Breastfeeding awareness week is Aug. 1-7. The Health Promotion Program at Bayne-Jones Army Community Hospital will be providing health awareness at the hospital Aug. 10 and at the Post Exchange on Aug. 17 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
While breastfeeding is considered the best nutritional option for babies by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Dietetic Association and the World Health Organization, it may not be the best choice for all mothers. Both breastfeeding and bottle feeding offer benefits and challenges. The decision to breastfeed is a personal one. Expectant mothers need to choose what will work best for them.
Here are some facts about the benefits and challenges of both breastfeeding and bottle feeding:
• Healthier immune system due to antibodies passing from the nursing mother to the baby, which protect against anti-bacterial and anti-viral agents. It also helps protect against allergies, asthma, diabetes, obesity and sudden infant death syndrome.
• Less difficulty in digestion and contains many of the vitamins and minerals, with the exception of vitamin D, that a newborn requires.
• Convenient and saves money.
• Infants accept solid foods more easily.
• May help protect a child from obesity.
• Studies suggest slightly higher IQs in children that were breastfed.
• Enhances bonding between mother and baby and has been known to reduce rates of infant abandonment.
• Increases maternal confidence in caring for babies.
• Burns calories and helps shrink the uterus; nursing moms return to pre-pregnancy weight sooner.
• Reduced risk for mother of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, ovarian cancer and postpartum depression.
• Initially mom may feel uncomfortable with breastfeeding.
• Breast or nipple soreness, which could be from improper technique or infection.
• Requires time and commitment from the mother.
• Change in dietary habits to prevent caffeine, alcohol, foods high in mercury from passing to the infant from the breast milk.
• Medical conditions such as human immunodeficiency virus, AIDS, chemotherapy or treatment with certain medication may make breastfeeding unsafe.
• Moms who previously had breast surgery may have difficulty with producing sufficient milk supply.
Benefits of bottle (formula) feeding:
• Commercially prepared formulas are a nutritious alternative to breast milk and may contain some vitamins and nutrients needed by breastfed babies.
• Allows for others besides the mother to feed the baby.
• No need to find a private place to nurse baby while in public.
• Less frequent feedings because formula is less digestible than breast milk.
• Moms do not need to worry about the things they eat or drink that may affect their baby.
Bottle (formula) feeding challenges:
• Formula requires preparation.
•Additional prepared formula needs to be refrigerated.
• Lack of antibodies to provide added protection against infection and illness.
• Formula can be expensive.
• May cause gas and constipation.
• Manufactured formula cannot duplicate the complexity of breast milk.
Taking time to make the right choice for both mother and child will be less stressful and more rewarding as the baby’s arrival date date nears.
The BJACH Maternal-Child Department provides a breastfeeding basics class monthly. For more information about breastfeeding or to register for a class call 531-3705/3708. More breastfeeding information can also be found at www.KidsHealth.org and www.Womenshealth.gov.