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The Benefits of Breastfeeding

By Brenda Barlowe, CNM, MSN

Breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your new baby. It’s also one of the best ways to bond with baby and has numerous benefits for the health of both mom and child. However, breastfeeding can also be a confusing and frustrating time. Often times, new moms worry baby isn’t getting enough nutrition, wonder why their baby is rejecting their breasts, and can, in general, find the whole process difficult. The truth is that, even though breasts produce milk naturally, new moms and babies still have to learn to breastfeed together. Confidence is gained with practice, and breastfeeding can often require taking extra steps to get it right.

If you’re struggling to breastfeed correctly or want to learn more about the process in general, keep reading below.

How to Learn More About Breastfeeding

There are many resources available for support and additional information about breastfeeding.  Some examples include the internet, lactation specialists, nurses, midwives, physicians, community lactation groups, and professional organizations like La Leche League.  However, it’s important to note that every mom and baby pair is unique. What you learn best from might be different than other women in your life, so take the time to explore all your options.

Seek help, be calm, and don’t give up if you want to breastfeed your baby!

Benefits of Breastfeeding

There are so many benefits to breastfeeding. For starters, breastmilk is the perfect food and is easily digested.

Other benefits include:

  • reduces risks of viruses and infections of respiratory/ GI tract, asthma, and ears
  • protects against allergies and eczema
  • lessens SIDS risk
  • contains immunity-boosting antibodies and healthy enzymes
  • protects against diseases with mom’s immune factors and white blood cells
  • new studies show that breastmilk may decrease adult obesity and increase IQ scores

There are benefits for mom also:

  • lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancer
  • helps mom to lose pregnancy weight faster by burning 300-500 calories per day
  • may reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • saves money (formula cost approximately $134-491/month)
  • promotes closeness to infant
  • cultivates friendships with other breastfeeding moms.

How is Breast Milk Produced?

4-5 ounces of breastmilk is the nutritional equivalent of 8 ounces of formula. The body’s production of breastmilk is linked to the needs of the infant. It increases during growth spurts and as baby nurses more frequently. If production is an issue, as in premature birth, then there are herbs to help increase the milk supply as well as pumping. Herbs that are helpful are alfalfa, milk thistle, and mothers milk, to name a few.

This article is meant to encourage breastfeeding if only for a week, month, or year.  Any amount is beneficial for baby and challenges can be overcome if they arrive. If you need assistance with breastfeeding or would like to learn more, click here to contact the experts at Covington Women’s Health Specialists.

Dr. Larrimore Appears on “The Weekly Check-Up”

Dr. Cathy Larrimore of Covington Women’s Health Specialist’s appeared on “The Weekly Check-Up” on News/Talk WSB Radio on Sunday, September 1st.

During her segment, Dr. Larrimore discussed a variety of women’s health issues such as the Zika virus, cervical cancer, HPV vaccinations, and how age can affect pregnancies. 

Dr. Larrimore also explained how her practice, Covington’s Women’s Health Specialists, offers an intimate option that is between a large hospital and home births. She talked about the risks that can come with home deliveries and how it’s safer to deliver in a hospital or center. Dr. Larrimore commented, “That’s why–if you can offer some natural childbirth techniques in the hospital–it’s the best scenario.” 

Additionally, Dr. Larrimore provided details on a program that her practice offers called CenteringPregnancy. Visits at this clinic last two hours and occur with a consistent group of 8 to 12 women who all have similar due dates. 

Participants learn how to take their own vital signs and be active in their prenatal care. Topics discussed during these visits include what to expect during labor, childcare, breastfeeding, parenting, and healthy diet habits.

Dr. Larrimore explained, “I like to think of the CenteringPregnancy program as excellent medical care combined with group therapy and good old fashioned peer pressure. The program is the only method that’s been proven to eliminate the health discrepancies between white and black expectant mothers.” 

Listen to archive of this show.