Cow milk is for calves, human breast milk is for babies. It has the best nutrients for baby. Breastfeeding has benefits for both baby and the mother.
Benefits For Baby
Breast milk is a safeguard against allergies (those babies who get allergies would be worse). Human milk protects against infections, inhibits the growth of virus’ and bacteria in baby.
It is helpful in the development of baby’s jaw and facial structure. It encourages normal weight gain, which assures a less-likelihood of obesity later in life. The developing brain and nervous system of the baby also is benefited.
Benefits For You
Breast feeding without supplementation delays menstruation for six months or more. During this time the chances of getting pregnant is practically nil.
Studies have shown that women who breastfeed their babies, for even a few months, are less likely to develop breast cancer, than if a woman does not breastfeed. It also protects against ovarian cancer, urinary tract infections, and osteoporosis.
The hormones released when you begin to breastfeed assists in the reduction of the size of the uterus after giving birth (Oxytocin) and assists in the bonding process of mother and baby. As does the close contact made between mother and baby.
Oxytocin is also a powerful antidepressant. The act of breastfeeding and its subsequent release of Oxytocin is shown to assist in the reduction of post-partum depression.
FREQUENCY AND DURATION OF FEEDING
Allowing the baby to nurse as often as baby needs to nurse, is the best way. In the beginning this may mean about every two hours, from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next. This assures your supply of milk will come in, and that you meet the baby’s needs.
When a feeding pattern is established, all seems right in the world! But if you suddenly are dealing with a more frequent urgency of the baby to feed, this is not an indication baby is “dissatisfied” or your milk is not sufficient to meet the baby’s needs. It means that baby is working to increase the supply, to meet his/ or her demands. It is normal. You do not need to supplement, nor do you need to begin to feed baby foods.
The length of the feeding depends on the baby’s interest and response. At first baby will seem to be starving and suck eagerly, then after about 10 minutes doze off or lose interest. It is at this point you should burp the baby and change the diaper if necessary. Afterwards, you can switch to the other breast.
WORKING AWAY FROM HOME
To succeed at breastfeeding and working, it’s good to find people will support your goal of breast-feeding when you return to work whose words emphasize being successful at working and breast-feeding, not failing.
A Childbirth Educator can assist you (I personally have experience with working and breastfeeding successfully with two of my babies). You can also call the La Leche League, or visit the online site.
Don’t wait until a week or two before you’re going back to work. Do your information gathering and learn all you can ahead of time.
For success, you will need a good breast pump (The picture above is one of the recommended types and brands). You will need to use your break time and express your milk. If you take with you to work a decent and yet small cooler or even an insulated lunch bag you should be able to keep the milk for later use.
SAVING YOUR MILK FOR LATER USE
Breastmilk has the remarkable ability to slow bacterial growth. It will stay fresh safely at room temperature (66 to 72 degrees) for up to ten hours.
It can also be kept in the refrigerator for up to eight days. If you need longer storage, it can be frozen for up to two weeks. Use a separate container (that has been cleaned) for each expression. These can later be combined, once cooled.
Use bottles that are designed for nursing babies. Otherwise the baby may develop what is known as “nipple confusion” and not suck sufficiently at the breast. Brands (all of these simulate the human nipple), such as: Mimijumi Very Hungry (mixed reviews / highest priced), Avent Naturals, Medela Calma (Can be purchased at Amazon / BPA free), and the Playtex Ventaire (some mothers say it leaks), plastic Philips Avent (BPA free that can be purchased at Amazon). All of the aforementioned brands are tooted as having little to no problems with “nipple confusion”.
Remember you are working to simulate the nursing atmosphere. Make sure your babysitter understands the concept of holding the baby as if feeding at the breast and that they should not be propping the bottle for baby.
Korte, Diana and Roberta Scaer. A Good Birth, A Safe Birth. (1992) Harvard Common Press.
La Leche League International. The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding, 7th Rev. ed. (2004)
Katelynne Shepard. Breastfeeding Problems.com. http://www.breastfeeding-problems.com/breastfeeding-hormones.html