From Baptist Health South Florida
4 min. read
You’ve stocked up on diapers, struggled to properly install your car seat and put together the crib. Now you’re anxiously awaiting the birth of your baby. But whether you’re a first-time parent or an experienced one, you may still have questions about another vital part of caring for your baby ― feeding.
August is National Breastfeeding Month, with Aug. 1-7 marking World Breastfeeding Week. Because of the many benefits to mother and baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months and continuing with nursing even after solid foods are introduced.
While some expectant parents are determined to breastfeed, others are less certain. Yet, even among those with the best intentions, breastfeeding can be difficult, the experts acknowledge. “Many people believe that because breastfeeding is natural, it is easy and they don’t need to do anything to prepare,” says Grisel Gigato, a registered nurse and International Board-Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) with South Miami Hospital, part of Baptist Health.
“The reality,” she adds, “is that it can be challenging. But with some education and support, you’ll likely be able to overcome any issues and give your baby the best start in life.”
There’s no debate that breastfeeding provides a baby with immunity to many illnesses, decreases the odds of repeated ear infections, lowers the likelihood of childhood obesity and diseases later in life and much more.
“For baby, it’s the perfect food,” says Anne-Marie Sawicki, a registered nurse and IBCLC with Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health. “It has the perfect amount of calories, protein and fats, and gets the gut off to a good, healthy start.”
For mom, benefits include a risk reduction for premenopausal breast and ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes and other health problems.
To have the best breastfeeding experience, lactation consultants throughout Baptist Health suggest taking these steps before your due date.
The first days
Special circumstances or health issues
Special circumstances call for special measures. If baby has to go to the nursery or the neonatal intensive care unit, or the mother is having health issues, there could be a time of separation. The doctors, nurses and lactation consultants throughout Baptist Health will work closely with you to ensure appropriate feeding. Options are tailored to the individual. They may include things such as supplemental feeding systems, donor breast milk and more.
“It’s important to get help sooner rather than later if you are experiencing breast pain, engorgement or another problem. There’s no need to suffer,” Ms. Sawicki says. “There is support available through your OB, your pediatrician, lactation consultants in the hospital and community.”
Parents often question whether their breastfed baby is eating enough. The experts say that you should watch for adequate wet and dirty diapers, look to see that baby is latching well to the breast, listen for the sound of swallowing or gulping, and observe the baby to see if they are satiated (or milk drunk, as they say). When you visit your pediatrician for the first time after delivery, it’s a good opportunity to discuss the baby’s weight, feeding habits, how to adjust to growth spurts to come and more.
And remember, the consultants say, to ask for help, whether it’s someone to deliver a meal or to come do your laundry.
In addition to South Miami Hospital and Boca Raton Regional Hospital, the hospitals at Baptist Health that offer maternity services are Baptist Hospital, West Kendall Baptist Hospital, Homestead Hospital and Bethesda Hospital East. Click here for more breastfeeding information.
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