Year One – Post 2 | Feeding Frenzy
Okay…it looks so simple but you weren’t warned that breast feeding is an art! Babies have to work harder to breast feed and therefore a bottle is easier in the beginning, but there are numerous benefits of breastfeeding that you should be aware of.
If you can breast feed or pump your breasts for at least the first six weeks, your baby is getting a boost in his/her immune system as a result of your own immunity. It is important to note that there are three kinds of milk your body produces. It begins with colostrums, which gives your baby a great nutritional start for the first 48 to 72 hours of your baby’s life. After that you begin to produce two other kinds of milk. Every time your baby nurses, your bundle of joy will receive the foremilk. It is thin and watery with a light blue tinge, to satisfy your baby’s thirst. Hindmilk is released after several minutes of nursing. It is similar in texture to cream and has the highest concentration of fat. The hindmilk has a relaxing effect on babies and helps them to gain weight.
If you are switching breasts too early, nursing too frequently, or if your baby’s sucking reflex is weak, your baby could be missing out on the hindmilk’s important nutritional benefits. This often causes fussing between feedings and/or failing to gain weight.
There are ways that a speech-language pathologist can help your baby improve suckling skills. Contact the American Speech and Hearing Association (ASHA) to find a specialist that can help you. Also, consult with a lactation specialist for additional help with nursing. The La Leche League International (LLLI) can provide answers to your questions. Good luck and enjoy those special moments with your baby!
– Kathryn Thorson Gruhn, MA CCC-SLP author of My Baby Compass