Breastfeeding: “A True Gift” The topic for this issue is breastfeeding. This is a true gift! It is a gift that a woman has the ability to feed her baby. It is also a gift of love from Mom to her newborn baby. This ability to sustain life is a special thing. During pregnancy, a woman’s body begins to prepare for milk production. The breasts hypertrophy, meaning they get larger. The nipples (areola) also enlarge and may become darker in color (pigment). There are glands (milk ducts) that are contained in the areola that also change. This is the way Mother Nature prepares a pregnant woman for the birth and feeding of her baby. During labor and following delivery, certain hormones are produced that cause the body to begin to produce a thin white fluid called colostrum. Colostrum contains properties that help to protect the newborn until his or her own immune system is functioning properly. The breast gradually starts to produce breast milk. The fluid will become more opaque and white to yellow in color. As the baby begins to breast feed, a complex hormonal release of prolactin and oxytocin (to name a few) fosters the breastfeeding process. The benefits of breastfeeding to a mother are many. Breastfeeding uses a tremendous amount of calories, which translates into weight loss for Mom. Imagine that—losing weight without exercise! If a woman has breastfed she will also experience several long-term protective health effects, such as a lower rate of breast disease. When prolactin is produced and released, a woman can feel a sense of relaxation. Some may refer to this as a breastfeeding high. The calming effect prolactin has can help a new mom cope with sleep deprivation and other life stressors. There is also an emotional aspect to breastfeeding. The skin-to-skin contact between the two fosters a maternal-child bond.
Bonding is so important for the baby as well. The mother’s breasts are over her heart and lungs. The newborn is able to feel and hear her heart beating. The rhythmic rise and fall of her chest, as well as the sounds of breathing, are perceived by the baby. The breasts are in close approximation to the mother’s face so the baby can easily see her and make eye contact with her. There are also positive health effects for the baby. Contained in colostrum and breast milk are maternal antibodies that are transmitted to the baby. This provides passive immunization for the baby, reducing the risk of the baby becoming sick. Many new moms have concerns that the baby is not getting enough milk. Well, the baby is born with a special fat layer that helps to provide additional calorie support until milk production increases. The size of a newborn’s stomach is very small. It is approximately the size of a large marble. So not too much can fit in there at any one time. Although the art of breastfeeding on face value may seem to be an easy process, it takes patience and practice for both the mom and baby. Essentially they both need to learn how to breastfeed. One can find volumes on the ways to breastfeed. The one that is correct is the one that works for both the mom and baby. This is a trial and error process. Most hospitals now have lactation consultants. These are health care professionals that have completed additional training in the art and science of breastfeeding. They are usually available soon after delivery, and during your stay on the postpartum unit. Advanced Care now has a lactation counselor available in our office. I encourage each of my pregnant patients to meet with her during the pregnancy. This allows the patient to become educated on the art of breastfeeding. It is helpful to do this before the delivery because it greatly reduces breastfeeding stress. Meeting with her while you are pregnant helps to educate you prior to actually having to breastfeed your child, eliminating stress or worry about not doing it right. She is also available after delivery if the need arises.
We at Advanced Care fully support breastfeeding. With the addition of a lactation counselor in our office, we attempt to educate and support all women in their endeavor to breastfeed. For pregnant women, maintaining a well-balanced diet and continuing prenatal visits is necessary. Seek education and support from a lactation counselor and your doctor. Together, we can help you achieve your goal to breastfeed successfully.
We’re With You All The Way
Old-Fashioned Care With State-Of-The-Art Technology Quality, Compassionate Healthcare for All Stages of a Woman’s Life Courtyard Professional Offices 707 White Horse Pike, Suite D4 • Absecon, NJ 08201 609.272.0506 • Fax: 609.272.0607 Linwood Commons 2106 New Road, Suite D10 • Linwood, NJ 08221 609.927.2244 • Fax: 609.927.2242
PICTURED: Salvatore A. Carfagno, DO, FACOOG, Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, with his beautiful family
Affliated with: AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center and Shore Medical Center
The County Woman Magazine www.TheCountyWoman.com
Published on Sep 14, 2017
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