|World Breastfeeding Week in Canada - October 1 to 7, 2015|
Everything You Need to Know About Breastfeeding
We’ve all heard of the many benefits of breastfeeding for babies. It provides the right amount of nutrients to help babies grow up healthy and improves their brain development. It also contains antibodies that help babies fight off viruses and bacteria.
Moms in Ontario want to breastfeed. In fact, approximately 90 per cent of mothers initiate or attempt breastfeeding. However, only 33 per cent of mothers exclusively breastfeed for the recommended six months.
Here are the top five things to keep in mind about breastfeeding:
1. Breastfeeding is normal, but not always easy (especially in the beginning).
Breastfeeding is natural, but takes time to learn. You and your baby have to figure things out. You may find your shoulders are tense, or your nipples are sore as you are both learning this new, but important skill.
Breastfeeding is also tiring. Most moms are tired in the early weeks because:
• Your body is recovering from the birth
• Your sleep patterns are different
• You are adjusting to being a new parent and getting to know your baby
• Your newborn requires frequent feedings, at least 8 times a day in the beginning
It is important to remember that you and your baby are learning this new skill together. Breastfeeding takes practice and it will get easier. Your baby will learn to latch and your body will adjust its supply to your baby’s needs.
2. Breastfeeding is convenient.
Breastfeeding is free. It is nearly always available. The milk is always the right temperature. It gives your baby nutrients and antibodies that formula cannot replicate. If feeding directly from the breast, you don’t need to sterilize equipment or prepare formula.
Breastfeeding becomes easier over time. Your body will learn to make the right amount of milk, and your baby will become more efficient at latching and drinking your milk.
3. Breastfeeding is beneficial for both the baby and for you.
Moms may know about the benefits of breastfeeding for the baby. What they may not know is how beneficial breastfeeding is for them too. It reduces the risk of disease, including breast and ovarian cancer and osteoporosis. Breastfeeding can also help mothers achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
4. Your baby gets the right amount of milk from you.
Nearly all moms can produce enough milk for their baby. You will know if your baby is getting enough milk if he or she is:
• Gaining weight
• Has at least 6 wet diapers in a 24 hour period
• Has at least 3 bowel movements in a day
5. You can breastfeed anywhere.
Under the Ontario Human Rights Code, you have specific rights as a breastfeeding mother, including the right to breastfeed a child in a public area. No one can prevent you from breastfeeding your child simply because you are in a public area. They cannot ask you to “cover up,” disturb you, or ask you to move to another area that is more “discreet” or “private”.
The good news is that there are a lot of supports available for moms with newborns. You can call 1-866-797-0000, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a Registered Nurse. The nurses can speak with you in more than 300 languages. They can also refer you to other breastfeeding help in your community.
You can also search for breastfeeding support services available in your area, by location and type of service at www.ontariobreastfeeds.ca. The directory will link you to community services such as peer support, lactation consultants, and a range of other services and health care providers.
Joanne Woodward Fraser 10/2/2015