Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Choosing to Breastfeed
Despite what friends and family may have told you, breastfeeding can be easy and painless. The key to success is to ask for help and support early and often. And, women in
today are very fortunate to have a number of great breastfeeding resources available. There is a large network of qualified lactation professionals who are committed to helping moms have a positive, painless breastfeeding experience. New Hampshire
Breastfeeding Benefits for Mom:
There are many proven health benefits for women who choose to breastfeed! Women who do not breastfeed are at a greater risk of breast cancer. Your breast cancer risk is reduced by 7% for each birth and at an additional rate of 4.3% per month that you continue breastfeeding.
Research has also found that women who do not breastfeed are at a greater risk for developing ovarian cancer and Type 2 Diabetes. Breastfeeding for 18 months or more was associated with a significant decrease in ovarian cancer risk (compared to not breastfeeding). For each month of breastfeeding the relative risk was decreased by 2%.
Increasing the duration of breastfeeding is also associated with a decreased risk of Type 2 Diabetes. For each additional year of lactation, women had a decrease in the risk of Type 2 Diabetes of 14-15%.
If you are pregnant and want to breastfeed, set yourself up for success. Ask yourself:
1. Does my birth place encourage Skin to Skin for one hour immediately after delivery for a non-medicated birth and Skin to Skin for two hours after a medicated birth?
2. Does my birth place have Lactation Counselors on staff?
3. Does the pediatrician I have chosen have Lactation Counselors on staff?
4. Which of my friends who have breastfed successfully would be able to offer me non-judgemental support?
5. What breastfeeding support groups are available in my area?
6. Who are the private Certified Lactation Counselors in my area?
7. Who are the certified Postpartum Doulas in my area?
Keep this list of answers handy for when your baby arrives. And, do not hesitate to reach out with all questions and for any help you may need.
One of the most important things you can do to establish a successful breastfeeding relationship is to have continuous Skin to Skin contact with your baby immediately after birth. Skin to Skin should last for one hour if you’ve had a natural, un-medicated birth. If you had any medications during labor, Skin to Skin should be for a continuous two hour period to give the baby a little more time. When babies are allowed to have this quiet time on their moms, they are able to latch successfully and start breastfeeding at their own pace.
And remember, if it hurts, ask for help! Take advantage of the many available resources around you.
Darcy Sauers is a certified postpartum doula¸ lactation counselor and the owner of
Doula (www.doverdoula.com) in the Seacoast area. She is passionately committed to helping new moms find the support, resources and information that they need. Please do not hesitate to contact Darcy with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-988-5945. For more information on breastfeeding, the postpartum period and local resources and events for new moms, follow her on Facebook Dover
1 Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer PubMed
2 Danforth et al. PubMed
3 Schwarz et al. University of Pittsburgh