As National Breastfeeding Month comes to a close, allow me to share more information about breastfeeding with my readers (that’s you).
I had an opportunity to pick the brain of Amy Spangler, breastfeeding expert and President of Babygooroo.com. Ms. Spangler, is a registered nurse as well as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She has earned several advanced degrees in maternal and infant health, worked in labor and delivery departments and OB/GYN clinics, and her work has been published in numerous medical journals. During her career, she has served as the Chair of the United States Breastfeeding Committee and has worked as a consultant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to advocate for breastfeeding awareness and education among the general population. Spangler served as President of the International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) from 1996-1999.
As a new breastfeeder I appreciate her taking time to share her knowledge with me as well as my readers.
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Amy Spangler, breastfeeding expert
and President of Babygooroo.com
1. What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby—and yourself! Breastfed babies have fewer ear infections, less constipation and diarrhea, and less risk of asthma and allergy. As a result, parents of breastfed babies miss fewer days of work and lose less income. Breastfeeding also reduces the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) the leading cause of death in infants 1 month to 1 year of age. In addition to protecting babies from SIDS, breastfeeding protects against a myriad of acute and chronic diseases such as childhood cancers and childhood obesity. Breastfed babies also have better brain development. Children who are breastfed tend to do better on IQ tests and better in school. But it’s not only babies who benefit, Mothers who breastfeed lose weight more easily and have less bleeding after childbirth. They also have less risk of premenopausal breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer later in life. Breastfeeding even makes child spacing easier! Once you add in the economic and environmental benefits, it’s easy to see why breastfeeding is the best choice for every mom and baby.
2. How long would you recommend a new mother breastfeeds?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that mothers breastfeed for at least a year and exclusively for the first six months. In reality, each mother and baby need to decide what works best for them. A mother needing to return to work or school at 6 weeks faces very different challenges compared to the mother with an extended maternity leave or a flexible job schedule. The same is true for mothers of preemies compared to mothers of full term babies. It’s helpful to know that with the right knowledge and support, nearly every mom and baby can breastfeed or at least breast milk feed. By setting realistic goals—6 days, 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months, most moms find that not only are they able to achieve their goals but they typically breastfeed even longer than they originally planned.
3. What are your thoughts on pumping versus putting a baby directly to the breast?
There is no substitute for breastfeeding and the sensory stimulation that skin-to-ckin contact provides. However, when moms or babies are unable to breastfeed for whatever reason, breast milk feeding using a mother’s own milk (MOM) is far more beneficial (nutritionally and immunologically) than formula feeding.
4. What are some of the reasons that mothers are unable to breastfeed?
There are only a few true contraindications to breastfeeding for babies—galactosemia and some types of phenylketonuria (both metabolic diseases). Regarding mothers—those with active tuberculosis are urged to breast milk feed until they are no longer contagious (about 10-14 days), mothers undergoing cancer chemotherapy treatment, mothers infected with HIV and HTLV types I and II (assuming they live in developed countries where breast milk alternatives are readily available), mother using illegal drugs, and mothers receiving certain radiologic treatments (mothers receiving radiologic testing can usually breastfeed).
5. What options are available for mothers who are unable to breastfeed?
The next best option is a mother’s own expressed milk, followed by donor human milk (available from a milk bank or another mother), and then infant formula.
6. Where can my readers find you online and get more information about your efforts?
You can find more information on babygooroo.com.
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Thanks again to Ms. Spangler for taking time to share with my readers. I hope you learned something, I know I did.
What are your thoughts on breastfeeding? Did you breastfeed your child(ren)?
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photo credit: wikipedia