Breastfeeding, also called nursing, is the CDC and pediatricians’ recommendation for how mothers should feed their babies throughout the first year of life. Although it’s the medical preference, it does not mean that breastfeeding is the only way to give your baby the nutrients he or she needs to thrive. Here’s a closer look at why physicians choose breastfeeding over formula feeding when there is a choice.
The Value of Colostrum
Colostrum is the highly-dense and nutrient-rich first-milk that comes from the breast immediately after the baby is born. You may not even realize your baby is getting anything from your breast during this stage, as this is before your full milk supply comes in. With its abundance of antibodies, this precious colostrum can boost your baby’s immune system within the first hour of his or her life!
Advantages of Breastfeeding for You and Your Baby
There are many reasons why physicians elect breastfeeding as the most preferred feeding choice for growing babies:
- The nutrients in breastmilk are natural and bioavailable
- It provides a tight-knit bonding experience for mother and baby
- Breastmilk contains everything a baby needs for the first six months of life
- Breastmilk changes composition as the baby grows to provide key nutrients each stage of development
- It provides a convenient way to feed your baby anywhere and anytime
- It can help the uterus to return to its pre-pregnancy size
- It helps women lose their pregnancy weight
Don’t Be Hard on Yourself
It is common for breastfeeding to feel new, difficult and even slightly uncomfortably at the start. Not only will you learn your most comfortable and effective position for milk supply but your baby will also learn to latch better. Be patient – newborns can sense your stress!
If nursing your baby is a struggle or not an option at all, don’t be hard on yourself. Breastfeeding is not everyone. In fact, it is not always physically feasible to breastfeed. This can be due to your baby’s latch or sucking reflex, or the anatomy of your nipples. For some moms, it is necessary that other caregivers are available to feed the baby, which can make bottles and formula more convenient. In general, if breastfeeding is adding stress instead of taking it away for you and your baby, it may not be the right option.
We Are Here to Help
At North Point OB/GYN, we encourage new moms to try breastfeeding simply for the remarkable benefits it can give you and your new baby. We can even help you connect with a lactation consultant if you are having trouble in the beginning. However, it is not the only way to provide strong nutrients to your baby, and breastfeeding should never be done out of guilt or shame. If you have questions, concerns, or want help breastfeeding, contact our Cumming practice to learn more. We don’t stop caring for you once your baby is born.