Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Amazing Milk: Made Exclusively for Babies

on August 31, 2015

Breastfeeding is green–an eco-friendly choice:  Babies use human milk efficiently and completely, so diapers hardly smell.  And breastfed babies produce little garbage or pollution compared to the energy needed to produce, package and transport formula and the waste produced from the packaging.

Any time and anywhere:  No need to hide your love away.  Babies can have a snack and a cuddle when out and about with mom.  And in Canada it’s a human right.  Breastmilk is always ready and at the right temperature, whenever and wherever it is needed.  There are clothes that make nursing easy.

Everyone loves money:  Breastfeeding is easy on the budget.  Formula can cost over $1,600 for the first year, not including bottles, nipples, sterilization and time.  Babies who do not get breastmilk have more infections and diseases, even when they’re older children and adults, resulting in higher costs for medications and sick time.  It all adds up!

Love makes a difference:  While mom’s body is feeding the baby, mom and baby need nurturing!  Warm arms around them can make things go more smoothly.  Having a support person is really helpful for a new mom.  Although there is no need to wash bottles, an extra pair of hands is great for soothing and holding, changing diapers, bathing, giving baby (and mom!) a massage and carrying baby safely in a sling for a walk while mom has a warm bath.  All these are wonderful opportunities for partners to bond with their baby and support breastfeeding.

BF family

Mom’s health:  Everyone benefits from breastfeeding, including the mother who makes the milk!

  • Improved mood and relaxation via the hormones prolactin and oxytocin
  • Reduced risk of cancer (breast, ovarian, cervical & uterine)
  • Decreased incidence of heart disease and diabetes
  • Protection against osteoporosis (thin bones)

It’s normal:  A new mother’s body expects to make milk for her baby.  For over 100,000 years humans have fed their young with their milk.  Making milk completes the cycle that started at conception and continued through pregnancy and birth.  “By eating a little extra food and by drinking a little extra water, a woman produces the highest quality food for her baby.”

It’s my body:  A woman’s body goes through many changes during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Having a baby grow inside of you is a powerful thing, but it takes time for the body to recover. Breastfeeding can help!

  • Helps the uterus get back into shape. via oxytocin
  • Helps mothers lose their baby weight
  • Delays the return of a mother’s period and helps space out pregnancies

Baby’s health:  Human milk has all the building blocks a baby needs to develop and grow.  It is a complete food for the first six months of life.  A mother’s milk changes throughout the day to meet the needs of her baby.  If a mother and baby breathe in a germ, the breasts start to put antibodies to that germ into the milk.  Every breastfeed – right up to weaning – gives your child increased immunity against the many germs mom and baby will run into.  Lack of breastmilk puts babies at increased risk for

  • respiratory diseases
  • digestive diseases
  • ear infections
  • eczema
  • diabetes
  • meningitis
  • obesity

Formula is an artificial product made from cow’s milk or soy and is a foreign substance for this new little body.  It can cause changes in the lining of the baby’s gut.  Breastmilk contains prebiotics and probiotics that naturally protect the baby’s gut.  Studies show that a baby has the best chance of growing up healthy by being breastfed.

 Weight

 

Brainy baby:  Human babies are born with only 25% of their brain power ready to use.  Other mammals have 45 to 80%.5.   That’s why baby cows and kittens can walk around and help themselves to their mommies’ milk.  Nature has designed human milk to help a baby’s brain finish growing during the first six months or more.  No other infant food can do what breastmilk can do for IQ.

Small frequent meals establish healthy eating patterns:  Normal portions change with age.  Baby’s stomach at birth is about the size of a cherry!  That is why early milk, colostrum, is very concentrated and in just the right quantity not to overload such a tiny tummy.  No wonder babies love to nurse frequently.  At 5 days old, a little tummy is about the size of a baby’s fist, so it can only hold so much at once!  As a baby grows, mom’s milk production increases and changes in response to his needs.  And milk flow slows down towards the end of a feed, so baby learns what “full” feels like. Breastfeeding helps prevent obesity later in life.

Breastmilk ONLY, Please!  A little bit of formula can have a big effect.  Baby’s system is expecting to have human milk to protect it and nourish it.  One feeding of infant formula can cause small injuries to the stomach lining and upset the delicate balance causing stomach problems or allergies.  It takes two weeks for a baby’s gut to return to normal after a single bottle of non-human milk.  The World Health Organization, Health Canada, the Dietitians of Canada and the Canadian Pediatric Society all recommend that babies receive only human milk for the first six months of their lives.  Advertising implies that formula and human milk are equal – but they aren’t and never will be.  Formulas do not have germ-fighting factors like a mother’s milk does.  Powdered formula is not a sterile product and can sometimes contain dangerous bacteria.  If you think your baby needs formula, talk to a health professional about your concerns and how to minimize the risks.  You might decide your baby doesn’t need formula or there may be other options to try first.

Every baby is unique:  Babies don’t follow rule books, so getting together with other mothers shows how different babies can be:  there’s a range of “normal.”  Mothers learn about breastfeeding by seeing it, and it’s fun to be around breastfeeding mothers and babies, too.  Whatever plan the mother has – staying home, going back to work or travelling – breastfeeding can fit into her life.

La Leche League group meeting

La Leche League group meeting

 

 

Support helps:  Most breastfeeding challenges can be solved with information and support.  A La Leche League Leader can help:  just what a breastfeeding family needs!  When breastfeeding doesn’t feel good, in any way, it’s best to get help quickly.  A trained La Leche League Leader is as close as the phone or computer.

Further information: www.lllc.ca/breastfeedinginformation and The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding. You can also find us on Facebook or Twitter.

Amazing Milk, fully referenced, is available free in English and Chinese from our website http://www.lllc.ca/Information-sheets .

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

 

If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at http://www.lllc.ca/donate  so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!

 

 

 

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