As a new mother takes the plunge and decides to heed the advice of the American Pediatric Association, as well as many other health organizations out there, and breastfeeding her newborn baby she may find herself overwhelmed with the prospect. As natural as it may be, breastfeeding is not always easy for every mother and baby and there are several aspects in which a new or even a veteran mother may need some help or guidance. From deciding which kind of pump to use, such as a hand pump to a hospital grade breast pump, to latching issues and just about everything in between mothers are faced with a great deal of questions. Just as every child is different and every pregnancy is different so is every breastfeeding experience, therefore even mothers who have “been there, done that” may find themselves faced with a situation that they have yet to come across.
Deciding to breastfeeding that new baby may seem like an easy decision to some but may seem a bit difficult to others and that is okay. As long as a newborn is getting adequate nutrition there are no long term health effects that a non-breastfed baby is going to suffer from. However, studies have indicated that breastfed babies do tend to have less allergies and illnesses than non-breastfed babies and this could be due largely to the amount of antibodies that the baby receives through her mother's breast milk. Breast milk is tailor to the nutritional needs of a newborn, therefore babies who are breastfed also have less instances of GERD or constipation than non-breastfed babies.
Some studies have indicated, though there is no concrete evidence, that breastfed babies have higher IQ scores later in life than non-breasted babies. This could be due in part, however, to the skin to skin contact that these babies receive, rather than an actual benefit from breastmilk. Having skin to skin contact with non-breastfed newborns may also have this effect as they develop the ability to form strong bonds from early ages.
Breastfeeding can come with a wide variety of difficulties. From the beginning some babies have difficulty latching on and this can be frustrating for both mother and baby as well as painful for the mother as her breasts may become engorged or her nipples may become sore. Ways to help include including the breast are not too engorged for the baby to latch on, expressing some milk by hand or using pump, whether a hand pump or a hospital grade breast pump, expressing some milk may give away engorgement and allow the baby to latch on. Sore nipples can be combated with some ethanol oil ointment smoothed over the nipples after they have been allowed to dry completely. Perhaps the most important aspect is to not give up, one day these difficulties will be a distant memory and sometimes it is just something mother and baby need to get through together.
Sometimes it looks that just when a mother has made it over one breastfeeding hurdle another one comes along. Sometimes for no reason at all babies that have been breastfed all along seem disinterested or unwilling to breastfeeding. This can be due to several factors, some of which may need the advice of a physician. Always try to take note if the baby looks to just be distracted from things in the room or if the baby is actually in some sort of pain or discomfort. Often, early teeth can be the culprit however there could be other more serious reasons, so it is generally a good idea to make an appointment with the baby's physician.
There is always expert advice and help available when faced with breastfeeding difficulties. Many OB nurses and midwives are also lactation consultants and many hospitals also offer breastfeeding support groups for mothers to go to discuss their breastfeeding concerns under the guidance of a breastfeeding or lactation consultant. When trying to decide which type of breast pump is needed or which types of bottles to use to feed the expressed milk to your little one these consultants are experienced in the topic of breastfeeding and may be able to get struggling mothers the relief they need.