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The Benefits of Breastfeeding

August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month, a great time to discuss the many benefits of breastfeeding for both you and your baby. Not only is it a convenient way to feed your baby, it’s one of the most nutritious ways to do it—thanks to the nutrients and hormones in breastmilk that your baby needs to grow. Breastmilk also provides protection against many illnesses. Benefits include higher levels of oxytocin, helping your uterus return to its normal size and stop bleeding after birth. Plus, you get to spend quality time bonding with your baby.

If you decide to breastfeed, your newborn should nurse every 2–3 hours. Breast milk should be a breast-fed baby's only source of nutrition until 6 months old.

Just after delivery, some tips for success are to breastfeed right away, if you can. Have your baby stay in the room so you can nurse more often. And, rely on all the resources your health team has available for you, like the lactation consultant.

Moms that choose to breastfeed may have some issues. Don't worry, it happens. Most issues are brief and can be addressed.

Signs that nursing is going as it should:

  • Your baby’s mouth is open wide with their lips turned out.
  • Your baby’s chin and nose are resting against your breast.
  • Your baby is sucking rhythmically and deeply in short bursts set apart by pauses.

Signs that nursing may not be going as it should:

  • Your baby doesn't seem satisfied after feedings.
  • Your baby does not gain weight as hoped.
  • Your baby does not make the normal numbers of diapers (about 6 wet and 4 stools) each day after their first 4–5 days.    

Don’t forget to take care of yourself at this time, too. Be sure to drink plenty of liquids and maintain a healthy diet. You should also take prenatal vitamins while nursing.

Breastfeeding Resources

Breastfeeding Classes – Online

This online class is filled with essential information to help prepare you for breastfeeding from the comfort of your own home.

Breastfeeding Support at Overlake

Overlake’s Parent & Baby Care Center includes a boutique with nursing supplies and appointments with certified lactation consultants, who are just a phone call away.

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