Breast Enhancement
New Borns: When Formula Is Necessary

There are very few medical reasons why a mother shouldn't breast-feed, according to Lawrence.

Most common illnesses, such as colds, flu, skin infections, or diarrhea, cannot be passed through breast milk. In fact, if a mother has an illness, her breast milk will contain antibodies to it that will help protect her baby from those same illnesses.Baby BookA few viruses can pass through breast milk, however. HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is one of them.

Women who are HIV positive should not breast-feed.A few other illnesses--such as herpes, hepatitis, and beta streptococcus infections--can also be transmitted through breast milk. But that doesn't always mean a mother with those diseases shouldn't breast-feed, Lawrence says."Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis with the woman's doctor," she says.

Breast cancer is not passed through breast milk. Women who have had breast cancer can usually breast-feed from the unaffected breast. Studies have shown, however, that breast-feeding a child reduces a woman's chance of developing breast cancer later.Silicone breast implants usually do not interfere with a woman's ability to nurse, but if the implants leak, there is some concern that the silicone may harm the baby.

Some small studies have suggested a link between breast-feeding with implants and later development of problems with the child's esophagus. Further studies are needed in this area. But if a woman with implants wants to breast-feed, she should first discuss the potential benefits and risks with her child's doctor.Tough but WorthwhileFor all its health benefits, breast-feeding isn't always easy.

In the early weeks, it can be painful. A woman's nipples may become sore or cracked. She may experience engorgement more than a bottle-feeding mother, when the breasts become so full of milk they're hard and painful. Some nursing women also develop clogged milk ducts, which can lead to mastitis, a painful infection of the breast.

While most nursing problems can be solved with home remedies, mastitis requires prompt medical care (see "Tips for Breast-Feeding Success").Women who plan to go back to work soon after birth will have to plan carefully if they want to breast-feed. If her job allows, a new mother can pump her breast milk several times during the day and refrigerate or freeze it for the baby to take in a bottle later. Some women alternate nursing at night and on weekends with daytime bottles of formula.

In either case, a nursing mother is physically tied to her baby more than a bottle-feeding mother. The baby needs her for nourishment, and she needs to nurse regularly to avoid getting uncomfortably full breasts. But instead of feeling it's a chore, nursing mothers often cite this close relationship as one of the greatest joys of nursing.If a woman is unsure whether she wants to nurse, she can try it for a few weeks and switch if she doesn't like it.

It's very difficult to switch to breast-feeding after bottle-feeding is begun.If she plans to breast-feed, a new mother should learn as much as possible about it before the baby is born. Obstetricians, pediatricians, childbirth instructors, nurses, and midwives can all offer information about nursing. But perhaps the best ongoing support for a nursing mother is someone who has successfully nursed a baby.

A breast-fed baby's digestive tract contains large amounts of Lactobacillus bifidus, beneficial bacteria that prevent the growth of harmful organisms. Human milk straight from the breast is always sterile, never contaminated by polluted water or dirty bottles, which can also lead to diarrhea in the infant.Human milk contains at least 100 ingredients not found in formula. No babies are allergic to their mother's milk, although they may have a reaction to something the mother eats.

If she eliminates it from her diet, the problem resolves itself.Sucking at the breast promotes good jaw development as well. It's harder work to get milk out of a breast than a bottle, and the exercise strengthens the jaws and encourages the growth of straight, healthy teeth. The baby at the breast also can control the flow of milk by sucking and stopping.

With a bottle, the baby must constantly suck or react to the pressure of the nipple placed in the mouth.Nursing may have psychological benefits for the infant as well, creating an early emotional attachment between mother and child. At birth, infants see only 12 to 15 inches, the distance between a nursing baby and its mother's face. Studies have found that infants as young as 1 week prefer the smell of their own mother's milk.

When nursing pads soaked with breast milk are placed in their cribs, they turn their faces toward the one that smells familiar.Many psychologists believe the nursing baby enjoys a sense of security from the warmth and presence of the mother, especially when there is skin-to-skin contact during feeding. Parents of bottle-fed babies may be tempted to prop bottles in the baby's mouth, with no human contact during feeding. But a nursing mother must cuddle her infant closely many times during the day.

Nursing becomes more than a way to feed a baby; it's a source of warmth and comfort.La Leche League, an international support organization for nursing mothers, has chapters in many cities that meet regularly to discuss breast-feeding problems and offer support.Visit the Baby Book Today .baby-book.
 

 


 
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