By: Tutasi Waters, MD, OBGYN
Hello to all our Mothers, and thank you for reading.
Soon, our Maternity Family will be evaluated as part of the national Breastfeeding Health Initiative (BFHI) called Baby Friendly. This is part of a larger goal established several years ago called Healthy People 2020. The hope is that 25% of all babies born in the USA would be exclusively breastfed for up to 6 months postpartum, and longer if possible. We are currently between 19-22%, depending upon the articles you read.
Growing up, I remember hearing the phrase “Breast is Best” without truly understanding it. As I grew older, I was informed that formulas had changed since I was a youngster and were closer to meeting all a baby’s nutritional needs.
As a physician, and now OBGYN, I have been asked to look at breastfeeding in a different light. Part of that is educating myself and understanding that breastfeeding is not just nutrition, but stimulation for our babies. They learn social cues from feeding, but specific immune and neurological responses are triggered as well.
Here is what I have learned over the last few years since Signature has been involved in the BFHI:
- Breastfed babies have a decreased risk for diabetes and childhood obesity
- Breastfeeding mothers have a decreased risk for diabetes, obesity, breast and ovarian cancer
- Breastfed babies have a decreased risk for asthma
- Breastfeeding mothers have a decreased risk for postpartum depression
We have put into practice the following to provide a comfortable environment for learning how to breastfeed now and to continue breastfeeding after you leave for home:
- Immediately after delivery skin-to-skin — Babies get to know you by scent and voice. Your heartbeat is soothing, just as it is in utero
- Rooming in — this allows parents to learn their baby’s cues for feeding.
- Lactation consultants and our nurses — they know many tips to help with baby latching and mother’s comfort during breastfeeding.
I have come to learn that breastfeeding helps babies now and the children they will become. The question of breastfeeding your baby will always be your decision. The answer will find its basis in many factors. Learning more about the lifelong benefits of breastfeeding was eye opening for me.
I wish you all the best in making the decision. Please remember all of us in the Maternity Department want to help, so ask as many questions as you need to make the best choice for your baby and you.
To learn more about Dr. Waters or request an appointment, visit http://bit.ly/2f5TGZ5.