This week I jump into part 2 of my ‘Is Breast Best?’ discussion. If you haven’t listened to last week, head there first to hear all about the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers. Then hop back here, ready to unpack some benefits of breastfeeding for babies and get a few top tips for establishing good breastfeeding practices.
As always, this is just a quick glimpse into the ideas explored in the podcast, so to ensure you get all the information, pop in a few ear buds and listen to my soothing voice get overly excited about how cool breastmilk is…
You’ll get the lowdown on what the benefits of breastfeeding for babies are including:
- Breastmilk is ALL a baby needs for its first 6 months and makes up more than half the nutritional needs between 6 - 12 months
- Breastmilk changes to specifically meet your baby’s needs! (There’s so much to this, its incredible… read on!)
- The composition of fats, sugars and nutrients change dramatically, starting as colostrum for the first few days, then over the next week or so it’s called transitional milk and after 2 - 4weeks it settles into mature milk.
- As your baby gets older and is getting nutrition from solids the breastmilk volume decreases and is made up of mostly immune properties – perfect for babies putting things into their mouths
- Breastmilk is so complex and alive it cannot be replicated
- It increases in fats when baby has a growth spurt
- When a baby is sick, antibodies are made and passed from the mother to fight that specific disease
- It differs between night and day to help baby’s sleep longer at night
- The flavours of breastmilk change based on mothers’ diet
- Breastfeeding increases brain development
- Reduces child mortality rates
- Reduces likelihood of child developing eczema, infections and chronic illnesses, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
- Cuts baby’s risk of dying from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) in half
So breastfeeding is undeniably beneficial for babies and in general, just so fascinating (I hope you agree).
If only it was easier…
In part 1 I highlight some of the difficulties and problems experienced around breastfeeding… and let’s face it, most breastfeeding women will experience at least one challenge that really makes you think the whole “its natural” idea is a complete tease. But now that you’re equipped with all this information about how incredible breastfeeding is for both mum and baby, hopefully you’re convinced to push through some of those challenges.
And to help with that, I thought I’d share some tips that may help point your breastfeeding journey in the right direction.
Here are a few factors that are either research backed or something I’ve stumbled across in my experience as a midwife:
- Ensure you practice skin to skin at birth and initiate the first breastfeed within baby’s first hour of life
- Make sure positioning and attachment is right – check with midwife in first week
- Exclusively breastfeed (nothing else, even when it gets tough!)
- Breastfeed on demand – whenever your baby wants and for however long baby wants
- Avoid use of bottles, teats and dummies in the first 6 weeks
- Have baby room-in
- Hold off on baby’s first bath for at least 24hrs
- Ensure you only have supportive people around who will help you figure out breastfeeding – mums and partners, community supports etc.
Please keep reading up about breastfeeding so you can head into the early postnatal period fully equipped and educated about what you want to do.
I’ve included below the references I used in making todays episode which I think are well worth a read.
If you have any comments about this episode or this “Is Breast Best?” topic, I’d love to hear from you over on Facebook or Instagram @mumwillknow.
Don’t forget – listening in is always going to provide you with more information, and generally more of a giggle so head to your podcast app and hit subscribe!
Have a great week!
Breastfeeding for two months halves risk of SIDS
Delaying newborn baths increases rates of breastfeeding
Australian National Breastfeeding Strategy 2018 and Beyond
Breastfeeding benefits babies’ brains
Research on the links between breastfeeding and cognitive development
Breastfeeding and the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy
Duration of Breastfeeding and Risk of SIDS: An Individual Participant Data Meta-analysis
Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding
Factors associated to breastfeeding in the first hour of life: systematic review
Photo by Harold Feinstein - "Abundant Life", 1964