As a nurse working in Women’s Health and the NICU at Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Hospital, my patients will often hear my co-workers and me refer to breast milk as “liquid gold.” We do this to help mothers understand how important it is and how seriously we take our breast milk and breastfeeding.
Breast is best. There is no way around it. It is the gold standard in nutrition for babies. It packs a powerful punch of everything from essential vitamins and minerals to immune protection for baby.
And guess what? It is just as good for mom. Breastfeeding is a twofor- one deal of goodness for both mom and baby. We all talk about how great it is for baby, but let’s take a moment to talk about how great it is for mom, too!
Mom, did you know that exclusively breastfeeding helps decrease your risk of developing breast cancer? It also decreases your risk of developing uterine cancer, osteoporosis and Type 2 diabetes. And speaking of decreasing — mothers who exclusively breastfeed lose the baby weight faster and easier than mothers who don’t.
According to the Mayo Clinic, mothers who exclusively breastfeed are able to eat an extra 400500 calories per day. It is important, however, to make those calories count. An extra candy bar or two is not the recommended way to increase your calories. Make your plate look like a rainbow — eat all sorts of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins. It is important for breastfeeding mothers to stay well hydrated and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Breastfeeding is a great way to stay stressfree as a new mother. The milk is always the right temperature, and it is always with you. No need to worry about mixing bottles or warming them up when you are far from home.
In addition to convenience, breastfeeding is an excellent way to help mothers bond with their new babies. When you breastfeed, your body releases the hormone Oxytocin. This hormone’s nickname is the “feel good” hormone because of its psychological effect. It is responsible for all those feelings of love and nurturing and has proven to help decrease the effects of postpartum depression. According to WomensHealth. gov, mothers who exclusively breastfeed miss less work than mothers who formula feed. The reason? Infants who are breastfed are less likely to get sick because of the immune protection they receive from breast milk. No need to worry about calling in sick, mom. Save that PTO for an actual vacation.
Some exceptions and contraindications exist to breastfeeding. Talk to your physician and pediatrician about breastfeeding and whether it is right for you. Other great breastfeeding resources include the Lactation Hotline at 920-451-5025, the La Leche League of Sheboygan County and WIC.
Keep calm, and breast feed.
Dena Horvath, RN, BSN, is a breastfeeding mom to Marlo and works in Women’s Health/NICU at Aurora Sheboygan Memorial Hospital.