Benefits of Breastfeeding
Choosing to breastfeed your baby has multiple health benefits for the baby as well as the mother. There is a decreased risk of:
• Ear infections
• Postpartum bleeding
• Respiratory infections
• Breast cancer
• Bacteremia (blood infection)
• Ovarian cancer
• Type 1 and 2 diabetes
• Leukemia and lymphoma
• Childhood obesity
*** Mother’s also have an earlier return to pre-pregnancy weight
Things to know:
- Breastfed infants should be fed a minimum of 8-10 times per day, but will likely feed more often if allowed to feed on demand. Feeding more frequently does not necessarily indicate a low supply.
- Putting the infant to the breast any time they show hunger cues will help to establish and maintain a good supply.
- Early hunger cues include turning the head and opening the mouth, putting the hands to the mouth, and smacking the lips. Crying is a late hunger cue.
- Infants should have a minimum of 1 wet diaper per day of life until day 6, then 6 wet diapers per day after.
- Infants should have at least one soft yellow stool per day. After the first month, it is not uncommon for breastfed infants to go multiple days without pooping. Up to 1 week with no stool is acceptable as long as the stool is soft and the baby is not straining to go.
- Infants will often take up to 1 hour per feeding during the first few months, but they will become more efficient as they grow and the time for feeding will lessen significantly.
- There are very few medications which are contraindicated for breastfeeding. Speak to your doctor before interrupting breastfeeding if you have any concerns.
- Breast pumps are a great tool for women who plan to return to work or who anticipate being separated from their infant at the time of feeding.
- Electric breast pumps are covered under most insurance plans. Speak to your OB/GYN and your insurance company. Manual breast pumps are also available at most pharmacies.
- Expressed breast milk can be stored at room temperature for 4-6 hours, in the fridge for 6 days, in a regular freezer for 6 months, and in a deep freezer for 1 year.
If you have any questions or difficulty with breastfeeding, please reach out for help. Good Samaritan Hospital has International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who can be reached at 631-376-3000.