By Rosemary Burman, IBCLC
Lactation Consultant at Riverview Health
It’s been well-established that breastfeeding is the ideal way to nourish your newborn. It’s also a great way to bond with your new bundle of joy. Although these types of conversations are taking place more and more in the media and among new moms, expecting moms, partners and grandparents, it’s still common to hear, “I never knew that about breastfeeding!”
As part of World Breastfeeding Week, Aug. 1-7, here are some helpful tips and information for all you new or expecting moms, because—let’s face it—with limited information, breastfeeding can be an intimidating experience.
Did you know that…
Breastfeeding can help the health of your baby.
Breast milk is unique in that it actually changes and meets the needs of your ever-developing baby. Science has shown breast milk is easier for babies to digest, leading to less gas, diarrhea, spitting up, colic and stomach trouble. Amazingly, breastfed babies have fewer colds, earaches and allergies, and they appear to suffer less from obesity, heart disease and leukemia through the course of their lives.
Breastfeeding can also benefit your health and your wallet.
Although breastfeeding can be an adjustment for mom, there are advantages for her health and wellness, too. Not only does breastfeeding burn 500 calories a day to assist in losing pregnancy weight, but it also helps shrink the uterus back into shape. In the long-term picture, women who breastfeed have reduced risks of premenopausal breast and uterine cancers. Since breast milk is free, women who rely only on breastfeeding and pumped bottle milk save an estimated of $1,000 a year in infant feeding costs.
You can donate breast milk or receive donated breast milk.
Of course, breastfeeding is not always the easiest or the most convenient. Because of the Indiana Mothers’ Milk Bank (IMMB), pasteurized donor human milk is available by prescription or hospital order for infants diagnosed with prematurity, malabsorption, feeding intolerance, immunologic deficiencies and more. Riverview Health is proud to be one the milk depots where fully screened and approved donors can drop off milk for the IMMB.
You can get a free breast pump.
As baby grows, many new moms have to return to work or school as well as need their partner to assist in feedings. Breast pumps can make these situations feasible along with aiding a mother who has difficulty breastfeeding, sore nipples or a premature, hospitalized or ill infant. Before registering for or purchasing a breast pump, contact your insurance company. Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans cover the cost of breast pumps. Certain Indiana Medicaid programs also fully cover a breast pump purchase. Visit the Riverview Health Women’s Boutique in the Women’s Pavilion on the main campus or call 317.770.2444 for additional information and assistance with acquiring a free breast pump.
Riverview Health has a free breastfeeding support group.
If you have any questions about breastfeeding, techniques or what’s considered “normal,” we have a free weekly class that’s led by one of our lactation consultants. At the group, you can join other moms and get any questions answered or simply talk to other women going through the same experiences. You can register here or call 317.776.7247. For questions or appointments with a lactation consultant, please call the breastfeeding support line at 317.776.7202.