Breastfeeding: A Lifetime of Benefits

August 04, 2021

Breastmilk is the first food nature intended humans to consume because it contains the perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat babies need to thrive in the first months of their lives. It also contains vital antibodies, so they can fight off any viruses and bacteria. An added bonus – the benefits of breastmilk continue well into adulthood.

When babies are breastfed exclusively for at least six months:

  • They’re less likely to develop ear infections, diarrhea, allergies, and respiratory illnesses.
  • It reduces their risk of developing chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, childhood and adult obesity, celiac disease, and Crohn’s disease.
  • It lowers their risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) by 50%.
  • It lowers their risk of childhood cancers like leukemia, and breast cancer as they age.

Breastfeeding is also incredibly beneficial in the short- and long-term for mothers. When women breastfeed:

  • It lowers their risk of type 2 diabetes, postmenopausal osteoporosis, and premenopausal breast and ovarian cancer.
  • Their chances of developing rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, endometriosis, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease are reduced.
  • On average, they get 45 more minutes of sleep.
  • It helps them return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster by burning an extra 400 calories per day.


The Do’s and Don’ts of Successful Breastfeeding

  • Do reach out for assistance before your baby is born—attending a breastfeeding class is always a good place to start learning the ropes.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help—the earlier you let others know you’re struggling, the better equipped you’ll be to overcome any challenges.
  • Don’t give up on the hardest day—breastfeeding takes work, and patience is key. Practice makes perfect!
  • Do find a support system—breastfeeding support groups can be a great way for you to meet other mothers that are also breastfeeding and provides a safe space to talk about what you’re experiencing.
  • Don’t blame yourself if it doesn’t come easy – breastfeeding doesn’t come as naturally as most people expect. Especially if you’re a new mom, there may be a steep learning curve for both yourself and your baby.
  • Do seek support from a lactation consultant– there may be issues you may not be aware of. For example, a tongue tie is a common issue for babies that can’t maintain a deep latch. An experienced lactation consultant can recognize the problem and recommend solutions.

If you are breast or chestfeeding, you may be anxious about having enough milk for your baby. This is a common concern for new mothers. The California WIC Program and CDPH have put together an easy-to-use resource that addresses a lot of the questions parents may have.

You may also be worried about returning to work and how that can affect your supply. Low- wage workers receive less lactation support than those with higher incomes. A new brief provides information on ways the California Paid Leave policy and additional lactation accommodation laws can support low-wage workers in their breast and chestfeeding goals.


Finding the Right Resources

You’re not in this alone. There are a variety of community resources for breastfeeding support such as California’s Black Infant Health (BIH) Program. And if you are returning to work, plan and get information about nursing support after returning to the workforce. You can also speak to your supervisor about lactation accommodations to make the transition easier.

If you have a friend or family member that is breastfeeding or considering it, you can lend a hand by supporting their efforts. Little things like providing a meal, running an errand or providing a short break can be a big help to new parents.

AltaMed offers a variety of services, from lactation consultants and educators to individual support, at Boyle Heights, El Monte, Goodrich, Orange, Santa Ana, and Children's Hospital LA sites. Call (888) 499-9303 for more information and to make an appointment today.

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Breastfeeding: Keeping Your Newborn Happy and Healthy

August 01, 2017

Preparing for the birth of your child is an exciting time. From picking out a wardrobe for your new bundle of joy to decorating the nursery, expecting mothers have a lot of new experiences and decisions coming their way! One of the most important decisions you will make as a mother is what to feed your baby – starting with whether or not to breastfeed.

Many mothers may find it difficult to breastfeed, but breastfeeding is very important for your child’s health and well-being. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk provides newborns with a combination of antibodies, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients for the baby’s health and cognitive and physical development.

Additionally, studies have shown that breast milk:

  • Helps protect infants from allergies, diseases and infections
  • Is easily digestible for infants
  • Protects your child from obesity

Not only is breastfeeding beneficial for infants, but it also provides health benefits for mothers, too! Studies show that mothers who breastfeed, recover from childbirth quicker than most mothers who choose not to breastfeed.

Additional health benefits for mothers can include:

  • Losing pregnancy weight faster
  • Reduced rates of breast and ovarian cancer
  • Reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes

Here at AltaMed, we provide support groups for new and expecting mothers. The best part of this service is that you don’t need to be a patient to join our classes or groups – so, your friends and family are more than welcome to join you! This course will help answer questions such as, “How will I know my baby is getting enough milk?” and “Why is correct positioning so important?” It will also dispel some of the myths that may keep some moms from breastfeeding.

We have seven locations between Los Angeles and Orange Counties that offer lactation support groups to help mothers learn the correct way to breastfeed and help them overcome any problems they may encounter. Mothers who attend will receive a breastfeeding starter kit to help with any needs at home.

For more details on how to join one of our lactation support groups or to schedule a lactation consultation, call (888) 499-9303 or click here for more details. We want to ensure our new and expecting mothers have all the tools and information they need for a happy and healthy baby.


Pandemic Pregnancies: What You Need to Know

September 17, 2020

Even during the pandemic and everything else that’s happening in our country right now – to quote that dinosaur movie – life finds a way. Women are getting pregnant, and others are continuing to try to become pregnant.

To put it mildly, these are not the best of times. However, it’s still possible to have a normal pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby. Read on to learn more about the impact of your choice.

A word of note: no matter what’s happening in the world, it’s a good idea to have a frank discussion with your doctor and your partner before attempting to become pregnant. None of this information is a substitute for those conversations, just information to consider.

If You’re Not Yet Pregnant, But Want to Be

If you and your partner stay healthy, COVID-19 itself will not affect your ability to conceive (though there is scientific research that shows a link between too much stress and infertility). But many doctors and health care specialists are urging women to reconsider and postpone their efforts until things have settled down – unless you’re a woman in your late 30s or older who may have trouble or needs extra time to conceive.

COVID-19 hasn’t just made an impact on health, it has badly damaged our economy and jeopardized funding for public programs, had a significant impact on our health care system, and profoundly affected almost every part of life in this country. Even though there is much reason to hope and believe we’ll have a vaccine near the end of this year, it’s still too early to predict anything. Among the facts you will need to consider:

  • Once you are pregnant, you will have to see the doctor regularly to protect your health and the health of your baby. Though some of these visits can be done with a telehealth screening, many of these visits will have to be in-person. AltaMed and other health facilities are taking precautions to keep patients and staff safe, but it is impossible to,eliminate every risk.
  • The costs of trying to get pregnant, getting prenatal care, and then delivery and after can add up. If your job or your health insurance aren’t secure, it may be tough to pay for.
  • As Los Angeles struggles with coronavirus and we are asked to avoid unnecessary trips, you may find yourself with less in-person support from friends and family. And, whether you’re trying to get pregnant, are pregnant, or already have a baby, mixing with people outside of your household could potentially expose you to COVID-19.

If You’re Already Pregnant, There are Risks, But They’re Low

Section 1Congratulations if you’re a mom-to-be. If you stay healthy, coronavirus probably won’t jeopardize your pregnancy or your baby. Even if you do get coronavirus, the risk of transmitting it to your baby is very low. Unfortunately, there haven’t been many high-quality scientific studies to shed light on all of the potential risks.

However, if you do contract coronavirus and develop serious symptoms, this may increase your risks for pregnancy complications, including pre-term birth. More intensive research is needed to confirm, but scientists also believe that simply being pregnant can make you vulnerable to more severe cases of COVID-19.

All of the precautions for people who want to become pregnant apply here, too. Even though you will likely be at home, caring for your infant for some time, professional child-care could be a big question mark. Even asking your closest relatives for help could expose you and your baby to COVID-19 risks, unless they are already living in your household.

Still Not Sure? Talk to Your Doctor

Section 2Even if you already have children, the decision to get pregnant can change your life and your family, and that’s especially true now. Talk to your doctor. Having an informed medical opinion about your unique health history and risks, as well as the current state of COVID-19, may help you make up your mind. And if you are already pregnant, rest assured knowing that AltaMed is here for all your prenatal care needs.

Doctors and public health officials urge everyone, including those who are pregnant or wish to be, to get their flu shots early this year. Schedule an appointment to get your immunizations today. Flu shots are safe for pregnant woman and their babies, no matter what trimester. It’s one more way to protect yourself and your entire family.

AltaMed can provide information to you and your family about the best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19. To receive the latest news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, sign up today.