My goal is to increase knowledge and understanding of what is a normal in a newborn so a new Mom who wishes to breastfeed her baby can accomplish that which she has set out to do. It is not my desire that this post cause pain or guilt to those, who for many reasons, find that they cannot nurse such as those on medication or chemotherapy.
This visual is brilliant!
Being a visual learner, I have always done better with a picture! When I saw Katie’s infographic on Facebook (from Babies First Lactation) it was my hope that lots of people (Moms, Dads, and extended family members) could gain understanding from it. The La Leche League also has a valuable visual here.
As an RN, I have had lots of occasions to talk with new Moms who felt their newborn was not getting enough milk or maybe not good quality milk. They felt their milk supply was inadequate somehow and so began to question their ability to supply it. If they were to stop nursing at this point, their babies would miss the colostrum God designed to pass on antibodies to build the baby’s immune system.
When well-meaning family members say “The baby is crying again, he must be hungry” or “she (the baby) just ate an hour ago; you must not have enough milk if she is hungry already”, this can create, or further feed, an insecurity the new mother may already be feeling, and often leads to unnecessary supplementation.
What a perfect scenario to cause doubt, open the door to formula, and possibly lose your milk supply. I urge you to persevere with good counsel from a lactation specialist.
Leaders accredited by La Leche League International are availablearound the world to help mothers who wish to breastfeed their babies, or contact a leader anywherein your state. Use the map. There is also a ‘Help request’ you can use for specific questions and support.
Also consider asking for guidance or support from an experienced Mother who has breastfed her children. I believe they would be honored to come alongside you and would likely be a huge help to you.
Studies Show Potential Health Advantages For Breastfeeding Mothers
~prevent postpartum hemorrhage
~promote uterine involution (return uterus to a nonpregnant state)
~delays menstruation which has the important benefit of conserving iron in the mother’s body and often provides natural spacing of pregnancies
~physical recovery of the mother between pregnancies
~optimal increased metabolism, giving an edge on losing weight gained during pregnancy
~lactation may actually result in stronger bones and reduced risk of osteoporosis
~reduced risk of various cancers and heart disease
~produces a special hormonal milieu for the mother. Prolactin, the milk-making hormone, appears to produce a special calmness in mothers.
Mother’s milk also confers untold lifelong health benefits to your newborn. No one could ever make a more perfect food.
Understanding how crucial these benefits are for long term good health, you may want to work extra hard to not lose that beautiful and womanly art of breastfeeding. How do you measure the peace of mind of having a healthy baby who is developing optimally? Where do you factor in the financial burden of formula prices and increased medical costs?
A newborn is tiny for only a short time, their stomachs grow so quickly, and they become much more efficient which means breastfeeding sessions become shorter and less frequent. For now enjoy those cuddles. Be encouraged that your baby is feeding frequently and doing a fantastic job of “demanding” a healthy supply of breastmilk. The great effort you and your baby put in during the first few days establishes a solid start for a happy and healthy breastfeeding relationship.
Do you have a story to share?
Mother and Three daughters by an Open Window by Giuseppe Magni
“Breastfeeding is a natural “safety net” against the worst effects of poverty. If the newborn survives the first month of life (the most dangerous period of childhood) then for the next four months or so, exclusive breastfeeding goes a long way toward canceling out the health difference between being born into poverty and being born into affluence…It is almost as if breastfeeding takes the infant out of poverty for those first few months in order to give the child a fairer start in life and compensate for the injustice of the world into which it was born.” ~James P. Grant, former Executive Director, UNICEF