We are approaching the end of August and it wouldn’t be fair to leave it behind without broaching the topic of breastfeeding. As a mother and physician, I am a huge advocate of breastfeeding and encourage those who wish to do so. There are multiple health benefits for baby and mother as well as the emotional bond that is created. It’s important to remember that breastfeeding is a choice. The benefits of breastfeeding are pretty established as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. However, some mothers may not be able to breastfeed for personal or medical reasons and that is ok too. Providing appropriate nutrition for our little ones is any mother’s desire; both breast milk and formula can achieve just that.
I have breastfed all three of my children and am still nursing my 15 month old son. Breastfeeding is not easy at first and it takes some time to find an appropriate latch and to feel comfortable as some may deal with cracked nipples and discomfort that I promise does get better. In my experience, it takes a good 6 weeks to adapt and in the first several weeks it sometimes felt like I was nursing all day long (15-20 minutes of nursing every 2 to 2.5 hours in the beginning was not unusual). A little struggle in the beginning is normal but once that is surpassed, it is an amazing bond between you and your baby (or babies) and it actually becomes much easier.
I highly recommend that expectant mothers educate themselves about breastfeeding prior to the arrival of their baby (or babies) to get a feel for what to expect and understand what it entails. For new mothers who wish to breastfeed and find themselves having a difficult time in the beginning, I highly recommend seeking help sooner rather than later. Lactation Consultants are a valuable resource available to us and can assist us with latch issues, feeding difficulties, breastfeeding techniques, etc.
I highly recommend the following online resources for breastfeeding:
I highly recommend the following breastfeeding support groups on Facebook (they are closed forums but you may request to be added):
1. Dairy Queens
2. Working Dairy Queens (for mothers who work and pump)
** These groups are for support and there are many knowledgeable mothers that can help you with some questions you may have. However, if you are seeking medical advice, please contact your physician or lactation consultant.
For me, breastfeeding has been an integral part of being a mother to my children. Each ounce of milk I have fed them has culminated in a lifetime connection that will forever remain in my heart.
Weekly Exclusive to aMother Adventure by:
Laura Soto, D.O.
Family Medicine Physician
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Picture by: Elizabeth Star Photography (https://www.facebook.com/ElizabethStarPhotography)