More than 80% of American women breastfeed their babies. It’s the most common method of feeding newborns, but the thought of breastfeeding can overwhelm many moms-to-be.
As prenatal care specialists, our midwifery and obstetrics teams at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta want to help you prepare for your baby’s arrival — and that includes how you’ll feed them.
There’s a lot to learn about breastfeeding, and we offer personalized guidance and support from pregnancy to postpartum.
Breastfeeding benefits mom and baby
Breast milk is a living substance that contains a combination of fat, protein, sugar, minerals, and water. It’s uniquely formulated to support brain and body growth, and it actually changes to meet your growing baby’s needs.
Breast milk also has antibodies that help protect your baby from certain illnesses, like respiratory infections. If your baby was born prematurely, breast milk may lower their risk of short- and long-term complications related to preterm birth.
Breastfeeding doesn’t just offer health benefits for your baby. Mothers who breastfeed may have a lower risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer than women who don’t breastfeed.
Plus, breastfeeding releases hormones to shrink your uterus, reduce postpartum bleeding, and even help you shed weight you gained during pregnancy.
You won’t be an expert right away
Your body is naturally equipped to breastfeed, but that doesn’t mean you — or your baby — will know exactly what to do right away. You need to learn how to get your baby to latch and how they tell you that they’re hungry.
Give yourself time to adjust to breastfeeding. In many cases, newborn babies feed 8-12 times every 24 hours for the first few weeks of life, but different babies have different feeding needs. Let your baby set their own schedule, and don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or your baby’s pediatrician for advice if you find breastfeeding difficult.
The decision to breastfeed is personal
You know what’s best for your baby, and that includes how you feed them. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for six months, but many women breastfeed for shorter or longer periods of time.
The length of time that you breastfeed is up to you and your baby. Some women choose not to breastfeed at all, whether it’s due to health limitations or personal preference. Other women choose to alternate breastfeeding and bottle feeding with formula, which offers their partner a chance to bond with the baby during feeding too.
Lactation support is available
If you want to breastfeed your baby, you don’t have to figure it out all alone. OB-GYN Associates of Marietta is here to support you. We have a library of resources available for new moms, and our midwifery team and lactation consultant prioritize postpartum care.
We offer information, education, and personalized support to help you adjust to life with a newborn. Our team helps you find the best ways to feed your baby that works for both of you.
Along with breastfeeding education, we can also help you find out if you qualify for a breast pump through your insurance plan. Many moms find that a combination of pumping and feeding is flexible and effective, particularly when they return to work.
Find comprehensive prenatal and postpartum care at OB-GYN Associates of Marietta in Marietta and Woodstock, Georgia. Schedule your first appointment over the phone today.