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How does lactation and breastfeeding work?
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Middle School Teacher
For a mother who has just given birth to a live infant, the mother's body produces the food the baby needs. If the mother chooses to breastfeed, the baby should be breastfed within an hour. The baby "latches on" to the mother's breast where the baby's mouth covers the mother's areola and the infant sucks to get its food. The first food is not milk for it takes a while for the milk to "come in" or "let down". The first food the baby gets is colostrum which is filled with nutrients and protective enzymes to help the baby stay healthy and survive. The baby must learn to suck to get the food from the mother's breasts which requires more effort than a bottle; that is why a mother starts with breastfeeding first. The mother has to teach the baby HOW to latch on to the breast, or the mother gets more sore than she needs to if the baby latches on to only the nipple instead of the whole areola. Several positions help the baby learn to latch on properly which nurses in a hospital teach the mother. The mother must stay relaxed for the milk to flow easily, and the milk supply will increase as the baby's need for more milk increases. The reason breast feeding is so important is that mother's milk is the perfect blend of nutrients which a baby needs which no formula can duplicate exactly and the formula is expensive. Breast milk has been shown to protect babies from many health issues including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome when the risk increases around the age of 3 months. For me, who breast fed both of my babies, the incredible closeness and the time spent just being with your child is the ultimate experience I wouldn't give up for anything. For working mothers who express breast milk or take the child with them, I salute their commitment to what is a true plus for the child. For those who cannot breastfeed, I believe closeness is achieved if time is taken to truly BE with the baby. For those who hesitate, another reason to breastfeed besides for the baby is that it uses 500 calories a day!
Posted by mizzwillie on March 4, 2014 at 1:37 PM (Answer #1)
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