We’ve all heard “breast is best” for newborn babies. But could breastfeeding have a long-reaching impact on the Northern Kentucky community? Lactation experts at St. Elizabeth Healthcare weigh in on the short and long-term benefits of breastfeeding – and the added benefit to the community.
Breastfeeding: A Lifetime of Protection
Breastfeeding is much more than just feeding your newborn. Touching, holding, stroking and talking to your baby is so important to their development. Breastfeeding not only provides all the nutrients a baby needs, it also helps to meet your baby’s emotional needs – and it has a lasting impact.
“Breastfeeding offers a lifetime protection for newborns,” says Sandi Brown, RN, BSN, IBCLC and Lactation Consultant at St. Elizabeth Healthcare. “Breastfeeding affects how food is broken down and utilized in the body, causing a positive impact from infancy through adulthood.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all babies should be exclusively breastfed for six months. Once the baby passes the six-month mark, solid foods should be slowly introduced along with continuing breastfeeding. The longer a baby breastfeeds, the more he or she benefits – and in turn, the community also benefits.
“Breastfeeding can change Northern Kentucky’s rate of heart disease, diabetes, cancers and childhood illness, both acute and chronic,” says Sandi. “Our mission at St. Elizabeth Healthcare is for Northern Kentucky to be the healthiest community in Kentucky. Breastfeeding is a natural first step for babies and families.”
Top 5 Benefits of Breastfeeding
- Immunity – Antibodies are transferred from mother to baby during nursing, helping kick-start the baby’s immune system. Skin-to-skin with the baby can also transfer antibodies from either parent through bare skin. It’s a sweet and memorable way to bond with your baby – and beneficial for their immunity.
- Regulation of vitals – When babies leave their snug, climate-controlled mother’s womb and enter the world, they can oftentimes struggle to regulate their own temperature. Skin-to-skin can help bring the baby’s temperature to a safe level, while the first breast milk (colostrum) helps to regulate the baby’s blood sugar. Low temperature can cause a blood sugar drop, making the baby sleepy, lethargic and uninterested in nursing.
- Brain development – Breast milk has the right type of fats for brain growth; while skin-to-skin mimics the baby being back in the uterus. This releases the human growth hormone that aids with brain maturation.
- Nutrition – There are approximately 20 ingredients found in formula, but breast milk contains more than 200 ingredients. Breastfed babies receive a more robust nutritional base than formula-fed babies.
- Bonding – Each time a baby is held skin-to-skin, fed at the breast and hears their mother’s voice, synapses are being formed while mother and baby bond. These synapses help to develop a baby’s physical, emotional and psychological development.
Breastfeeding Resources at St. Elizabeth
The Lactation department at St. Elizabeth offers both inpatient and outpatient breastfeeding assistance to our patients, free of charge. We are available to help at any step of your breastfeeding journey.
- Inpatient Breastfeeding – our team rounds on mothers in the hospital each day, checking in to assist with latching, positioning and to answer any questions you may have.
- Outpatient Breastfeeding – our outpatient services are available Monday through Friday. We help with weight issues, latching, positioning and expressing breast milk both manually and with a breast pump. Mothers who delivered their baby at other hospitals in the community are welcome to use our lactation services.
St. Elizabeth Lactation Team: We’re Here for You
The St. Elizabeth Lactation department is here to assist with your breastfeeding journey. Call the St. Elizabeth Lactation department at (859) 301-2631 for more information on our services or to schedule an appointment with a lactation consultant. If you are interested in attending a breastfeeding class in preparation for your baby’s arrival, call (859) 201-2229 for the upcoming class schedule.