Here at Overlake, we make breastfeeding a priority for our mothers and babies. There’s no comparison between breast milk and even the very best formula on the market. The reality is that even a single feeding of formula can permanently – and negatively – affect the flora (healthy bacteria) of a baby’s digestive tract for the rest of his or her life. And, emerging evidence indicates that baby isn’t the only one benefitting from breastfeeding: the act of breastfeeding may improve your chances of being breast cancer free.
Learn the 4 Cs of Breastfeeding: Calm, Comfortable, Close and Cancer Prevention
Colostrum and breast milk are the very best things you can ever feed your newborn baby. Colostrum provides your baby with essential nutrients, probiotics, antibodies and infection-fighting white blood cells before your breast milk comes in. It is a wonderful laxative, helping your baby to shed thick meconium that has accumulated in his tummy during your pregnancy, and also helps him pass bilirubin that can lead to infant jaundice. Together, colostrum and breast milk are exactly what your baby wants and needs. Best of all, your miraculous body makes it – and it’s FREE!
As you’re searching for a qualified labor and delivery team, we recommend questioning your future OB/GYN, hospital and/or birthing clinic regarding their feelings about breastfeeding and the types of lactation support they provide. Only work with teams who are wholeheartedly dedicated to providing long-term breastfeeding support so you and your baby can enjoy one of the most rewarding – and healthy – mother/baby experiences.
Usually, we talk about three Cs of breastfeeding: Calm, Comfortable and Close. Today, we’ll touch on these, but we want to highlight what may become the 4th “C” – Cancer Prevention.
Calm. In the month or two after your baby is born, she will not want anything more than skin-to-skin contact with you, and breastfeeding is the best means of providing this. Debunk anything you have read about timed feedings – especially in the infant stage. Infants are not manipulative, and they know when they need calories and comfort. Honor this sacred time by offering calming, skin-to-skin contact on demand. Breastfeeding provides hours and hours of calm, restful nourishment for both you and your baby.
Comfortable. It’s important that you be comfortable. Try to avoid cramped or crouched breastfeeding positions by using an ergonomically supportive chair or couch and/or using plenty of pillows to help prop you up and support your arms and back. Elevating your legs with an ottoman or footstool will help when you breastfeed from a seated position.
Close. A successful latch is key to a long, comfortable breastfeeding relationship between you and your baby – and that requires close contact. When you’re first learning to breastfeed, your baby’s body will be adjacent to and touching yours. As you both get more comfortable with nursing, your positions will vary. Although breastfeeding is natural, it can take weeks to “get it down” to the point that you can nurse while reading, washing dishes or carrying on a conversation. Take breastfeeding classes before your baby is born and establish relationships with your local La Leche League, which is a wonderful source of lactation support and guidance.
Cancer prevention. Here is the exciting 4th “C”; a recent study of more than 1600 women shows that in addition to reducing the risk of developing breast cancer, women who breastfeed have a better prognosis if they are diagnosed with the disease. The study, led by Kaiser Permanente, determined that women who breastfed for 6-months or more were 37% less likely to have a recurrence of breast cancer after their breast cancer treatment was finished. Also, women who breastfed are 28% less likely to die from breast cancer.
While researchers aren’t exactly sure why this is the case, they suspect it is a combination of factors including lower estrogen-levels while breastfeeding combined with having fully developed ductal cells. This is exciting news because, in addition to improving women’s health, long-term health benefits like these will continue to promote breastfeeding and lactation support by healthcare providers around the nation.
Are you looking for a labor and delivery team who will provide you with the post-natal and lactation support and care you need? Schedule a consultation with Overlake OB/GYN.