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Benefits of Breastfeeding

August 6th, 2018

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Choosing to breastfeed your baby has multiple health benefits for the baby as well as the mother. There is a decreased risk of:

Baby

Mother

•      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.

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