Why We Encourage Moms to Breastfeed
By Vicki Eber
According to the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH), Allen County has been steadily increasing the rate of breastfed babies since 2011, comprising of 82% of the birth population in 2015. Why are so many women are taking to breastfeeding over formula? There are many beneficial factors to breastfeeding. Here are a few:
It’s FREE. For low-income mothers, cost is factored into everything. Breastfeeding saves an average family about $1200-$1500 in formula the first year, according to womenshealth.gov. That savings can go into a monthly grocery budget to help mom replenish herself and her milk supply!
It helps mom and baby stay healthy. Breastfeeding helps mom go back to her pre-pregnancy weight as well as prevent other conditions such as breast cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Baby decreases their risk of diabetes, asthma, and obesity. Plus, baby absorbs the majority of the nutrients in breast milk.
It’s a natural instinct. Mom produces the right amount of milk to what baby needs as they grow. Plus, less time making bottles at night might mean more sleep time!
For mothers who are unsure they are producing enough milk, which is a common concern and misperception, local WIC offices provide a service to mothers in their program to ensure they are producing. They weigh baby pre-feeding and post-feeding, which helps mom to understand how much milk she is producing for her baby. Another encouraging method to ensure mom is producing enough milk is to have her continue feeding on both sides, to stimulate the nervous system, signaling to the mammary glands to continue producing the right amount of milk.
Lactation Consultants are also available at all of our local hospitals in Allen County, the WIC office, as well as at our office. Jackie Martinez is the certified lactation consultant at Healthier Moms and Babies, and there are plans to certify more caseworkers in the near future. These consultants provide education and coaching to mothers on how to relax, latch their baby to breast, and working through painful nursing or low milk production.
What about moms who cannot produce milk or have low milk supply?
Sometimes moms cannot produce enough or at all, and that is ok! It is easy for mothers to get frustrated or down on themselves for not being able to produce. Formula is there as a primary source for moms who cannot produce and backup for low milk supply.