August is National Breastfeeding Month, a month dedicated to advancing advocacy, protection, support, and promotion of breastfeeding. It aims to increase public awareness of the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits that it provides to mothers and their newborns.
Babies tummies are itsy bitsy. It doesn’t take much to fill your baby up, however, they feed often, 8-12 times in a 24-hour period. It seems like a lot but they are developing so quickly that their caloric needs are nearly round the clock.
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. If your baby has a growth spurt, your baby might want to nurse more often or for longer periods of time. 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 the introduction of 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 who are exposed to breastmilk have a decreased risk of certain diseases and illnesses including asthma, and respiratory and ear infections.
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.
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.
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, and medications.
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.
Other Advantages of and FAQs About Breastfeeding
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 to be a challenge.
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. Emily recommend:
Tabitha Morrison with Bright Earth Doulas
Madolynn Duckwall with Mama Duck Doula & Lactation
Anne Cassens with Baby Whisperer Lactation Consultants
In addition, here is some lactation contact information from Children’s Hospital MN.
Chiropractic Care For Bebes 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 in 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.
Those of us at Vaida Wellness give the utmost props to all of our new mothers who are doing the hardest but most rewarding job. We are here to lift you up and ensure that you are getting some self-care and ample support.