August is National Breastfeeding Month, which is dedicated to advancing advocacy, protection, support, and promotion of breastfeeding for new moms and babies. It aims to increase public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits that it provides to mothers and their newborns.
Breast Milk 411
Breast milk contains antibodies, which support a baby’s immune system, and the fat content in breast milk is great for a baby’s brain and neurological development!
How do you know if your baby is getting enough milk? One of the easiest signs is to pay attention to what’s coming out “the other end”. The color, texture, and frequency of poops and wet diapers will tell you a lot. Another sign that your baby is getting enough milk is that they are gaining weight.
How much milk your baby needs will change as the baby grows, and your body will adjust to those changes. A mother’s breast milk composition constantly adjusts to meet a growing infant’s nutritional needs. If your baby has a growth spurt, your baby might want to nurse more often or for longer periods. Your body will adjust to that, too.
Breastfeeding and Baby’s Immunity
Breast milk provides abundant and easily absorbed nutritional components, antioxidants, enzymes, immune properties, and live antibodies from mother to baby.
Passive immunity is the short-term protection against germs that occurs from introducing antibodies from another person. Mother’s more mature immune system makes antibodies to the germs to which she and her baby have been exposed. As mothers nurse, they secrete antibodies which are proteins responsible for immunity. Infants rely on passive immunity for their initial protection against viruses and bacteria.
Research has shown that babies exposed to breast milk have a decreased risk of certain diseases and illnesses, including asthma, diabetes, and respiratory and ear infections. There have also been numerous studies supporting that breastfeeding for two or more months can reduce the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Physical and Psychological Benefits of Breastfeeding
While breastfeeding provides numerous benefits to the infant, it is also favorable for the health of the mother. Breastfeeding and the bonding that comes with it produce the naturally soothing hormones oxytocin, which promotes stress reduction and positive feelings in the nursing mother.
Oxytocin can aid in postpartum healing by reducing postpartum blood loss and aiding in returning the uterus to its normal size. It also promotes a sense of nurturing and attachment.
Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics suggests breastfeeding may reduce a mother’s risk for Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease and can reduce the incidence of ovarian and breast cancer.
A big advantage of breast milk is that it doesn’t need any additional precautionary measures. No sterilizing bottles, no heating of milk, or preparing formula. It’s an immediate source of fresh and clean milk for the baby at any given time.
Challenges for Breastfeeding Mothers
Breastfeeding takes time, patience, and practice; many mothers often face challenges as they learn how to best feed and keep up their milk supply for their new baby. A mother’s milk supply can be affected by sleep, diet, medications, and potential tongue or lips ties in the baby.
The Baker Mama shares this recipe for No-Bake Lactation Bites to help in increasing lactation while nourishing mothers. A few ingredients are known to assist in aiding in milk supply production, such as Fenugreek, Flaxseed, and Brewer’s Yeast.
Support for Breastfeeding Moms
There are many bonuses to breastfeeding as well as many questions. Be sure to seek the advice of your pediatrician, obstetrician, or another trusted medical professional if you are planning on breastfeeding or find breastfeeding challenging.
Many moms-to-be and new mothers can use all the support they can get at this time in their lives. There are lactation consultants that specialize in this very thing, so be sure not to struggle alone.
Here are a few local referrals that Dr. Lydia and Dr. Bethanie recommend:
There are also many products on the market for breastfeeding moms. Find the ones that work best for you and your baby. Here are two of Vaida’s favorites.
Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump, which collects letdown passively on the opposite breast while feeding.
ZipTops, which are reusable silicone breast milk storage bags.
The Importance of Chiropractic Care For Babies and Their Breastfeeding Mamas
Getting regular chiropractic adjustments is very important for babies and their breastfeeding mamas. Keeping spinal alignment can help calm an infant’s rapidly growing and adjusting nervous system, improve latch during feedings, and aid digestion and bowel movements.
Tired moms benefit from chiropractic care as their bodies adapt to all of its demands, including carrying around an infant and the positions of breastfeeding, which can pull the spine out of alignment.
Schedule a visit for chiropractic care at Vaida if you are a new mom. Those of us at Vaida Wellness give the utmost props to all of our new mothers who are doing the most demanding and rewarding job. Dr. Lydia and Dr. Bethanie are here to ensure that you are getting some self-care and ample support.