A guest post today from Jessica K., our practice’s breastfeeding specialist!
The joys of pregnancy can be overwhelming, especially when it comes to the choice of nutrition for your soon-to-be newborn, formula or breast milk?
Breast milk has been around since women have become mothers, it is only produced by the female body, and it cannot be artificially replicated, even with the advancements of science and research. Formula companies are starting to be able to artificially make certain proteins that are found in breast milk, but nothing can compare to the real deal. So let’s look a little into some of the things that make breast milk so vitally important to not only your infant, but to your body also.
Breast milk is recommended for the first 6 months of life by the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) as the only form of nutrition. Why is this? If you think about the start of life, your newborn has been using your body for nutrients since conception, so why stop after birth? Your body knows what your baby needs. There are special proteins that help “seal” the gut from potentially deadly pathogens that newborns are especially susceptible to. BM also helps prevent things like NEC (Necrotizing Enterocolitis), which is a problem with the intestines; along with more treatable diseases like Celiac disease.
Breast milk contains antibodies that help fight common illnesses in children like ear infections, colds, pneumonia, and diarrhea. Pneumonia and diarrhea are the two primary causes of childhood mortality world-wide. Breast milk is readily available, and does not need to be prepared. This is important for woman in poorer countries, or countries with poor water quality; this is also important in the case of a natural disaster, when water could be contaminated or unavailable.
Breastfeeding also benefits mothers. Exclusive breastfeeding is associated with a natural (though not fail-safe) method of birth control (98% protection in the first six months after birth). It reduces risks of breast and ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, and postpartum depression. So not only is breast milk so incredibly beneficial to your baby, but can you imagine reducing the risk of female cancers just by using your body for what it was made for? Breast milk also reduces the risk of obesity and diabetes for the child as they grow into adulthood.
When it comes time to start making your decision, do your research. Reach out to healthcare professionals for more information, and to get the answers to your question today. If you decide breastfeeding isn’t for you, that’s okay; but please consider nursing, or pumping for a few days so your infant can reap the benefits from the colostrum-which is basically a concentrated breast milk packed into a small amount (sized just right for baby’s belly), filled with nutrients, antibodies and important fats your baby needs in the first few days of life. Also, make sure you know how to properly mix and store your formula. Make sure you have a back up if your power goes out, you lose water, or if there is a natural disaster. Babies grow and thrive on formula every day, but in the cause of something uncontrollable, like the environment, the only fool-proof nutrition is breastmilk.
Breastfeeding-the all natural, efficient, readily available, baby plumping, liquid power house food. With the help of your pediatrician and breastfeeding counselor, let Pediatric Practices help give your new family the best, and healthiest start it can have!