, due to a poor start, but usually becomes easier later.
- Breastfeeding ties the mother down.
Not true! But it depends how you look at it. A baby can be nursed anywhere, anytime, and thus breastfeeding is liberating for the mother. No need to drag around bottles or formula. No need to worry about where to warm up the milk. No need to worry about sterility. No need to worry about how your baby is, because he is with you.
- There is no way to know how much breastmilk the baby is getting.
Not true! There is no easy way to measure how much the baby is getting, but this does not mean that you cannot know if the baby is getting enough. The best way to know is that the baby actually drinks at the breast for several minutes at each feeding (You can hear swallowing). Other ways also help show that the baby is getting plenty of wet diapers after 4 days of age.
- Modern formulas are almost the same as breastmilk.
Not true! The same claim was made in 1900 and before. Modern formulas are only superficially similar to breastmilk. Every correction of a deficiency in formulas is advertised as an advance. Fundamentally they are inexact copies based on outdated and incomplete knowledge of what breastmilk is. Formulas contain no antibodies, no living cells, no enzymes, no hormones. They contain much more aluminum, manganese, cadmium and iron than breastmilk. They contain significantly more protein than breastmilk. The proteins and fats are fundamentally different from those in breastmilk. Formulas do not vary from the beginning of the feed to the end of the feed, or from day 1 to day 7 to day 30, or from woman to woman, or from baby to baby... Your breastmilk is made as required to suit your baby. Formulas are made to suit every baby, and thus no baby. Formulas succeed only at making babies grow well, usually, but there is more to breastfeeding than getting the baby to grow quickly.
- If the mother has an infection she should stop breastfeeding.
Not true! With very, very few exceptions, the baby will be protected by the mother's continuing to breastfeed. By the time the mother has fever (or cough, vomiting, diarrhea, rash, etc) she has already given the baby the infection, since she has been infectious for several days before she even knew she was sick. The baby's best protection against getting the infection is for the mother to continue breastfeeding. If the baby does get sick, he will be less sick if the mother continues breastfeeding. Besides, maybe it was the baby who gave the infection to the mother, but the baby did not show signs of illness because he was breastfeeding. Also, breast infections, including breast abscess, though painful, are not reasons to stop breastfeeding. Indeed, the infection is likely to settle more quickly if the mother continues breastfeeding on the affected side.
Breastmilk is produced by supply and demand. It is important to breastfeed or pump a minimum or 8 - 12 times each day to establish your milk supply. If you feed and/or pump often in the first 2 weeks, your breasts will develop full capacity to make abundant milk throughout your interest in breastfeeding. Failure to remove milk may influence this capacity.
Most mothers only produce drops of breastmilk when they first start pumping. This is normal. It will help to think about the baby and touch the baby (or some item that belongs to the baby) to send the "brain message" to make and eject milk.. The more you pump, the more milk will follow. It may take up to 8 times pumping in 24 hours to see ½ - 1 ounce of milk produced. (Pumping breast milk is not a good measure of how much your baby actually receives. A baby correctly latched on the breast may receive two or more times the amount of milk that you pump). Additional tips about pumping:
- Do not purchase a pump until you have delivered your baby and determine your need after delivery. There are several quality breastpumps on the market (Medela, Avent, Purely Yours by Egnel that come with double set up) and a lot of imitations that are expensive but may not work. If you do purchase a pump, do NOT break the seal. Opened breastpump equipment CANNOT be returned.
- Read the label describing pump use and warranty information! If you need a pump for daily use, be sure label guarantees product for 1 year of use. There are expensive breast pumps, which only offer a 3-month, or no guarantee of results.
- Quality electric breastpumps are expensive. They may cost more than $280.00 however the cost of formula for the first month exceeds $150.00. You decide.
- A hospital grade breast pump is the best option to initially stimulate breastmilk if you and your baby is unable to breastfeed during the first days after birth. This may occur if your infant is premature, ill or unable to sustain a correct latch.
- You may arrange breastpump rental or purchase through The Sinai Center for Women, Monday-Friday 8am till 4pm.
- To find other retail outlets, you may call the Medela Hotline at 1-800-TELL-YOU or go to their web page at www.medela.com.