As a pediatrician, I’m frequently asked questions about breastfeeding by new moms who want to be sure they’re doing the best for their babies. I want new moms to know you’re not alone in your uneasiness or uncertainly. It’s a challenging time! Here are some questions patients frequently ask me about breastfeeding. Making an informed decision about what’s best for both mom and baby starts with good questions like these.
Why should I breastfeed?
The benefits are enormous. By its very design, breast milk provides the best possible nutrition for babies. In addition to providing newborns with antibodies that mom already has, breast milk has been shown to protect against ear infections, asthma, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and in the long term can help prevent diabetes and obesity. Breast-fed babies tend to be healthier.
An added benefit is that breastfeeding moms tend to lose their baby weight faster. Breastfeeding is also incredibly emotionally important, because it helps improve the bonding between mom and baby.
Can I breastfeed after I’ve gone back to work?
It is certainly possible to pump and go back to work – especially now! The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires employers to provide a nice, clean place and break time for moms to pump. Check with your employer to see what is available to you.
What kind of challenges can I expect to face and how should I approach them?
A lot of new moms may have a difficult time learning how to position the baby or getting the baby to latch on. Many moms also have a difficult time finding support from their family members or spouse.
I recommend taking advantage of the help available from a hospital lactation consultant before taking the baby home. I also tell moms-to-be to talk with their family before deliver about what their breastfeeding plan is. Research and communication is so important for new families. If you’re a new mom having trouble breastfeeding, I encourage you to do some research and even join support groups.
There’s a lot of great information and resources out there about breastfeeding. Here are some resources I tell new moms to use:
Under what circumstances should I not breastfeed?
Typically, the only reason a new mom should be concerned about breastfeeding is if she has a serious medical condition, like HIV or active tuberculosis. Moms who have an ongoing medical condition should consult with their physician about breastfeeding.
Is there a right or wrong decision I can make about whether or not to breastfeed?
There is no right or wrong decision. The most important thing is to do what’s right for you and your baby. Do you have questions or concerns about breastfeeding?
Are you an experienced mom with some breastfeeding tips for new moms? Leave a comment!
Dr. Jennifer Lai is a board-certified pediatrician at Kelsey-Seybold’s Spring Medical and Diagnostic Center. She’s accepting appointments for kids of all ages. Her clinical interests include general Pediatrics, newborns, autism, and obesity.