This is a common concern among new breastfeeding moms, because unlike with a bottle, it’s difficult to tell just how much milk your baby is drinking. But here’s the good news: If you’re nursing frequently and effectively and taking care of yourself, you shouldn’t have trouble making enough milk.
Women who were breastfed as infants and have older siblings who were also nursed appear to have a lower risk of breast cancer. When University of Wisconsin researchers compared women with breast cancer to a control group, they found that women who were fourth-born or later had a 42 percent lower risk compared to first-born women.
This week I'm singing the praises of lactation consultants (LCs) and women who conquer breastfeeding hurdles in creative ways. These women (are there any guys who do this job?) are all about finding solutions to breastfeeding problems that might otherwise cause women to ditch breastfeeding and hit the bottle. LCs are breastfeeding specialists; usually (but not always) registered nurses and childbirth educators with extensive training and board certification. They're nursing women's "breast friends," working boob jobs to feed the masses. (Sorry, I had to get those puns off my chest).
If someone told you there’s an elixir that could help protect your new baby from bronchitis, ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea and urinary tract infections, would you want to know more? If you knew that the effects of this concoction would last into your child’s teenage years, reducing his risk for diabetes, allergies and high blood pressure, would you just have to have it? If the same potion might boost his IQ, wouldn’t you rush out to find it as soon as you could?
The day after I came home from the hospital with my brand-new daughter, I found myself sitting in an armchair with the baby nurse, my husband, a neighbor and a chirpy doula named Lori all leaning over me, staring in wonder and cooing encouragement. It wasn’t my baby they were looking at; it was my breasts. As they poked, prodded and discussed the shape of my nipples, I began to feel my breasts take on a life of their own. Maybe it was from lack of sleep, but I swear I saw them float up in front of me and say, “We’re in charge now, honey. Get used to it.”
Women should breastfeed for one year or longer to give their baby the full benefits, pediatricians say. Such payoffs as increased immunity to disease, lower risk for allergies and a slower-but-healthier growth rate have long been noted in breastfed infants, but who would have guessed that the longer babies nursed, the better the nutritional content of their mother’s milk?
If your newborn has at least three yellow stools and six wet diapers a day and is gaining weight properly (1 ounce per day until about 3 months of age), chances are you're producing enough milk and don't need to pump. In fact, pumping when you have an adequate milk supply can be detrimental, says Corky Harvey, M.S., R.N., a certified lactation consultant and co-owner of The Pump Station in Santa Monica and Hollywood, Calif. Heres why: If you produce so much that your baby doesn't take it all in a feeding, the unreleased milk can lead to clogged ducts or mastitis.
If there ever was a magic potion, it's breast milk. With its perfect mix of protein, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins and minerals, it's got everything your baby will need to thrive. Yet despite its stellar composition, most mothers' milk does contain small amounts of pollutants.
It's one of the most common questions among new breastfeeding moms: Is my baby getting enough milk? Not experiencing some uncertainty is difficult, since you can't actually see how much milk your body is producing, and, therefore, how much your newborn is getting. The good news? Most women do produce enough milk to nurse their babies successfully; it's estimated that only approximately 5 percent to 15 percent—or even less—of all breastfeeding mothers truly have a low milk supply.
It goes without saying: A healthy, well-fed mom produces better milk. Follow these simple tips from Eileen Behan, R.D., author of Eat Well, Lose Weight While Breastfeeding (Villard), to nourish yourself while nourishing your little one.
• Eat like your baby. Stave off hunger pangs by eating a small meal or snack every two to three hours throughout the day. Don't let yourself get ravenous, or you'll be more likely to overindulge or reach for unhealthy foods.