breastfeeding

Why Breastfeed?

Breast milk is full of antibodies and nutrients for your growing baby. As your baby grows and changes, your milk changes too, becoming the perfect mixture of fat, protein, sugar and water that your baby needs. Breast milk is easier to digest than formula, requires no preparation (unless you’re pumping and using bottles), and even helps to ward off ear infections, diarrhea, pneumonia and other bacterial and viral infections.

Breastfeeding is also beneficial to mom! Breastfeeding has been linked to lower risks of Type 2 Diabetes, Breast Cancer, Ovarian Cancer and Postpartum Depression, burns a ton of calories, helps your uterus get back to normal more quickly following delivery, and can be an effective form of birth control.

Need another good reason?  It’s free!

According to the Center for Disease Control’s 2014 Breastfeeding Report Card, breastfeeding rates are on the rise, with 77 percent of new moms in North Carolina starting off breastfeeding their newborns. But, the length of time a baby is exclusively breastfed for continues to be much lower. Many leading health organizations recommend that infants breastfeed for at least 12 months, with exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months (meaning not in combination with other foods or liquids). In North Carolina, only 43 percent of infants are exclusively breastfed at 3 months, and even less – 21 percent – are exclusively breastfed by the time they’re 6 months old. While there are many reasons as to why a woman may stop nursing, some of the more common reasons include having a rough start/difficulty nursing, a discomfort with nursing in public, and perhaps the biggest reason of all, the need for mom to return to work, where pumping is a challenge.

What can we do to help mamas breastfeed longer? Through spreading knowledge, offering support and providing encouragement. Many women give up on breastfeeding because they’ve encountered an issue that they aren’t sure how to resolve – but by providing plenty of information and loads of support, we can change that. Through support and encouragement we can let other moms know it’s OK to nurse in public, and with enough support we can help working moms find ways to continue breastfeeding while on the job.

For now, we present to you our Mom’s Guide to Breastfeeding! Anything we need to add? Let us know!

The Basics: Timeline of a Breastfed Baby

The early days with your baby are overwhelming enough as it is, with postpartum recovery, diaper changes, feedings and you know, the whole fact that you just had a freaking baby. Breastfeeding evolves as time goes on, but starting can be confusing and different for every mom (and every baby). Check out our Timeline of a Breastfed Baby to get an idea of what those early days, weeks and months will likely look like.

Nursing Supplies

While it’s true that one of the best perks of breastfeeding is that all your baby needs is YOU, there are plenty of supplies available to help making nursing a successful and (hopefully!) easy and heck, even fun experience for nursing mamas.

Identifying Common Issues

Ideal as breastfeeding may be, let’s face it – it’s not without its own share of issues. More common hiccups include Thrush, cracked and/or bleeding nipples, engorgement, Mastitis, and clogged milk ducts. Luckily, these can be taken care of (some more easily than others), and you can still continue to have a long nursing relationship with your baby afterwards! Be sure to check out three posts in particular from our mamas who have been-there, done-that: The Scoop on Treating Thrush, Dealing with Mastitis and Supply Issues.

Where to Find Support for Moms

Having a strong network of support makes a huge difference when you’re breastfeeding, particularly when the experience you’re having is less than the perfection you were promised from every lactation consultant you met. Aside from family and friends, be sure to keep a strong foundation of supporters around you to whom you can turn to for any questions or issues arise.

Weaning

At some point we’ll all need to wean our babes; but doing so incorrectly or too quickly can lead to health issues for mom and may result in some emotional outbursts from baby. Follow our tips for successful weaning, and let us know what worked for you.

Pumping Confessions

Breastfeeding and working full-time is an incredible challenge; read how one new momma is making it work.