DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) Mothers know when their baby is hungry, but what they may not know is whether to breast feed them or not.
Sleeping baby, Photo Date: July 25, 2008 / Cropped Photo: Seth Baur / CC BY 2.0
"Formula is adequate but breast feeding is optimal," said Beth Turner, an RN CLC at SAMC. “breast milk has over 300 components to it. It has white blood cells, anti-viral and antibacterial properties. Formula only has 40 and those are non-living components."
That's just the pros for the baby. Moms can also benefit from breast feeding too!
"Prevents cancers, type 2 diabetes, ovarian cancer, breast cancer,” explained Marie Johnson, a RN IBCLC at SAMC.
Mothers who are HIV positive should not breast feed. The same goes for moms with babies who can't properly digest the sugars found in milk, also known as galactosemia.
"which is usually detected on a PKU, which is done at 24 hours of age and 2 weeks of age," mentioned Johnson.
Breast feeding should not hurt. If it does, the baby is latched wrong, or there's a problem with the baby's oral anatomy. This can cause clogged ducts and swollen breasts. That can lead to mastitis, a bacterial infection in the breast.
"Your body is going to produce what the baby demands" said Johnson.
The nipple has nerves, so when the baby’s nursing it sends signals to the mom's brain to produce milk. On average moms produce 750 to 1200 milliliters of breast milk each day.
"The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breast feeding for the first 6 months,” explained Johnson. “At that point start introducing complimentary foods such as cereal and things like that. Along with that, continuing breast feeding for a year"
Baby's usually wean themselves and start looking to other foods. Once a baby stops taking milk, mothers can still produce for about 40 more days.
SAMC holds breast feeding classes and support groups. They also offer free outpatient lactation consults.
Breast Feeding classes are held once a month. Breast Feeding Support Groups are held the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. Call 334 -793-8956 for more information. For Outpatient Lactation Consults, which are free of charge to public, call 334 -673-4141 to make an appointment.