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IU Health Spotlight

IU Health Spotlight: What You Should Know About Breastfeeding

World Breastfeeding Week

What You Should Know About Breastfeeding

Writer / Martha Ollikainen, RN and lactation consultant at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health North Hospital

World Breastfeeding Week is celebrated the first week of August, and is dedicated to the protection, promotion and support of breastfeeding worldwide. There are many health benefits to breastfeeding for both mom and baby. If you are a new mom and haven’t found your breastfeeding rhythm yet, don’t worry. There are many resources available to help you throughout your breastfeeding journey.

Breastfeeding is 100% natural, but doesn’t always come naturally. 

Breastfeeding can be intimidating, especially for first time moms. Taking care of a newborn means long nights and lifestyle changes. Often it takes time for newborns to learn the ‘art of breastfeeding’. Experienced lactation consultants are available to help you navigate this new time in your life. They can also provide insight into selecting supplies such as breast pumps and nursing garments that can support moms’ comfort and options for providing breastmilk to her baby.

Breastfeeding benefits your baby.

Because of the many benefits of breastfeeding, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of life, with continued breastfeeding along with introducing complementary foods. Breast milk contains all the nutrients and antioxidants your baby needs and is filled with antibodies to help keep your baby healthy. Not only does breastmilk support a stronger immune system, but it also helps naturally soothe your newborn.

Breastfeeding is healthier for a mother’s physical health.

Breastfeeding can help with postpartum weight loss, as extra calories are utilized to build your milk supply. Another benefit of breastfeeding is a lower risk of postpartum depression. Breastfeeding releases hormones such as prolactin and oxytocin. These hormones provide a peaceful and nurturing sensation and promote a strong sense of love and attachment between mom and baby. Breastfeeding has also been shown to lower the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, as well as certain types of breast and ovarian cancers in mothers.

Your hospital has breastfeeding resources.

Your hospital has resources to help you successfully breastfeed. If your breastmilk supply is not adequate for your baby, donor breastmilk (DBM) may be bought from the Express Donor Milk site at IU Health North Hospital. Milk banks have supplies of breastmilk donated by mothers who have been carefully screened and produce more milk than their babies need. The donations are pasteurized, tested and then distributed to locations throughout the United States.

IU Health North Hospital offers an outpatient lactation clinic for mother-baby couplets, as well. If you need extra support after discharge from the hospital, have lactation questions or concerns please call our Lactation Consultants at 317.688.2680.

IU Health Spotlight

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