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August Is National Breastfeeding Month

August is National Breastfeeding Month

August is National Breastfeeding Month. Dr. McDonald has tips for successful breastfeeding from The Gyneco-bLogic blog.

1. Provide yourself with the proper fuel

If you hope to produce a food source for another human being, you should take in the proper building blocks to create it. Continue taking prenatal vitamins and drink water frequently, even when you aren’t thirsty. Eat nutritious foods: lean meats, beans, whole grains, well-washed or organic fruits and vegetables and dairy. Also, avoid excessive sugar.

2. Don’t get discouraged

Breast milk can take up to five days to come in for first-time mothers. Until then, the baby is getting colostrum, a valuable nutritional source with antibodies for fighting infection. Your pediatrician will use your baby’s weight and wet diapers to ensure the baby is getting enough food. Remember, newborns survived those first few days of life long before formula existed. Supply depends on demand. Let your baby nurse!

3. Those who can, do; those who can’t, pump

Not every baby will latch onto the breast, even after using multiple techniques. Using a breast pump on each breast for at least 15 minutes every 2-3 hours will usually express enough milk to supply a newborn’s needs. Working moms can breastfeed, too. Having a breast pump can allow you the ability to nurse at home and pump at work. If your production is not enough to supply the baby’s needs, something is better than nothing. Give your baby breast milk in addition to formula. Your baby won’t know the difference but will reap the benefits.

4. Trouble doesn’t last always

Breastfeeding is often uncomfortable in the beginning. This discomfort should get better. If it doesn’t, seek help from a lactation consultant or your doctor. Clogged milk ducts, mastitis, and engorgement can cause severe pain. Massage, warm compresses and expressing milk every 1.5 to 2 hours when painful nodules arise can help to prevent the development of infection.

5. Know when enough is enough

If you have tried every trick in the book and are still unable to breastfeed, sometimes the healthiest thing for a mother’s emotional well-being is to accept this reality and let it go. As valuable as breast milk is, it is not worth the negative effects on one’s psyche when it just doesn’t work out.

Always check with your doctor or a lactation consultant if you are having specific challenges with breastfeeding. Be Safe. Be Well.

The Doctors of Women's Health Consulting Women's Health Consulting Physicians Board Certified Obstetricians and Gynecologists practicing at Women's Health Consulting in downtown Chicago.

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