Breastfeeding should be started as soon as possible after birth, even with cesareans. During the first hour of life, babies' instincts prepare them to breastfeed. 63,64 Medical interventions like an epidural or a baby's physical or neurological difficulties can hinder babies' ability to latch onto the breast right away.65,66 Even so, babies who have initial difficulties latching can learn to breastfeed efficiently in due time, especially with the help of a lactation consultant. 67,68
Continuous touch, even with dad, encourages breastfeeding.69 Feeding within the first hour of birth is extremely important for long-term breastfeeding success.70 When babies are taken away from their mothers during the crucial first hour, they are often fed formula.71
Breastfeeding on demand, even at night, right after the child is born helps to ensure that mothers will not run out of milk later.51 95% of women are physiologically able to breastfeed. Mothers’ breast milk actually adapts in both quantity and quality to the changing nutritional needs of the child.60,61
Frequent feeding is vital. Babies need to eat frequently to keep the body nourished during its rapid growth. Just like growing children, babies go through growth spurts, causing them to eat more or less frequently at varying intervals during their growth.61 Frequent feedings signal the needs of the baby to the mother’s body, which will produce what is needed.61
Lack of support is the one of the top reasons that moms don’t breastfeed.73 Although 95% of moms are physiologically capable of breastfeeding, being neutral about breastfeeding is a lack of support.
Breastfeeding Exclusively is important.
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that mothers breastfeed exclusively for the first six months after birth.74,75 Breast milk supplies the vitamins, minerals, nutrition and hydration that babies need.74-76 Formula populates the infant’s gut with pathogenic bacteria.77
It is normal and natural to breastfeed for longer than one year. The World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding for at least two years.75 Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed for at least one year, only one in ﬁve women in the US are breastfeeding at all when their child is one year old.78 Breast milk builds the child’s immune system which does not reach adult functioning until age 6 or so. The health beneﬁts the child gains through extended breastfeeding last a lifetime.3
Premature babies benefit from breastmilk
Breastmilk is the best medicine for all babies, including premature babies.74,79 A mother's milk is specially designed to nourish her premature child, preventing infections, even death.74, 79-85
Breastfeeding is correlated with:
- Graduating from high school86-88
- Emotional stability and secure attachment30
- Positive mental health89,90
- Increased intelligence91-95
- Less substance abuse and addiction96
- Better health3
REMEMBER, Lactation consultants have the knowledge and teaching skills to help moms and babies successfully breastfeed. Consultants can help moms navigate challenges that come and go.
Check out the CDC guidelines for baby-friendly hospitals: http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2011/p1013_babyfriendly_hospitals.html
World Health Organization’s Ten Steps To Successful Breastfeeding.
The BFHI promotes, protects, and supports breastfeeding through The Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding for Hospitals, as outlined by UNICEF/WHO. The steps for the United States are:
1 - Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff.
2 - Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy.
3 - Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding.
4 - Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within one hour of birth.
5 - Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation, even if they are separated from their infants.
6 - Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breastmilk, unless medically indicated.
7 - Practice “rooming in”-- allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day.
8 - Encourage breastfeeding on demand.
9 - Give no pacifiers or artificial nipples to breastfeeding infants.
10 - Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from the hospital or clinic.
Go to Part One
Other informational posts on breastfeeding:
Post #1discusses why you should care about breastfeeding, no matter who you are.
Post #2 discusses assumptions about infant formula that are wrong.
Post #3discusses myths about infant formula.
Post #4discusses the TREMENDOUS benefits of doing what is normal: breastfeeding.
Post #5 addresses myths about breastfeeding.
**Check out our YouTube video on breastfeeding vs. formula.**
Post #6 discusses real truths about breastfeeding.
Post #7 provides links to resources for breastfeeding.
Post #8 summarizes the prior posts' main messages in blunt terms.
Post # 9 gives the bottom line about breastfeeding vs. formula.
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65) Rowe-Murray, H. & Fisher, J. (2002). Baby friendly hospital practices: Cesarean section is a persistent barrier to early initiation of breastfeeding. Birth, 29(2), 124-31.
66) Baumgarder, D., Muehl, P., Fischer, M., & Pribbenow, B. (2003). Effect of labor epidural anesthesia on breast-feeding of healthy full-term newborns delivered vaginally. JABFP, 16(1), 7-13.
67) Sisk, P.M., Lovelady, C.A., Dillard, R.G., & Gruber, K.J. (2006). Lactation counseling for mothers of very low birth weight infants: Effect on maternal anxiety and infant intake of human milk. Pediatrics, 117(1), e67-e75.
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73) Ahluwalia, I.B., Morrow, B., & Hsia, J. (2005). Why do women stop breastfeeding? Findings from the pregnancy risk assessment and monitoring system. Pediatrics, 116, 1408-12.
74) Gartner, L.M., Morton, J., Lawrence, R.A., Naylor, A.J., O’Hare, D., Schanler, & R.J., Eldelman, A.I.; American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Breastfeeding. (2005). Breastfeeding and the use of human milk. Pediatrics, 115(2), 496-506.
75) Fifty-Fifth World Health Assembly. Infant and Young Child Nutrition: Global Strategy on Infant and Young Child Feeding. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 2002.
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77) Penders, J., Thijs, C., Vink, C., Stelma, F.F., Snijders, B., Kummeling, I., van den Brandt, P.A., & Stobberingh, E.E. (2006). Factors influencing the composition of the intestinal microbiota in early infancy. Pediatrics, 118(2), 511-21.
79) Schanler, R.J. (2001). The use of human milk for premature infants. Pediatr Clin North Am, 48, 207-219.
80) Horwood, L.J., Darlow, B.A., & Mogridge, N. (2001). Breast milk feeding and cognitive ability at 7- 8 years. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed, 84, F23-F27.
81) Amin, S.B., Merle, K.S., Orlando, M.S., Dalzell, L.E., & Guillet, R. (2000). Brainstem maturation in premature infants as a function of enteral feeding type. Pediatrics, 106, 318-322.
82) Hylander, M.A., Strobino, D.M., & Dhanireddy, R. (1998). Human milk feedings and infection among very low birth weight infants. Pediatrics, 102(3).
83) Schanler, R.J., Shulman, R.J., & Lau, C. (1999). Feeding strategies for premature infants: beneficial outcomes of feeding fortified human milk versus preterm formula. Pediatrics, 103, 1150-1157.
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85) Chen, A., & Rogan, W. J. (2004). Breastfeeding and the Risk of Postneonatal Death in the United States. Pediatrics, 113(5), e435-e439.
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88) Victora C.G., Barros, F.C., Horta, B.L., & Lima, R.C. (2005). Breastfeeding and school achievement in Brazilian adolescents. Acta Paediatrica, 94(11), 1656-60.
89) McCreadie, R. G. (1997) The Nithsdale Schizophrenia Surveys 16. Breast-feeding and schizophrenia: preliminary results and hypotheses. British Journal of Psychiatry, 170, 334-337.
90) Peet , M., Poole, J. & Laugharne, J. (1997) Infant feeding and the development of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Research, 24, 255-256.
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96) Alati, R., Van Dooren, K., Najman, J.M., Williams, G.M., & Clavarino, A. (2009). Early weaning and alcohol disorders in offspring: Biological effect, mediating factors or residual confounding? Addiction, 104, 1324–1332.
*From the brochure, Facts about FEEDING BABIES: For medical personnel by the University of Notre Dame Breastfeeding Education Project (Members: Dr. Darcia Narvaez, Stephanie Sieswerda, Elizabeth Ledden, Abbey Warkentin, Karly Denkhaus; 2011) in consultation with the Saint Joseph County Breastfeeding Coalition, Indiana, USA.