Updated: Aug 16, 2019
It’s National Breastfeeding Month and we want to give all you moms out there, future and present, some advice and support on how to feed and bond with your little ones, however you do it!
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
So, you’re going to breastfeed. Well, we welcome you to an absolutely beautiful and beneficial part of raising your baby! Breastfeeding is the ideal way to nourish your baby, and the benefits to you and your baby are huge:
1. Breast milk is incredibly healthy for your baby.
It contains antibodies that cannot be manufactured. Babies who are breastfed are sick less, have less gastrointestinal issues and a decreased potential for developing allergies.
2. Breastfeeding has health benefits for mom too.
Nursing can help keep breast and ovarian cancers away, it helps with stress, and (love this one) it burns calories!
3. Breastfeeding saves money.
Experts say that you can save $400 in your baby’s first year (even with buying a breast pump) if you use nursing almost exclusively.
4. Breastfeeding is convenient.
Forgot the formula on your last grocery run? Diaper bag bursting at the seams? Traveling? These are not concerns when you have a natural food source!
5. Breastfeeding may prevent ovulation and menstruation.
Continued breastfeeding can pause menstruation and ovulation. This phenomenon has been viewed as nature’s way of allowing time between pregnancies for the body to recover. We see it as not having to worry about that pesky “time-of-the-month” while we are enjoying time with our newborns.
Of course, we respect and support moms who are in all situations, but if they are fortunate enough to have the choice, we always encourage breastfeeding.
Bonding While Bottle Feeding
Whether you’re pairing bottle feeding with breastfeeding or not, there are surefire ways to keep that bond with your baby even when you’re bottle feeding.
1. Keep quiet time sacred.
When feeding your baby, keep the room quiet and calm. Babies are easily overwhelmed by all that there is to see in their new environment, so give them a relaxing atmosphere to focus on you only.
2. Keep your baby close to you.
Hold your baby at chest level and support their head with the crook of your arm as if you were breastfeeding. Babies have limited sight but are able to see your face when held at chest level.
3. Don’t be afraid of skin to skin contact.
This kind of contact allows your baby to regulate their body temperature, as well as reducing their stress level.
4. Communicate with your baby.
Whether this is making eye contact with your little one, or just humming, your baby recognizes YOU. Hearing your voice or noticing your eyes are the best ways for your baby to strengthen their bond with you.
5. Sniff your baby’s head.
We know. We know. If this is your first time hearing this tip, it may be a little strange, but judge not! Sniffing your baby’s head actually releases oxytocin, otherwise known as “the love hormone,” which aides in maternal behavior, milk production, and social bonding.
Involving Your Partner
Taking care of your little one, even with feeding, doesn’t have to be a solo activity. Involving a partner is a great way for some family bonding time. Whether you’re breastfeeding or formula feeding, here are some ways to include the “non-feeding” parent.
1. Get your partner in on the snuggles.
Touch is an important part of bonding and making this a family activity can cast a wider net of strong connections and security for your baby.
2. Hand over and hands off.
Allowing your partner to take the reins sometimes is OKAY. Once they know what they’re doing, take a step back and let them have some alone time with the little one. Some common tasks include:
3. Communicate with your partner.
Standing back and seeing your partner having a moment with your baby is a magical experience, so tell them! There’s nothing more encouraging than sharing your unique view on something so beautiful. Conversely, if there is something that you think could change or improve (feeding posture, cleaning techniques, etc.) tell them that as well. Remember though, everyone finds a different flow and, while it may not be exactly your own, it is still okay.
If you need help, we offer lactation counseling for moms who need assistance latching, pumping, and everything in-between. Our lactation counselors will consider all aspects of your situation and make sure that you have all the tools you need to properly feed your baby.
Call us today at 608-233-9746 for more information!