Receiving their mother’s breast milk is the ideal source of nutrition for babies.
Breast milk contains just the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein to help babies grow and develop properly.
It is recommended for breastfeeding to begin within the first hour of a baby’s life, and continue as the baby’s exclusive source of nutrition for the first six months of their lives.
Mothers can continue breastfeeding after six months, while also introducing other sources of food into the baby’s diet.
Breastfeeding exclusively throughout the first six months is important, as it significantly boosts a baby’s immune system and helps protects them from various illnesses.
Just one bottle of formula can change how good bacteria is formed in a baby’s body and how they fight infection, such as colds and stomach bugs.
Babies who are breastfed have lower risk of developing certain health conditions, such as type 1 & 2 diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal (GI) issues, ear infections and asthma. It has also been shown to lower the risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Breastfeeding can be a challenge for moms and babies, as it is new to both of them.
Beginning to breastfeed within the first 48 hours of a baby’s life can help ensure a successful breastfeeding experience for mothers and their babies.
Cone Health Women’s Hospital has established several programs to support a successful breastfeeding experience for new mothers, such as skin-to-skin contact immediately upon birth, keeping mothers and babies together without interruption and implementing an initiative in which more than 90 percent of the pediatricians, OB/GYNs and nurses practicing at the hospital have been specially trained to help mothers meet their breastfeeding goals.
They also offer early lactation support for mothers at the hospital, as well as breastfeeding informational classes to expectant mothers throughout the community.
Dr. Lisa Parnell is a pediatrician and assistant professor for Cone Health’s Pediatric Residency Program.
Dr. Parnell received her Doctor of Medicine from Texas A&M College of Medicine, and completed her residency in pediatrics at North Carolina Children's Hospital.