For many moms feeding their baby can be a difficult journey. “Sometimes babies want to eat every hour like we want to pick and graze every hour,” said Carol Lawrence, a perinatal practice supervisor with Lee Health.
But if a mother chooses to breastfeed, it can be challenging to know if the baby is getting enough to eat. “We have to teach moms and work with them, so they know if their babies are getting enough without using something like a bottle. Is the baby urinating enough, is the baby stooling enough? How is their behavior?” said Lawrence.
Health experts recommend babies have eight feedings throughout a 24 hour day, including one at night, but instead of watching the clock, let the baby determine when they eat. “The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for six months and then at least throughout the first year, you can start to add in food,” she said.
If a mother is healthy, health experts encourage breastfeeding. “It’s healthier for everyone when babies can receive human milk,” said Lawrence.
Studies show, breast milk offers babies lifelong benefits and lowers their risk of developing obesity, certain cancers, and hypertension. “The research is showing with many chronic diseases; inflammation is a key component. Stroke, heart disease, cancers, it’s like the immune system has been over-activated--That’s what we feel happened when babies receive formula, it flicks that switch, and that immune system has been activated,” she said.
Educating families on the breastfeeding benefits and helping them on their journey to nourish their baby.