Just like most first-time mothers-to-be, I had a lot of concerns—OK, neuroses—about caring for a newborn. After all, what did I know about changing a diaper (something I hadn't done since babysitting in my teens), let alone cleaning an umbilical cord stump or, most terrifying of all, a fresh circumcision (oy vey)? But I was fairly confident I could master the whole breastfeeding gig.
Breastfed babies may be better equipped to deal with stress later in life than bottle-fed ones. Researchers studied children who were between 5 and 10 years old when their parents separated or divorced and found that those who'd been breastfed were only half as likely to be highly anxious as those who'd been bottle-fed. Breastfeeding may build resilience against stress by encouraging bonding between mom and baby and aiding the development of neural and hormonal pathways that control the stress response, says Scott M.
Most experts recommend caffeine in moderation--that is, one to two cups of coffee daily--while breastfeeding. Since the servings you're having are not the "grande" size, you and your baby should be just fine. (This is one aspect of breastfeeding where cup size does matter!)
Breastfeeding has leapt into the lime light lately, along with a big dose of controversy, thanks to a recent U.S. government campaign that treated the issue as a major public-health concern. "You wouldn't take risks before your baby's born. Why start after?" read advertisements put out by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
While the number of new mothers who are breastfeeding is increasing, cultural and other influences conspire to keep many of them from doing so. Don't let that happen to you. Here are tips to help you overcome some of the common hurdles.
The new World Health Organization (WHO) growth charts reflect data on children fed only breast milk and water for their first 4 to 6 months. If this sounds like your baby, check out the abbreviated chart below for median weight guidelines (in pounds) derived from the WHO data.
Early weaning may lead to alcohol abuse later in life, especially in boys, according to a Danish study of people born between 1959 and 1961. Of the study's 6,562 subjects, 138 were hospitalized for alcoholism, including twice as many men as women. Those who'd been breastfed for less than one month were nearly one and a half times more likely to have alcohol-related problems as those who nursed longer. The researchers suspect mother's milk contains nutrients that fuel brain development and protect against low intelligence and other deficits which might foreshadow alcohol dependence.
August is National Breastfeeding Awareness Month. The breastfeeding campaign, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, hopes to empower women to commit to breastfeeding by highlighting new research showing that babies who are exclusively breastfed for six months are less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea and respiratory illnesses, and may be less likely to develop childhood obesity.
"I had bilateral silicone implants placed at age 17," says Kristen, a 39-year-old mother of two. "I nursed both of my children with no complications or problems. I even had a ruptured implant, which was encapsulated by scar tissue, and my doctor still recommended breastfeeding."
I recently saw an article on the basics of breastfeeding. It was titled "Breastfeeding Bliss." I nearly laughed out loud. Bliss isn't what comes to mind when I think about my own early efforts to nurse.
When I was pregnant, I studied for motherhood as if I was preparing for the bar exam. I read everything I could find on nursing, talked with other moms and even took a breastfeeding class. I was ready. But when my baby arrived, nourishing him was not what I'd expected.
Drink Mother's Milk Tea The tea seemed to make everything feel better. It also gave me a moment of peace, a moment for me, a moment for my boobs to recoup. -- Kirsten Kemp, Santa Barbara, Calif.; mother of Walker, 5; and Nola, 2