Should I breastfeed my baby? This is the question many mothers-to-be ask themselves as they prepare for their new baby to enter the world. Some mothers know they will breastfeed from the moment they find out they are pregnant, while others may want more information on the benefits of breastfeeding. Here's what you should know about breastfeeding and the resources that are available to you.
Making the decision to breastfeed
Your decision to breastfeed with ultimately be determined by a combination of things:
- The benefits for both you and your baby
- The convenience of breastfeeding vs. formula feeding
- Being comfortable and feeling you are able to breastfeed
The benefits of breastfeeding
The most important benefit of breastfeeding is the health it provides to a mother and the baby, and both mentally and physically. Mentally, the skin-to-skin contact that comes with breastfeeding strengthens your bond and communication with your baby, while also soothing your baby and promoting health and development. Physically, the benefits of breastfeeding includes decreased illnesses, and long-term benefits like decreased childhood obesity, and decreased risk for breast and ovarian cancer in mothers.
Another benefit to breastfeeding is the nutrients you can provide for your baby. Breastmilk contains cells, hormones, and antibodies to help protect babies from illness. This nutrition changes to meet your baby's growing needs, as it is the perfect nutrition for your baby.
Breastfeeding compared to formula feeding
There are things to take into consideration when comparing breastfeeding and formula feeding your baby, including:
- Digestion. Breastmilk is more easily digested compared to formula. As your baby grows, breastmilk changes and the nutrient components change to meet the needs of your baby. Formula does not have this benefit.
- Cost. Formula and supplies are additional expenses to caring for a baby. Formula fed babies require more ounces as they grow, therefore making it more expensive.
- Convenience. Breastfeeding does not require bottles, nor the preparation to make them. It's important to think about this benefit as your life is likely to get busy again as your baby grows.
Feeling comfortable and able to breastfeed
Breastfeeding does not always come naturally -- especially in the beginning -- and can leave mothers feeling anxious and defeated. Understanding the process of breastfeeding, and being patient, are helpful tools in discovering if breastfeeding is right for you.
Helpful tips for breastfeeding include:
- Get comfortable
- Help guide your baby
- Get help from a lactation consultant
- Educate yourself
- Find the right position for both you and your baby
- Make sure you're well fed and hydrated so that your baby is well fed
- Listen to your body, and seek help if something is not right
- Relax (stressing about feeding your baby will not help feed your baby)
- Use helpful tools like nipple creams, nipple shields, and lotions
Support and resources from Logansport Memorial Hospital
Logansport Memorial Hospital is a Baby-Friendly hospital and upholds its initiatives in helping mothers achieve successful breastfeeding. Some of these initiatives include:
- Informing all pregnant women of the benefits of breastfeeding
- Showing all mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation
- Practicing "rooming in"
- Facebook support group
- Implementing an in-person support group
Here at Logansport Memorial, we want to ensure that you have all the information about breastfeeding so that you can make an educated decision based on evidence and research. You may find answers to common questions about breastfeeding by downloading our Breastfeeding Guide, as part of our Ultimate Guide to Having a Healthy Pregnancy.
Additional resources available to you include:
- Breastfeeding- Hand Expression
- Dad Guide: Nervous About Breastfeeding
- OTC Medications While Breastfeeding
- LMH Facebook Support Group
Advice from our Lactation Specialists
"Choosing to breastfeed your child is not an easy decision for many new moms. Breastfeeding will not always be easy and does require a time commitment on your part. The number one way to be successful in breastfeeding your child is to have several people supporting you and cheering you on as you go. The benefits far outweigh the struggles, and the bonding is something that is irreplaceable. Amanda and I want nothing more than for you to be successful at breastfeeding your child, and we are excited to work with you when you are here with us. It will be one of the most thrilling, exhausting, and rewarding times of your life. Let us help you reach your goals if you decide breastfeeding is for you." -- Lora Adams, Lactation Specialist
If you would like to speak to Amanda or Lora, our Lactation Specialists, please call (574) 753-1705.
The choice is yours to make
While breastfeeding provides many benefits for you and your baby, choosing whether or not to do so is your choice.
At Logansport Memorial Hospital, we will provide the information -- and support -- you need, no matter what choice you make on how to feed your baby. Our priority is your care and comfort.