Welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and an emotional time. As a new parent preparing to bring home your little one, we know there are several things on your mind — including breastfeeding.
“Breastfeeding affords countless life-long benefits,” said Nicole Falls, M.D., a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology associated with Maury Regional Medical Group OB/GYN in Columbia and Spring Hill. “Breastmilk has significant nutritional value, while the breastfeeding process itself helps to create immediate bonding between mother and baby. And that is only the beginning of all breastfeeding has to offer.”
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby are substantial, Dr. Falls emphasized. Babies who are breastfed have reduced rates for:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Ear and respiratory infections
- Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
- Gastrointestinal infections (diarrhea and vomiting)
Breastfeeding is great for mom, too, as it can help lower risks of high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes as well as ovarian and breast cancer.
“We encourage new mothers to begin breastfeeding within the first hour after birth if possible,” Dr. Falls said. “This ensures newborn infants have immediate access to protective nutrients in their mothers' milk.”
For all the reasons noted above, the World Health Organization recommends infants be exclusively breastfed until they are six months of age at which point complementary foods can be added to their diets. Dr. Falls also urges mothers to continue breastfeeding for the first one to two years of life if possible.
While breastfeeding is the preferred method for providing essential nutrients to newborns, there is a small percentage of women who may be unable to breastfeed.
“We strongly encourage new mothers to breastfeed if they are physically able but recognize some women are unable to do so due to medical reasons or various outside factors,” Dr. Falls said. “If this is the case, talk to your OB-GYN or a lactation specialist for more information about healthy and safe options.”
To learn more about breastfeeding, schedule an appointment with your OB-GYN or contact a lactation specialist.
Lactation specialists at Maury Regional Medical Center, an officially designated Baby-Friendly facility for its methods of providing mothers the information, confidence and skills to breastfeed successfully, can be reached at 931.490.7074 or by visiting MauryRegional.com for more information about available services.