August is National Breastfeeding Month and a celebration of the breastfeeding journey many mothers choose to take after having a baby.
Breastfeeding is an excellent way to provide babies with the nourishment their little bodies need as they grow. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be breastfed for at least a year, with an introduction of solid foods at six months.
Colostrum, mother's first milk, is a concentrated source of nutrients and disease-fighting antibodies. As the baby grows, a mother’s breastmilk changes to meet her child’s nutritional needs, increasing in volume as baby gets older. The content of breastmilk also changes during baby’s growth spurts (increased fat content) and illnesses (increased antibodies), and it even changes from day to night, with milk at night containing more elements that will help baby sleep well. No matter the stage, though, breastfeeding can also reduce a child's risk of ear infections, respiratory infections, colds, gut infections, childhood cancers, diabetes and even SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), just to name a few.
There are also many benefits to breastfeeding for mothers. Breastfeeding promotes faster weight loss, helps contract the uterus back to pre-pregnancy size, helps with postpartum blood loss and can reduce the risk of female cancers. Additionally, breastmilk is free, always available and never gets recalled.
If a mother decides to breastfeed, Freeman Certified Lactation Consultants are available throughout their journey. We offer prenatal breastfeeding classes (currently cancelled due to COVID-19), breastfeeding assistance throughout the hospital stay and outpatient services for any problems or questions that may arise after going home. Our services are available to all individuals, even those who may have delivered at other locations.
For more information about Freeman Lactation Services, call 417.347.1067.
About the author
Rachel Jobe, BS, IBCLC, is a lactation consultant at Freeman.