August is National Breastfeeding Month. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months of a baby's life. After 6 months, breastfeeding can be continued through the introduction of new foods and then until both mom or baby are comfortable weaning.
Breast milk provides a baby with adequate nutrition in addition to providing antibodies that help to protect the baby from multiple illnesses. Breastfeeding also aids in the bonding process between mother and baby. Most infants will feed every 2-3 hours and it is important to offer both breasts equally to maintain supply in each and to decrease your risk of mastitis.
Problems with and during breastfeeding are common and there are a variety of resources to help. Aside from the providers at Capital Women's Care, there are local breastfeeding support groups and lactation consultants that are there to provide support, as well. It is important to note that some women cannot breastfeed due to medical conditions or have issues with supply where formula needs to be introduced for the health of the baby.
While breastfeeding, some women do not have return of a menstrual cycle and others may have regular or irregular cycles. It's important to remember that while breastfeeding, even if you don't have a regular cycle, you can still become pregnant. At your postpartum visits your provider will discuss different contraceptive options, like an IUD, that are available and safe to use while breastfeeding.
Breastfeeding has multiple positive benefits for both mother and baby and breast milk can be provided by either breastfeeding directly or pumping. The providers at Capital Women's Care encourage breast feeding and we are here to assist you through the postpartum period and help you with any breastfeeding concerns!