By Dr. Laura B. Holland, MD Obstetrics & Gynecology
Benefits to babies:
Breast milk contains the perfect combination of nutrients for infants. Not only does it contain antibodies that help keep babies from getting infections, it also is easily digestible and contains everything a baby needs to grow. It is a fact that babies who are breast fed have fewer ear infections, episodes of diarrhea and fewer hospitalizations then those who are not breast fed. The first few days after birth, a woman’s breasts make ideal “first milk” called colostrum. Colostrum is thick and yellow. Colostrum contains many antibodies to keep a newborn healthy. Breast-feeding also decreases the risk of childhood obesity, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and has been show to increase the IQ of a child.
Benefits to mother:
Women who breast feed secrete high levels of a hormone called oxytocin which is thought to promote relaxation, bonding between mother and infant, and likely reduces a woman’s stress level and risk of postpartum depression. Benefits to the mother include lower risk of breast and ovarian cancer later in life, more rapid loss of pregnancy weight, convenience, and decrease expense since there is no need to pay for expensive formula.
Although breast-feeding is natural it is not always easy and it is common for women to need some help or supports in order to successfully breast feed. The time commitment and being “on-call” for feedings every few hours of a newborn’s life can be challenging. Sore nipples, concerns about producing enough breast milk and occasional breast infections can be barriers to successful breast feeding. A woman who is having difficulty breast feeding should and ask receive help from the hospital personal on the post-partum floor where she delivers or from a lactation consultant. There are many resources available that can help her make breast-feeding successful
At Whittier we have several lactation consultants who are available to assist in making breast feeding a successful experience so that women and their infants can experience the joy of breast feeding.
At Whittier, we understand that a women’s health care needs change and evolve over her lifetime. That’s why we are proud to offer comprehensive, high-quality, and supportive care from the most routine to high-risk procedures. The Department supports women throughout all stages of life and is deeply committed to compassionate and patient-focused care.
Phone Number: (617) 989-3129 or schedule an appointment online at https://wshc.org/make-an-appointment/