Becoming a parent brings many challenges and choices. Modern mothers have access to many sources of information and guidance, including their pediatricians. When new mothers are deciding to breastfeed, pediatricians at Touchpoint Pediatrics in Chatham, New Jersey, encourage them to provide their babies with this excellent source of nutrition and beneficial antibodies. There are also alternative options, such as formula, for families where breastfeeding isn’t possible or not preferred. The independent practice offers personalized care for babies and kids, serving families throughout Morristown, Summit, Berkeley Heights, Hoboken, and the surrounding areas.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding your baby gives them the best start in life. Touchpoint Pediatrics encourages parents to breastfeed as long as possible, as it increases the health benefits. Breast milk is composed of important nutrients, hormones, and antibodies. It aids in the development of immunity to illnesses, including the following:
- Gastrointestinal distress
- Ear infections
- Type 1 diabetes
- Childhood leukemia
Breast milk enables mothers to share antibodies with their babies, and these offer protection from illness and disease, including harmful bacteria and viruses. The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is also reduced by breastfeeding.
What Are the Health Advantages of Breast Milk?
Breast milk changes over the life of the nursing baby, providing new benefits as the child grows. From the first days of birth through six months, our pediatricians recommend exclusively breastfeeding your baby. After the six-month mark, we encourage parents to introduce foods and continue breastfeeding until the baby is at least 12 months old.
This yellow “liquid gold” is the rich first milk mothers can provide to their babies with breastfeeding. For the first three to five days, colostrum provides help for the baby’s digestive system, which is new and extremely small. These initial small feedings of colostrum have a big impact on the health of your baby. As the child starts consuming larger meals, the breast milk changes in composition and a new phase of feeding begins.
Mature Breast Milk
When the mother’s body switches from colostrum to mature breast milk, it contains a different composition of fats, sugars, water, and proteins that help the baby grow and develop. It could be that the baby’s saliva triggers the production of milk that best suits your baby’s stage of development. In addition, formula feeding can be more stressful on the baby’s developing digestive system.
How Does Breastfeeding Help New Mothers?
Breastfeeding can help improve maternal health, as well as infant health. Providing breast milk for your baby can help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, ovarian cancer, and breast cancer. The release of the hormone oxytocin that occurs during breastfeeding aids physical and emotional health and assists the uterus in returning to its normal size after childbirth. Additionally, postpartum blood loss is reduced.
Oxytocin also helps calm both mother and baby, aiding digestion and sleep patterns. It is also thought that breastfeeding helps new mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight more quickly, but the connection is not completely understood.
Other Benefits Underline the Importance of Breastfeeding
Families that choose breastfeeding for its positive effect on the health of mother and baby are also making life a little bit easier in some ways. Breast milk is available and ready at the right temperature for feeding when the baby is hungry. When families are on the go, mothers don’t have to worry about finding facilities for mixing formula or sterilizing bottles. Breastfeeding is also comforting and calming, which can be a great help when traveling. Mothers who pump breastmilk, so that other family members can take turns feeding or for times they must be away, can be assured that the food provided for their baby is of the best quality available. Touchpoint Pediatrics recommends taking a breastfeeding class during pregnancy and consulting with certified lactation consultants.
Are There Other Options Besides Breastfeeding?
Despite the many advantages of breastfeeding for babies and their mothers, there are some cases where it’s not a viable option for families. For example, some mothers are unable to produce a healthy supply of breast milk, while others may take medications or undergo medical treatments that can render breastfeeding unsafe. In other cases, families simply don’t want to breastfeed.
Touchpoint Pediatrics is here to support families interested in alternatives to breastfeeding. Our pediatricians can help them locate the best formulas for meeting their needs and direct them to other choices. Our goal is to assist all families in ensuring the optimal health of their newborns.
Find Pediatricians That Understand and Support Breastfeeding
It is important for parents that they find pediatricians who understand why breastfeeding is important. The health benefits for both mother and baby, as well as the emotional closeness and connection that it can foster, are good reasons to consider breastfeeding. The pediatricians at Touchpoint Pediatrics are good partners to have as you explore the best ways to care for your baby. Contact us today.