Benefit of Breastfeeding for New Moms
My name is Emily Abele. I grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. And now I'm here, starting work at Brookings Health System and with Avera Medical Group, here in Brookings.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers?
In the short term thinking about what moms are kind of interested in, is that it does help moms lose the baby weight, so to speak, and get back to their pre-pregnancy weight a little bit faster just because they are working harder to metabolize and give food to baby. The other things that it does, it lowers their cardiovascular risk, decreases the buildup of plaques, and overall helps them have healthier hearts. Also decreases the risk of diabetes in those mamas. And then other things that are really important are that it decreases the risk of breast and ovarian cancer for the mothers who do breastfeed. So, that's kind of a huge thing that we think about in obstetrics and gynecology as a woman ages for risk factors for those sorts of cancers.
How long should mothers breastfeed their children?
There are guidelines that say to breastfeed for six months and that's what the WHO definitely recommends for sure that amount, but ideally, continuing some breastfeeding until about a year. Mother and infant pairs can choose to breastfeed longer, but there's other food supplies that they need to start getting starting at about six months. So, it starts to be more of a supplement as opposed to something that's actually required.
What should new moms expect when breastfeeding?
There are a lot of different norms for moms that are breastfeeding. So, you can have moms that need to go back to work and so they have to do a lot of pumping and using the pumped breast milk to feed baby. And that is also is breastfeeding and it is a great form of feeding baby, it's gonna give baby still the same nutrition, still the same benefits of breastfeeding. And so, that's definitely a way that if time or space is not an availability for a mother and baby pair to continue breastfeeding together. Or sometimes there are issues with latching and moms and babies just aren't able to get that part going. But they can still pump and give baby the milk and it still is getting the same benefits.
What local resources are available for breastfeeding mothers?
We are a baby-friendly hospital. And so, we have specific education and things that we do to make sure that mothers are successful in breastfeeding. And that includes having lactation consultants that are available for all of our new moms, having nurses and providers that are all on board, and helping with moms getting started breastfeeding. And then we also have something called the Baby Café where moms can come at any point that they're breastfeeding and get support from other moms and from a lactation consultant, be able to do a weigh, feed, weigh type of approach to make sure that you feel like you are feeding baby and baby's getting enough to eat. Because sometimes it's hard not knowing really, oh, I don't know how many ounces baby ate. Are they getting enough? Are they gonna be satisfied? Are they still gonna to be able to grow and being able to have that immediate, yes, baby has gained this many ounces between when we started and when we finished breastfeeding gives moms a lot of reassurance that they're doing something right.
As a mother, why are you choosing to breastfeed?
I am an expecting mother right now and I plan on breastfeeding because I know how good it is for moms and babies. And I am excited to be able to form that bond with my baby. So, it's an exciting time to be able to get to be a part of that and learn what it's like to actually be a mother and feed my child through breastfeeding.