Celebrating world breastfeeding week

Breastfeeding not only creates a beautiful and strong bond between mother and child, but it also has many benefits. Having a support system makes it easier to get started, and our staff at Brookwood Baptist Medical Center is committed to finding the best way for each mom to succeed if she chooses to breastfeed. In celebration of World Breastfeeding Week, here are a few FAQ’s about breastfeeding and a sneak peek into the first human milk bank in Alabama.

What are some advantages for breastfed newborns?

Breastmilk provides newborns with the most complete nutrition possible. Its nutrients and disease-fighting antibodies help protect infants from germs and illness. Breastfed babies generally have reduced rates of ear infections, asthma, diabetes, childhood Leukemia and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS.

Are there any benefits for mothers who breastfeed?

Mothers who breastfeed generally experience decreased bleeding after delivery, faster return to normal weight after birth. Breastfeeding moms also demonstrate a decreased risk of many diseases, including type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and breast / ovarian cancers. Studies show that women who breastfed all their children between 12 and 23 months had a significant reduction in hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Mothers who do not breastfeed or who wean earlier than three months may have increased risk for postpartum depression.

What length of time should mothers generally breastfeed?

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breastfeeding exclusively for about six months, introducing complimentary solid foods around the same time but no sooner than six months old. If you plan to supplement breast milk with formula, breastfeed exclusively for at least one month to reap the most nutritional benefit.

What are a few tips for new moms trying to breastfeed?

Right after birth, hold the newborn on your chest, skin-to-skin, then breastfeed for the first time within one hour. Mothers and babies should stay in the same hospital room and aim to breastfeed every two to three hours. Try not to use a pacifier or any artificial nipple for the first month until breastfeeding is pretty well established.

Every breastfeeding mother who delivers at Brookwood Baptist sees a certified lactation consultant in the hospital who provides personalized support for mother and baby. Remember your baby will eat what you eat, so make sure to avoid alcohol, caffeine and additives, sticking to a healthy diet and drinking lots of fluids. It’s a good idea to have a glass of water available while breastfeeding, and drinking herbal tea can be a great way to increase liquid intake.

What if moms can’t provide enough milk for their newborn?

Brookwood Baptist is currently participating in an advisory role as the Community Food Bank establishes a Human Donor Milk Bank called Mother’s Milk Bank of Alabama! The goal is to provide pasteurized human donor milk to NICU babies whose mothers can’t provide breast milk and for well-babies who need it for medical reasons when their mother’s own milk is not available. Contact the Lactation Department at Brookwood Baptist for information about human donor milk and for breastfeeding support with your new baby.

Does Brookwood Baptist provide support for breastfeeding mothers in the community?

Yes! Brookwood Baptist offers regular breastfeeding support groups around Birmingham and any mother is welcome to attend. A Brookwood Baptist lactation consultant is present at every meeting to answer questions and facilitate the group, plus they provide digital scales for weighing babies before and after feeds.

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