Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Breastfeeding Early and Often

on September 16, 2013

 

Mother and baby need to be together early and often to establish a satisfying relationship and an adequate milk supply.

This concept doesn’t sound that revolutionary today. Rooming-in, where newborns sleep in their mothers’ rooms, is widely practiced in hospital settings. Separation between a mother and her healthy, full-term baby is generally minimized. But this was not always the case.

Newborn

There’s actually research that supports keeping mother and baby together.  Early and frequent breastfeeding helps to establish and build milk supply. It also ensures that the baby receives sufficient colostrum, the “pre-milk” that mothers produce in the first few days after birth. Colostrum contains high levels of antibodies that protect the baby against germs. It coats the intestine, preventing the absorption of allergens. Colostrum also has a laxative effect, helping to flush out the substance that can lead to jaundice.

Research also shows us that there are many benefits to a mother holding her newborn skin-to-skin  – that is, dressing her baby in nothing but a diaper, and holding him or her against her bare chest. This is sometimes also called kangaroo care, and it helps a newborn to regulate body temperature, breathing and heart rate. It also encourages the baby to seek the breast, and increases milk supply. And it’s really soothing and calming for both mother and baby. In order for this to happen, though, the mother and baby need to be together.

Early and Often

Having research to back up La Leche League philosophy is great. But the reality is that most mothers don’t want to be with their babies because a researcher tells them it’s the best thing to do. Most mothers want to be with their babies because it feels natural. You’ve spent nine months growing this little person, and the last thing you want is to send him or her away. You want to take the time to get to know your baby, and get your relationship off to a great start. The fact that it has many other benefits is really just the icing on the cake.

by Amber Strocel, La Leche League Leader http://www.lllc.ca/early-and-often

 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to a La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking http://www.lllc.ca/find-group  or  Internationally http://www.llli.org/

 

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