National Breastfeeding Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight breastfeeding's many benefits for infants and mothers alike.
In the July 31st U.S.News & World Report, an article by Dr. Talitha Bruney and Dr. Abie Iyare, co-chairs of Montefiore's Breastfeeding Committee, offered tips for mothers ready to start breastfeeding.
Hold Your Baby Within Minutes of Birth - Direct skin-to-skin contact helps babies keep their body temperature, heart rate and blood sugar normal.
Feed Your Newborn Breast Milk Only - The World Health Organization and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend feeding infants only breast milk during the first six months of a baby's life, unless formula is medically required.
Learn to Express Your Milk - If you need to be separated from your baby for prolonged periods of time, the medical staff can teach you how to express milk from your breast using special massaging techniques. This milk can be saved and stored to give to your baby at a later time.
Room With Your Baby - Having your baby in the same room as you will alert you to when your baby is showing signs of hunger. It also increases opportunities for bonding.
Be Patient - For many mothers and babies, breastfeeding will go well from the start. For others, it takes a little time, and many attempts to get the process going effectively. This is perfectly normal.
If you need help with breastfeeding or with expressing your breast milk, ask the doctors and nurses while you're still in the hospital for support from a certified lactation consultant. Once you leave the hospital, there are other resources, including breastfeeding support groups and private lactation counselors that can help you achieve your breastfeeding goals.
The full article by Dr. Bruney and Iyare is available here.