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Importance of Breastfeeding for Both Mom + Baby

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  • Written By: Grace Wegner
Importance of Breastfeeding for Both Mom + Baby

Having a baby brings an abundance of new experiences, emotions, and decisions for mom to navigate. With many things to consider, it can be overwhelming to explore all of the options available. Don't worry! Myrtue Medical Center is here to help you and baby be the best you can be!

Important Decisions

One of the critical decisions is whether or not to breastfeed your baby. You have likely heard that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. In fact, both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the World Health Organization recommend breastfeeding as the only source of nutrition for your baby for at least the first six months of life.

Even though it is highly recommended, the truth is that breastfeeding does not work for everyone. Around sixty percent of mothers do not breastfeed for as long as they hoped or planned to—often times this is due to lack of support or knowledge of what to expect or how to overcome difficulties. Myrtue Medical Center is here to help provide that support and education to help you meet your breastfeeding goals, whether that’s for a few days, six months or two years. Our goal is to support you in achieving your feeding goals, no matter what they may be.

By choosing to breastfeed, you'll unlock a world of benefits for both yourself and your baby. The immediate and long-term advantages of breastfeeding can be incredibly impactful, extending well beyond the basics of nutrition. Let's take a closer look at all of the benefits breastfeeding has to offer.

Why Breast Milk?

Breast milk offers the perfect blend of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and antibodies, which are all highly beneficial to your baby's growth and development. Breast milk is made up of two distinct components: colostrum and full milk.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, colostrum – also known as "premilk" produced right after childbirth – is rich in antibodies, high in protein, and low in sugar. It is designed to protect and nourish your newborn in their first few days of life. After three to four days, full milk replaces colostrum, which is higher in sugar and volume. The full milk is intended to be digested quickly and contains more calories that will contribute to your baby's rapid growth.

How Breastfeeding Benefits Baby

  • Breastfeeding is instrumental in the development and nourishment of your baby's immune system. Research has shown that it helps prevent infections, inflammation, and illnesses.
  • It helps protect baby from diabetes, asthma, and obesity as they age.
  • Breastfeeding is known to lower the risk of SIDS and infant mortality. Breastfeeding for at least 2 months decreases the risk of SIDS by 50%.
  • Breastfed babies are less likely to have tooth decay, cavities, and other orthodontic problems.
  • It protects baby against bladder, ear, and respiratory infections.
  • Breastfeeding helps decrease baby's risk of childhood cancers, tummy issues, and Crohn's disease. Breastfeeding for at least 6 months decreases risk of childhood leukemia by almost 20%.
  • Breastfeed babies have improved brain function.

How Breastfeeding Benefits Mom

  • Breastfeeding can help your body quickly recover from pregnancy. It helps you lose your postpartum weight faster than moms who do not breastfeed.
    • Did you know that creating and sustaining a milk supply can burn up to 500 extra calories per day?
  • Moms who breastfeed have less vaginal bleeding and the uterus returns to its normal size more quickly.
  • Breastfeeding offers long-term health advantages. Those who breastfeed have a lower risk of developing osteoporosis, anemia, urinary tract infections, cardiovascular disease, breast and ovarian cancer, and diabetes.
  • Your chances of developing postpartum depression decrease. In fact, breastfeeding aids in stress reduction and promotes positive feelings due to the release of naturally occurring hormones such as oxytocin and prolactin.
  • Breastfeeding increases skin-on-skin contact between mother and baby, leading to a stronger physical and emotional bond. Establishing and nurturing this bond in the early stages of life can potentially decrease behavioral and social issues for your baby in the future.
  • Breast milk is incredibly convenient, always available at the perfect temperature, whenever and wherever your baby is ready. It is also free, which will result in significant savings over time.

You are Not Alone!

Providing your baby with essential nutrition is crucial for their growth and development. However, breastfeeding can also come with its own set of challenges. Don't worry, we're here to help!

Our team at Myrtue Medical Center includes an Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC), Cara Cacy, RN, who can answer all your breastfeeding questions and help you establish a rewarding mother/infant breastfeeding experience. Whether it's before or after your child is born, Cara is available to help you start your breastfeeding journey on the right track. She also offers many online tools through our Breastfeeding Information webpage, where you are able to access resources at any given time of the day!

Cara provides exceptional prenatal, hospital, and postpartum breastfeeding education and support. Her consultation services include the following:

  • Personalized instruction and support
  • Advice on correct latching and positioning and how to tell baby is getting enough
  • Assistance in selecting the appropriate pumping system for your needs
  • Support for breastfeeding difficulties – milk production, latching, poor baby weight gain, etc.
  • Additional community support resources
  • Encouragement and continued follow-up as you work toward your breastfeeding goals

To schedule a prenatal or newborn visit with our lactation consultant, call 712.755.4482 or email do not have to deliver at Myrtue Medical Center to be seen by Cara.

The Importance of Prenatal IBCLC Appointments

When it comes to preparing for a new baby, scheduling a prenatal breastfeeding consultation with an IBCLC may not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, these sessions are available to assist mothers in starting their breastfeeding journey on the right foot. During these appointments, IBCLCs cover a range of topics to ensure that new moms are well-informed, including:

  • Latching
  • Positioning
  • How to determine if the baby receiving enough milk
  • Hand expressing
  • Pumping (if needed)
  • Engorgement
  • What to anticipate during the first few weeks of breasting

In addition to personalized lactation consulting, an IBCLC can also provide guidance on selecting and utilizing pumps, pacifiers, bottles, and other breastfeeding supplies. They can also provide basic support and anticipate what you might experience as a new parent with a newborn.

"To ensure breastfeeding gets off to a strong start, prenatal lactation consultations are crucial," stated Cara Cacy, RN, IBCLC. “Support people such as grandparents, aunts, husbands, significant others, etc. are encouraged to join expecting mothers at these consultations. Remember, knowledge is power, and learning as much as possible before the baby arrives can make the transition into being a new breastfeeding parent much smoother."

The Importance of IBCLC Postpartum Appointments

Just like prenatal IBCLC appointments, new parents often overlook the value of scheduling a postpartum IBCLC appointment. Once you bring your new bundle of joy home and begin your breastfeeding journey, you may encounter many uncertainties that require expert guidance. Booking an appointment with an IBCLC within a week of delivery provides the best opportunity to address any concerns and questions you may have. During these postpartum visits, an IBCLC would cover some of the following areas:

  • Checking baby’s weight
  • Assess milk transfer before/after feeding
  • Ensure baby is getting enough/gaining well
  • Checking baby’s latch

"I highly recommend scheduling postpartum lactation follow-up for all new moms and babies," said Cara. "If there are any issues with feeding or latch, we can work together to address the underlying causes. By making small adjustments, we can ensure that both mom and baby are comfortable and that feeding is going well. My ultimate goal is to empower mothers to feel confident in their feeding journey before they leave my care."

At Myrtue Medical Center, our exceptional care team of our Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultant, OB/GYN, and Birthing Center nurses provide helpful and comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care. We are dedicated to help ensure a complication-free delivery and postpartum period. Our goal is to help you and baby be the best you can be!

To schedule a prenatal or postpartum appointment with Cara, please call 712.755.4482. You do not have to deliver at Myrtue Medical Center to be seen by Cara.