St. Augustine Woman's Journal - Educational Resource to the Women of St. Johns County Since 2009

The Basics of Breastfeeding

 

June 1, 2019 | View PDF

There are so many decisions to make when preparing to bring home a baby. Is my hospital bag packed? Is the car seat in the car? Have I picked a pediatrician? Names, room colors, setting up daycare. It feels endless. What about how to feed your baby? Are you going to breastfeed or use formula? A combination of the two? Making this decision for your family can feel very personal and is very important. So why not arm yourself with some basic knowledge.

Most health organizations (American Academy of Pediatrics, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist, American College of Nurse Midwives, and the World Health Organization) recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life with the introduction of other foods to complement breast milk at 6 months. While this may seem daunting, breastfeeding for any period of time provides your baby with the best start possible.

Breastfeeding your baby is beneficial for you and your little one. Did you know that babies that are breastfed are less likely to have ear infections, diarrhea and other bacterial and viral infections? Research also suggests that breastfeeding may help to protect against obesity, diabetes, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma, eczema, colitis, and some cancers. The composition of breast milk changes throughout a feed but also throughout your baby’s lifetime. Yes that is right, breast milk changes to give the baby what he or she needs as they grow.

And what about what it does for a mommy? Breastfeeding helps decrease bleeding after a delivery and gets the uterus to go back to a non-pregnant size faster. A woman who breastfeeds for any period is at decreases risk of developing ovarian or breast cancer as they age and even have a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure or diabetes. The hormones that are released at the time of a feeding, oxytocin help induce relaxation and promote bonding. Did we mention that breast milk is FREE and produces less waste for the environment?

There are some mommies that cannot breastfeed. While the list is small, there are certain health issues and medications that would be contraindicated (not recommended) with breastfeeding. It is important to talk to your health care provider if you have had any breast surgeries, are taking daily medications or are being followed for chronic conditions so that you can determine if breast is best for you and your baby. It is also important to let your health care provider know if you are breastfeeding when being treated for any acute illness as well as some medications cross in to the breast milk. Lactmed (https://toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm) is a database run by the US National Library of Medicine that is a good resource to check medication safety for breast milk.

When choosing where to deliver your baby you may want to consider if the facility has received recognition as a “Baby-Friendly” hospital. Those hospitals that have worked to receive accreditation as “baby-friendly” are committed to creating an environment supportive of breastfeeding and implementing system wide policies that have been shown to increase breastfeeding success. Flagler Hospital is working towards recognition as one of 564 “baby-friendly” facilities nationwide. Providing breastfeeding support classes, encouraging rooming in with your baby and helping you breastfeed within your baby’s first hour of life are just three of the ten steps a “baby-friendly” hospital must meet to maintain that recognition.

Once you are home with your baby things can feel overwhelming. Are you making enough milk? Is the baby latching on the right way? How often should the baby eat? How and when do I start pumping to stow away milk so I can return to work? These are all really important questions and the internet may not be the best place to get your answers. Call your pediatrician. Reach out to a lactation consult (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) at the hospital you delivered at or to a certified lactation counselor at the health department. Does your obstetric provider have a lactation specialist on staff? While breast feeding is a “natural option” of feeding your baby, it does not mean that it comes naturally to all. There are people out in the community who want to help, you just need to ask.

Amy Loughlin, ARNP, CNM

My name is Amy Loughlin and I have been practicing midwifery with OB-Gyn Associates since 2007. Midwifery has been my calling since the birth of my son. As a young mother I felt that the midwife who delivered my son not only brought him into the world but helped to transition me into parenthood. Heck, if I could give birth to a baby I could surely be a mom!

I became a certified nurse midwife in 2002 after graduating from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. My first job as a midwife was in rural South Carolina working at a federally funded community health center. It was here that I learned about “being with women” which is what midwifery is all about. I also became a National Health Service Corp Recipient, a program that encourages providers to work in underserved communities.

After five years in South Carolina my husband and son, both avid surfers, asked if we could move to the coast. Our search for a small beach town brought us to St. Augustine and we couldn’t be happier!

Working for OB-Gyn Associates is wonderful. We serve a varied population of families thorough different stages of life. I truly enjoy being the person to help women transition into parenthood just like I did 19 years ago. I also enjoy educating women who want to space out their families. Empowering women to care for themselves is more rewarding than I ever imagined.

 
 

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