(KUTV) Breastfeeding provides tremendous benefits for both mom and baby which is why it’s important to establish a breastfeeding, and more specifically, an exclusive breastfeeding routine while still in the hospital.
“The baby’s gut is very immature when a baby is born. When moms are exclusively breastfeeding, the breastmilk and colostrum that the babies take in protect the baby’s gut by coating the baby’s gut,” says Lee Ann Sorensen, Registered Nurse and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant at Intermountain Alta View Hospital.
This helps protect babies from various illnesses by providing immunity benefits. Babies should have their first breastfeeding experience within the first two hours after birth and eat 8-12 times per day.
“We want moms who can, to avoid the casual supplementation,” says Sorensen.
Casual supplementation while in the hospital, leads to casual supplementation at home – making breastfeeding even more difficult for moms.
“We have 90% of our women that come in and want to breastfeed. Three months later, only 60% are still breastfeeding, and if you go to six months, it drops to 20% that are exclusively breastfeeding,” says Sorensen.
One big reason many moms turn to formula is milk supply. Casual supplementation decreases milk production because the body isn’t being told to make milk.
“An empty breast is a milk-making breast, and a breast that has milk sitting in it is on hold,” says Sorensen.
If a baby is struggling to feed, especially in those first few days, moms are encouraged to pump and follow the same 8-12 times per day routine so the body knows to make milk.
Although breastfeeding is natural, that does not mean it’s easy. There are experts available at the hospital who want to help answer all of your breastfeeding questions.