The Little Tots Sunshine Home Daycare
Breast Feeding Your Child
By: Jesse Walters

New mothers are many times faced with the question as to weather they would like to breastfeed. There are many things that may influence a mother's decision. If you decide to breast-feed, you are giving your baby the best nutrition possible regardless of whether you nurse for just a few weeks or for several months or more. Breast-feeding also provides a unique opportunity for mother and child to form a special bond. Breast-feeding benefits the mother in many ways:
  • Helps your uterus return to its normal size more rapidly.
  • Helps you lose weight faster.
  • Helps reduce your risk of breast cancer by causing potentially protective changes in breast cells if you nurse for at least 3 months. The risk of breast cancer is further reduced each time you nurse another baby for at least 3 months.
  • Eliminates the inconvenience and expense of preparing formula and washing bottles; breast milk is sterile, always available, and at just the right temperature.
  • Each breast-feeding session gives you a much-needed chance to relax.

    Breast-feeding is good for your baby because it:
  • Provides a unique mixture of nutrients, hormones, and proteins essential for digestion, brain development, and growth.
  • Provides infection-fighting proteins (antibodies) that reduce the risk of infections of the middle ear, digestive system, and respiratory tract.
  • Reduces the risk of food allergies.
  • Causes fewer digestive problems, such as constipation or diarrhea, than formula.
  • Reduces the risk of some chronic diseases later in life.

    Your breasts were made for nursing a baby-you don't need to do anything to prepare them. In fact, experts now say that the less a woman does, the better. Ask your obstetrician to examine your breasts during pregnancy for any anatomical features, such as inverted nipples, that might interfere with breastfeeding. If you have inverted nipples, your doctor or the lactation nurse (a specialist trained to help new mothers learn how to breast-feed) may recommend wearing a special nipple shield along with performing certain exercises in the last 3 months of pregnancy to draw out the nipple.

    Women with some rare health conditions, such as infection with HIV the virus that causes AIDS, should not breast-feed (HIV can be passed to a nursing baby in breast milk). If you are concerned about any condition you have, ask your doctor about it. Medications taken by a nursing mother-for treating cancer, high blood pressure, or mental disorders-can harm a nursing baby. Inform your doctor if you are taking any medications regularly; he or she can tell you if it's OK for you to breast-feed or if you should take the medication just after a nursing session or before your baby goes to bed at night. If the doctor prescribes any new medication, be sure to tell him or her that you are breast-feeding. Some diseases, such as galactosemia or PKU prevent a baby from breast-feeding because the child cannot tolerate the nutrients in breast milk. In such cases, your child's doctor will prescribe special formula.

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