I recently had the chance to attend a webinar discussing the importance of breastfeeding. It was hosted by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) which is considered the gold standard in breastfeeding support and help.
While there are many articles discussing the benefits of breastfeeding all over the internet (and my own site!) I thought it would be helpful to put together a list of breastfeeding tips and advice straight from the breastfeeding experts.
Besides the wonderful bonding experience that I can personally vouch for, there are many benefits to breastfeeding. If you are preparing to breastfeed read these tips first! If you are already breastfeeding I am sure you will find this helpful as well.
Breastfeeding provides unique health benefits for babies.
Breastfeeding protects your baby from acute and chronic disease.
Asthma, type 2 diabetes, childhood leukemia, childhood obesity, ear infections, respiratory infections, and necrotizing enterocolitis which affects pre-term infants.
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of SIDS.
Human milk is like a daily immunization for your baby. The benefits cannot be matched by an artificial substitute.
Breastfeeding also protects the mom's health.
Breastfeeding helps mothers heal from child birth by shrinking the uterus back down to size, and aiding in the healing process.
Breastfeeding lowers the risk of developing many diseases later in life, including breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Breastfeeding may help you burn more calories and lose the baby weight more quickly.
Breastfeeding saves money.
Obviously not paying for formula is a huge money saver.
Another way that breastfeeding saves money is by reducing medical expenses related to illness. Less doctor visits and prescriptions for antibiotics is a money saver.
Breastfeeding takes practice and you may need help.
In the United States the latest statistics show that nearly 80% of women start off breastfeeding, but by 3 months only 40% percent are exclusively breastfeeding. By 6 months close to 50% are still breastfeeding, but exclusively it is only about 18%. By one year about 25% are still breastfeeding non exclusively.
These statistics are improving but they need to be better! Why are 80% starting off but then dropping off so much?
The answer is that we make it hard on women to breastfeed. There is not much support from society, although that is changing. It is critical to get help as soon as you need it and do not wait!
If you need help ask for an I-B-C-L-C - International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, in any health care setting, to get the gold standard in lactation support.
IBCLC is a bit of a long acronym, so an easy way to help remember is that it is five letters.
Ask for 5, can help you keep it in mind.
Getting early help can preserve the breastfeeding relationship and any delay could cause damage. I was so lucky to have the help of a lactation consultant after my first baby was born. My daughter was in the NICU and I needed to pump in order to bring in my milk supply. I can tell you there is no way I would have figured that out on my own without a lactation consultant.
Lactation consultants can help with any breastfeeding issues encountered, such as latch or positioning problems, low milk supply or over supply, and the many other issues that can arise.
So if you need help, remember to ask for 5.
I hope these tips straight from lactation consultants are helpful!
If you are still pregnant and preparing to breastfeed, I truly believe that one of the best things you can do to prepare is line up a support system ahead of time.
Know where you can find or ask for a lactation consultant, take a breastfeeding class if you can, and be ready to ask for help and support as soon as it's needed.