By now, you’ve probably heard that breast is best. But why? Why is breast milk considered the perfect food for your little one? What are the health benefits short term and long term? And how can it improve the bond your partner has with the baby?
“Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed”
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Start of Audio
Robin Kaplan: By now, you’ve probably heard the term, “Breast is Best,” but why? Having a better understanding of the benefits of breastfeeding, may help keep you motivated and increase your chance of success. I’m Robin Kaplan, Board Certified Lactation Consultant, owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and host of Preggie Pals sister show, The Boob Group, and today, we’re revealing the Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed. This is Preggie Pals, Episode 32.
Sunny Gault: Welcome to Preggie Pals, broadcasting from the Birth Education Center of San Diego. I’m your host, Sunny Gault. Have you joined the Preggie Pals club? This exclusive membership gives you access to all of our archived episodes, written transcripts of the shows, plus some bonus content after each show. Again, this is for our Members only. You can access it all on the web or through our Preggie Pals App which is available now in the Apple and Amazon Market Place. You can visit our website http://www.preggiepals.com for more information. And we have one final announcement and that is to tell you the winner of the Preggie Pals Newsletter give-away. Now this is a give-away that we’ve been running for the last couple of months and it’s our way of saying thank you to all of our Newsletter subscribers. One lucky winner is going to win 300 dollars in Parenting and Pregnancy prizes. They are also going to win a one year subscription to the Preggie Pals Club, which is really exciting. So, here we go. So the winner is….., Chrystal Joab of Marylyn. So Chrystal, thank you so much for subscribing to our Newsletter and if you haven’t subscribed to our Newsletter yet, well now is the time because starting in January, we are going to pull another winner at random. Each month, those winners are going to get a free one-month subscription to the Preggie Pals Club. So, if you want more information on that, you can head on over to our website and sign up. Okay. We have two panelists joining us here, one is in the Studio and one is over the phone, but you know both of them because they are regular panelists on the show. Let’s start with Stephanie.
Stephanie Saalfeld: Hi, I’m Stephanie Saalfeld, I am 29, a gemologist, due January 29th with my first baby, a girl and we are having a hospital birth.
Sunny Gault: And those cute little cooooie noises in the background is from Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald and her baby, Michaela. Christine has been a regular panelist on the show and she just gave birth to Michaela, so…, Christine, this the first time our listeners have heard from you since having the baby, so how did things go?
Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Yes, Well surprisingly, very swimmingly well. She was two weeks late, she didn’t want to come out. She was just, you know, having a good old time and so, we…, we had to do a little bit of coaxing and I delivered at the local hospital with a great team of mid-wives and thankfully, we were able to, you know, buy a little bit of extra time. We didn’t have to do an induction. We just used natural methods and had a really fast labor and it was a VBAC. So, I’m just really thrilled.
Sunny Gault: And we should also say though, that, you have twins as well. So now you’ve got three girls total, which I think plays into out topic quite well today and talking about reasons to breastfeed because, Christine, I feel like you’ve kind of experienced a lot of different things having breastfed twins and now a singleton, so I’m really excited to hear what you have to say. So, having said that, we are going to take a quick break and we’ll be right back.
[Featured Segments: Becoming Dad - Birth Planning: Your Personal Roadmap]
Sunny Gault: Before we start today’s show, here’s Dr. Danny Singly with tips on becoming a new dad.
Dr. Danny Singly: Hi Preggie Pals. My name is Dr. Daniel Singly. I am a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, specializing in men’s Issues and founder of Basic Training For New Dads. Let’s take a couple of minutes to focus on how expectant couples can approach the process of Birth Planning. People approach Birth in very different ways and there’s no one size fits all approach that will work for everyone. Many expecting couples choose to develop a plan for how they want to handle the period from immediately, prior to the birth, to the point of which they leave the hospital or birthing center. The point of a Birth Plan is to have a road-map regarding your preferences for the process of having your child. Keep it simple. One page of info is plenty, so no need to pick out the lint in your delivery room. Common considerations include whether to have a vaginal birth versus a c-section, pain management options, what medications and immunizations to have administered to the baby and to mom, whether mom should be up-town by mom’s head or alternately down-town. The list of considerations will be unique to any couple, but you can access the list of key questions and templates at the Birth Plan Page of the American Pregnancy Association’s website. http://www.Childbirth.com and http://www.thebump.com are other examples of online resources that offer free customizable templates to help you guide the planning process, so take a look at those examples. Because dads often aren’t sure how to be involved in the planning and birth process, having him take point on identifying a template and charting information about the plan, is a great way to get him to understand he is integral to the pregnancy and birth process. Finally, it’s critical that once you and your partner have developed a plan with which you are comfortable, you also need to be flexible if the plan needs to change during the actual birth process. Even more importantly, you, your partner and your health care provider need to have discussed what plans A, B and C might look like. So if you are completely against an epidural, a spiral block, a C-Section, specific vaccinations or other types of procedures, rather than simply ignore the possibility that you might need to use one of them, its critically important that you and your partner have discussed how you would handle this type of option should it come up. The last thing you want to do during the birth of your child is try to hash out this decision on the fly. Thanks very much for listening. I hope this information is helpful. I’m Dr. Daniel Singly at http://www.newdadsclass.com and be sure to keep listening to Preggie Pals for more tips on how New Dads can hit the ground running in their transition to fatherhood.
Sunny Gault: Today, we are exploring The Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed and joining us here in the studio is Robin Kaplan. She is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and she is host of our sister show, The Boob Group. Hi, Robin.
Robin Kaplan: Hi Sunny.
Sunny Gault: Hi. So, I have a question about society and how breastfeeding has changed over the years. My mom, when she talks about breastfeeding, I feel like there was a phase where everyone was really pushing for formula, you know…
Robin Kaplan: Absolutely.
Sunny Gault: ….and you know, pushing away from breastfeeding. And I now think we’ve transitioned, or at least are in the process of transitioning into a more breastfeeding friendly, you know, stage and really pushing breastfeeding. Is that what’s really happening, or is it just my little community here of people that….?
Robin Kaplan: No, I think that’s absolutely happening. People who…women who are our age and you know, late 20s or early 30s or for me, middle upper 30s….
Robin Kaplan:….definitely, our moms were told by their pediatricians and their obstetricians, that formula was just as equally beneficial as breast milk and that’s kind of what they knew at the time and so, you know, we can’t hold it against our moms at all, but, you know, I know my mom for example, breastfed me till I was six weeks old and then was told by her…, by my pediatrician that she was killing me because I had a lot of gas and stuff like that, so I was immediately taken off breast milk and given formula. And then my brother…my mom had this great milk supply with him a couple of years later and her doctor, pediatrician said that she was over-feeding him and she had to limit the amount he was getting and then he ended up being “failure to thrive” and put in the hospital. And so then… again, well formula is better, that will keep your kid growing. And so…and both of us actually have some pretty severe allergies and things like that, which I think has to go along with the fact that our guts just didn’t progress the way that they needed to because they didn’t have that live bacteria and things like that, which we’ll be talking about in a few minute…. And so now, I think so many studies have come out about breast milk is far superior to formula and granted, I’m not a person who is going to sit here and bash formula anyway…
Sunny Gault: Right.
Robin Kaplan: However, when you are comparing the two, it is important to know that if you do have a choice and you want to make the choice between breastfeeding and formula feeding your baby, the breast feeding…breast milk is far superior and that’s just because it is alive. And so, you know, formulas, they are always trying to make it “as good as”, breast milk, but it’s just not possible.
Sunny Gault: Right.
Robin Kaplan: So, it is a substitute. And so I think a lot of people now that are realizing that there are so many benefits. There’s so much research coming out about this and I think that’s why there’s more people on the breastfeeding bandwagon right now.
Sunny Gault: Yeah, yeah. Do you find yourself as a lactation consultant having to still convince people that breast is best? Or are you past that? By the time they get to you, are there already convinced that….
Robin Kaplan: By the time they get to me, they are pretty convinced although I do teach a lot of pre-natal breastfeeding classes and I think that there are a lot of misconceptions that I’m happy to kind of share information with to kind dissuade and kind of let people understand what…, that there are misconceptions. But, they are…I don’t necessarily think I have to convince them, but maybe I just have to help them understand that maybe it’s not as challenging as they’ve heard, or how scary it is…I think a lot of people are scared to breastfeed. They know that they want to do it, but they are very scared to do it. So, I think that’s….it’s not convincing to breastfeed, it’s how to make them more comfortable with the process.
Sunny Gault: Right, right. And I know, we are going to talk a little bit more about those misconceptions in our special bonus content after the show.
Robin Kaplan: Yes.
Sunny Gault: So, now, let’s dive into some of the top 10 reasons to breastfeed. Let’s start with the first one. “It’s the perfect food for baby”. Why is that?
Robin Kaplan: Well again, you know, we are talking about a substance that is created specifically for us as human beings. And so, cow dairy is created for baby cows. Human milk is created for human babies and so, that first milk that you get, that colostrum is low in fat, high in carbohydrates, protein, anti-bodies, things like that, to help keep your baby healthy and it’s also very, very easy to digest, which is really important for those little newborns and so…, and also, you know, babies are born with this really thick like…thick tar-like substance called Meconium, which is essentially like packing equipment to make sure that their organs don’t stick together…. [Laughs], while they are in in utreo and that has to be passed out and so, colostrum is almost like a diuretic, because it’s so easily digestible and helps push it out of the system and so babies who are not able to pass that meconium can get jaundice, can get…, you know, people get…doctors get really freaked out when babies get really high jaundice levels…, high levels and so the colostrum is meant to get rid of that. And then, colostrum is also gestationally specific as well as breast milk as well. So, if your baby is born at 32 weeks, that breast milk is gestationally specific for your baby as well as the baby like with Christine’s, that was a 42 weeker, that milk was specific for her baby as well and continues a long the life of your baby, your infant, your toddler, however long you decide to breastfeed for. It’s specific for how old they are and so it’s giving them everything that they need and then obviously, as baby gets older, they start taking in more complementary foods and things like that, over about six months old, but essentially, your breast milk is growing with your baby and so it’s easier to digest, it’s….it’s just, it’s perfect for them and it really helps kind of coat their gut in which we’ll talk about, you know, protecting against disease, but, essentially it…nothing man-made can replicate it.
Sunny Gault: It’s kind of like, you know, when you look at the formula packages and stuff like that, you see, okay this is for newborns, and this is for when you graduate you know, to like a toddler thing, and it’s kind of like your body’s natural way of just saying, “Hey, I know what my baby needs…”, you know, your body’s naturally upgrading as you would, you know, if you were purchasing formula or something like that, but it’s just your body naturally doing it.
Robin Kaplan: Absolutely.
Stephanie Saalfeld: So is each woman’s breast milk different?
Robin Kaplan: It’s not too different. So, for example, women who donate milk to other moms who are not making enough: You don’t have to look…you know, a mom who’s donating milk and has an eight month old, and the baby she’s donating to, is a two month old, that’s still okay. Because essentially, there’s not that much of a change between breast milk composition, as once you get past kind of that transitional milk into the more fuller milk, after the first couple of weeks, and so, it’s just that the baby’s needs often change after about sixth month, seventh month and eighth month, that’s why we introduce complementary foods. It’s not that the milk is not perfect for that baby, it’s just that the nutritional need of the baby starts to change a little bit at that time. But, from mom to mom, some moms have a higher fat content than other moms, but the variation is very minimal. So pretty much, every woman’s milk is kind of doing the same thing, you know, regardless and even based on women who have different nutrition, you know, so women who live in third-world countries, their milk is not going to be less nutrient dense because of the food that they’re eating, so….
Stephanie Saalfeld: I didn’t know if it was just like a unique brew for….
Stephanie Saalfeld: ….each individual baby.
Sunny Gault: I like that. This is the tap. I get it…
Robin Kaplan: Oh, I totally call it that all the time. I’m like, they are either taking it straight from the tap or they are taking it from another container. But yeah, but no, it’s pretty…it’s…it’s overall pretty much the same between women. That’s a great question.
Sunny Gault: So, if my baby has like low iron, or something like that, would my body produce like higher iron in my milk to compensate that? Is it that specific or you are saying no, it’s more about the gestational age of the child.
Robin Kaplan: It’s more about the gestational age.
Sunny Gault: Okay.
Robin Kaplan: And plus it would be hard for your body to know what your child is nutrient deficient in, however, you know, babies are born…, we talked about this in one of The Boob Group episodes, that babies are born with you know, sufficient iron stores for example until they are a certain age, and then they start needing more iron-rich foods, for example and that’s kind of when, that six months to eight months, kind of introducing solid foods at that time is there for a reason. It’s because all of sudden, it’s like, okay, we need a little bit more in there, and that’s a perfect time to start introducing whole foods.
Sunny Gault: Yeah. Actually, we are doing that right now. Urban just turned six months a few days ago….
Robin Kaplan: Ahh! That’s awesome!
Sunny Gault: So, we had the green beans last night for lunch or dinner actually and he gave me a lot of weird faces but I’m like, “You need this. You need these nutrients. I’m still feeding you everything I can, but you need this too”.
Robin Kaplan: That’s awesome.
Sunny Gault: Okay, let’s talk about protecting against disease for the baby.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah. And this one is huge, you know, again, when we talk about the comparison between formula and breast milk. So formula obviously has fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, all that kind of stuff. Immunological properties? There are just no way to replace that in formula, but the only way you are going to get those is through breast milk. And that’s because the mom’s body….we are constantly breathing in different pathogens in our environment and so…, and then our immune system creates immunity against us, so that way, you know, every time someone coughs around us, we don’t get sick. So, we start creating these antigens, these things that fight away infection. They are then passed through the breast milk to the baby. So, the baby is not only creating their own kind of their own immune system going on in their belly, but they are also getting an extra dose of it with every drop of breast milk that they get, to help protect them from things that are going on in their environment and, not only that, but that also includes, for example, they are going to have less gastrointestinal infections, so less diarrhea. They are going to have less risks of food allergies, less risks of Crone disease and all sort of Collides as an adult. You know, they often get…they have less wheezing, less asthma, things like that, because again, their bodies are fighting off these things in the environment. Less Eczema, less respiratory infections…tons and tons and tons of stuff. And then something you had mentioned Sunny, when we were talking of Christine, because you have breastfed girls and you have now three girls in your home… the amazing….oh, my goodness….
Robin Kaplan: The amazing thing with that is when you are breastfeeding them, is that women who are formula-fed as infants, have a higher rate of breast cancer as an adult. So while you are not only helping decrease your risk of breast cancer, which we will talk about in a little bit, you are actually decreasing the risk for your daughters.
Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Wow.
Robin Kaplan: And so, women who, for both pre-menopausal and post-menopausal breast cancer, women who are breastfed as children, even if only for a short time, had 25 percent lower risk of developing breast cancer than women who were formula fed as infants. So you are providing them something that they would not be able to get anywhere else and you know, just decreasing their risk of developing it, which is fascinating.
Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: Wow. That’s …I had no idea. And I can certainly say that I breastfed my twins for 14 months and thankfully, they did not have any kind of two dollar cheese, they didn’t have any digestion problems or… and just you know, a few little colds that first year. So, I definitely believe that that had a lot to do with it. But, gosh, I have to say, I didn’t think there were, you know, those long term effects that you are talking about. That’s awesome.
Robin Kaplan: And the interesting thing too is that, you know, babies, what I find, and I found with my own kids and what I hear from my colleagues and friends, is that the ….you know, once they stop breastfeeding their babies, they see a higher incidence of ear infections, colds, things like that. And again, it’s not, you know, super-significant, but …you know, you might see an increase in these little childhood, you know, colds and illnesses, after the breast milk stops and that’s pretty much because babies who are being breastfed or toddlers who are being breastfed, tend to less sick, you know, or to a lesser degree, I should say. So if everyone in the house catches, you know, the flu or just a really bad cold, the breastfed baby or toddler tends to get it to a lesser degree, which is really cool. But then, once they are not breastfeeding anymore, then they are kind of in the same….[Laughs], the same realm as everybody else.
Sunny Gault: Yeah. So, once thing I wanted to clarify, though. So if that is the case, then some people listening, may be like, “Well, what’s the point? I’m really just prolonging this…, they may get it eventually anyway. So, what would be your response to that?
Robin Kaplan: Oh sure. Well, I mean, the less infections you have as a child, that means, you know, less antibiotics…that’s huge! I mean, the amount of antibiotics that children are given at this time, because if your infections or other things. You know, antibiotics obviously were created for a reason, but a lot of time they are given to someone unnecessarily and they just compromise your immune system and so, the less sick that you get as an infant and a toddler, and you know, a child, is obviously creating a stronger immune system for you as in an adulthood and so, that would be, you know, the main reason to continue it, for as long as you find, you know, mutually beneficial for you and the baby.
Sunny Gault: Okay. And that kind of leads into our next point. Health Benefits for the baby, so we know, it protects against disease, we know it’s the perfect baby food, but what are some the additional health benefits for them?
Robin Kaplan: Sure, sure. Well, you know, it…one thing that I didn’t even know about until I was kind of looking into this, was that breastfeeding actually protects babies against vision defects and that’s because breast milk is generally, the main, if not the only source of vitamin A, during the child’s first, you know, 24 months of life, or for the duration of breastfeeding. It also…the suckling at breast is really good for tooth and jaw development and that’s because, babies who are breastfeeding, actually have to use as much as much as 60 times more energy to get the food out of the breast….
Sunny Gault: And sometimes they don’t like that by the way… [Laughs]
Robin Kaplan:….yes, they don’t. But if they are used to it and you know, they have nothing to compare it to, it’s not that big of a deal.
Sunny Gault: Right. Right.
Robin Kaplan: But…so what that does is it helps their jaw and muscle development and encourages the growth of well-formed jaws and straight healthy teeth. So I thought that was really interesting for all of us who need braces, [Laughs].
Sunny Gault: It is really interesting…. [Laughs]
Robin Kaplan: You know, and then the main one that’s so, so important that, you know, we hear about a lot is that it really protects against SIDS. And so, a recent German Study of about over 300 infants who had died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, they were compared with 1000 age-matched controls and found that breastfeeding reduced the risk of SIDS by 50 percent.
Sunny Gault: Why is that? Why would that impact it?
Robin Kaplan: Well…
Sunny Gault: Because we don’t know really, what causes SIDS, right?
Robin Kaplan: We don’t really know what causes SIDS and to be honest, I can’t really answer that question. I mean, I don’t know the specifics of the study and why they think that, but just from my perception, babies who are breastfeeding wake up more in the middle of the night, because formula keeps formula keeps them satiated longer, and oftentimes and so…, so babies need to wake up in the middle of the night. As much as we would love for them to sleep through the night….
Robin Kaplan:…..starting at two weeks, that’s not developmentally appropriate for our children. And so breastfeeding and waking much a little…a little bit more, not too much, but they are not also not in that deep, deep sound sleep. And then oftentimes, babies who are being breastfed, there is some co-sleeping going on, and they are in the same room because it’s more convenient for the parents and you know, as mothers we’re really in tune to our kids and so, if they make any type of noise, we are immediately awake.
Stephanie Saalfeld: And I’ve read that, I mean, just the…this skin-to-skin part and the baby hearing mom’s heartbeat and all of that, somehow correlates with their system too.
Robin Kaplan: It does. It neurologically centers them and really, you know, when babies are first born and they are put skin-to-skin, they ….it regulates their oxygen level, it regulates their temperature and again, just gets them into this mode of “Okay, I am now out of this warm, liquid, dark place”, and so, they are more aware of their environment and we are more aware of them too.
Sunny Gault: Yeah, and I think that even leads into our next one, which is, “Improves Women’s Health”, and I know that for me, even just mentally, just connecting with my son and breastfeeding, calms me. And I know we are going to talk about some of the more long term benefits, but even just short term for me. And I think I’ve talked about this in a recent Preggie Pals episode, is that, when I am nursing my son, I feel a sense of calmness, you know, I am able to reconnect and things make more sense and I realize all the little things that I’m doing in my day-to-day life, aren’t nearly as important as just re-focusing on my family and it’s a sense of peace and calmness that I can’t get from taking a bubble bath….
Sunny Gault: ….I can’t take from a massage. It just…it reconnects me as a mom and I….and I know there are some other health benefits.
Robin Kaplan: Absolutely, well actually, if you don’t mind, maybe we’ll skip to more of just promoting the Mother and Infant Bonding and Emotional Wellbeing, and we can get back to the Women’s Health, because…
Sunny Gault: Sure, yeah.
Robin Kaplan:…you know, you bring…you both bring up a very good point, of this sense of relaxation and that’s because breastfeeding stimulates the release of a hormone called Oxytocin and what that is, is not only does it you know, stimulate uterine contractions, which we’ll talk about in Mother’s Health and things like that, but it also promotes the development of maternal behavior and bonding. I mean Oxytocin is the “Love Hormone”, so it’s what we have, when we have orgasms, I mean, it’s…., you are supposed to relax when Oxytocin is released and it’s passed through the breast milk to the babies too, so that’s why so many babies fall asleep at the breast! Because they are just like, “My God, I’m laying on this pillow, it’s warm, it smells good, it’s feeding me and I’m now…”, you know, it’s like you’ve eaten a big turkey dinner, essentially, you know, and you’re like, “….and I’m done!”
Robin Kaplan: And they fall asleep and it’s because it’s supposed to happen that way. We are actually supposed to love breastfeeding.
Sunny Gault: Yeah. That’s great. And some of the…, the things that it helps mom overall. Some of the ways it improves women’s health.
Robin Kaplan: Women’s Health. So this is huge. I mean, so again, going back to that Oxytocin, so after we’ve had our child, we need our uterus to shrink so, and to contract so that we won’t hemorrhage and that’s what Oxytocin does. And so, it literally…the contractions, they shut off the maternal blood vessels that formally fed the baby and discourage this excessive bleeding and so, women who choose not to breastfeed, have to be given synthetic Oxytocin to ensure against hemorrhaging. Nursing, obviously helps you regain your figure a little bit more quickly, because it does help contract the uterus and so, not that many of us are walking around with the tightest tummies that we had before…
Robin Kaplan:… I never even had a tight tummy before I had kids, but you know, yeah, sure it’s still a bit more flabby, but whatever…. so a couple of the cool things: So for example, women who have diabetes… it could cut in…breastfeeding, you often need a reduction in insulin because it, you know, it’s using insulin appropriately when you are breastfeeding. Women who are anemic often find that they don’t need to take as many iron supplements while they are breastfeeding because, especially, if you are exclusively breastfeeding and that’s because, women…, it kind of holds off your period and so we are not being depleted every month by this bleeding. And then, the huge one’s, you know, going back to Cancer. So it reduces the risk of Breast Cancer again, you know, developing for as much as….reducing it by as much as 25 percent. And then, it also, the reduction in Cancer risk comes in proportion to the cumulative life-time that a woman breastfeeds. So, it’s not just how many months that you breastfed each child, but it’s cumulative, so you get to add those months on top of one another. So, Christine, you had 14 months with your twins and now you are going to add more with your singleton and so, you get 14 plus. And then, whatever you do with Mikaela, that is also going to lower your risk of Breast Cancer as well as it reduces the risk of a woman’s chances for Uterine and Ovarian Cancer. So, again, just amazing, amazing benefits for both mom and baby, when you breastfeed.
Christine Stewart-Fitzgerald: You know, I have to say that I can totally attest to the idea of breastfeeding during that postpartum period, it has that healing effect. When I’m breastfeeding, I feel my uterus tightening and I feel like my body is just…is really going back into shape and that I’m actually able to wear some of my regular clothes, which is great. I…, I feel like I’m getting back, even my husband’s been making comments.
Sunny Gault: Okay, thanks so much ladies. When we come back, we are going to wrap up our Top 10 List.
Sunny Gault: Welcome back everyone, today we are talking about The Top 10 Reasons to Breastfeed and joining us today, as our special expert is Robin Kaplan. She is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and you may know her if you listen to our sister show, The Boob Group, because she is the host of that show. So, we are breaking down this Top 10 list and one of the things we briefly mentioned but I want to talk on it, you know, talk about it a little bit more is one of the benefits is Quicker Weight Loss for Moms and you know, you hear this all the time. You hear women say, “Oh, I breastfed and all my weight just kind of fell off!” And I’m really curious to get your take on this because, I have two totally different experiences with both of my kids. So, what is the general, you know, I guess information about losing weight breastfeeding.
Robin Kaplan: Sure. And you know, you bring up a really good point. Yes, breastfeeding does help you lose weight. You know, you burn an average of 300 to 500 extra calories a day, while you are breastfeeding. Exclusively breastfeeding, yup and as you start to kind of taper off, you are creating a little bit less milk and so, you are burning a little less calories, but essentially, you are burning calories. Your body is functioning to feed another human being.
Sunny Gault: Right. Right.
Robin Kaplan: So…, so you are burning these calories. However, it’s important to note that you don’t want to just take that as a way of like very, very, very quick weight loss, because your body actually needs those extra calories to produce milk. And so my recommendation for moms who are looking to get back into their, you know, pre-pregnancy jeans and all that kind of stuff. A couple of tips: One – it’s…., a safe way to do this is really, you know, a pound a week is totally safe. More than a pound…, except for I should give a little caveat there. In the beginning, you know, obviously you don’t lose that much weight right after you have the baby because you are kind of you have a lot of fluids and you are kind of puffy and stuff, but you know, in the first two weeks, women will see that they have, actually lose more than a pound per week.
Sunny Gault: Right.
Robin Kaplan: But then once…, once, you know that initial drastic weight loss has stopped, really about a pound a week is totally appropriate.
Sunny Gault: Another thing that I know that breastfeeding helps with, part of our Top 10 List, is reduces obesity in children and teens, which is a huge problem here, especially in the US.
Robin Kaplan: Absolutely. It’s actually more breastfeeding than breast milk on this one. And the reason is because infants who are breastfed, more than formula fed or who are breastfeeding for longer periods of time, they do have about a 20 percent lower risk of being overweight, as a pre-teener and the teen years and the reason is because, when babies are being breastfed, so they are at the breast, they rely on their own hunger signals to modulate what they consume. Well, that’s not the case when the baby is taking the bottle. They just have less control over how much they eat and the other thing is, not only because the bottle is so much easier, like we had talked about, but also, our breasts don’t come with notches on it, so we don’t know how many ounces the baby is taking from the breast, so but when we have a bottle, and we are like, “Well, you are supposed to take four to five ounces and so, you are going to finish this bottle because I poured it for you”, and so oftentimes, we overfeed our babies because we want them to take whatever we made and we put in there for them. And so, because of this, children often lose touch with their innate hunger cues and develop this pattern of overeating.
Sunny Gault: Okay. So in the first segment, we talked about mother/baby bonding, but let’s talk a little bit about the partners, because I feel like a lot of times, they are neglected and I know, this is an opportunity for them to bond as well.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah. When I teach my pre-natal classes, a lot of the concerns that come up from the partners is like, “Well, how I’m I going to be involved. Like this is clearly a mom/baby bonding situation and I’m afraid that I’m going to feel left out.” And it’s a very, very valid point that they bring up. But, I also like to kind of turn it around and say, “Well, mom and baby are going to be sitting on the couch, in bed, relaxing, wherever they are breastfeeding for about 45 minutes, eight or more times in a 24 hour period for the first couple of weeks; this is your opportunity to reconnect with your partner”. So, sitting next to your partner; your partner does not want…, the mom does not want to sit by herself during all this time. Yes, she is bonding with her baby, but she also wants to have some adult conversation too. And so, using this already built-in time, to sit down, reconnect, get to know your new family unit, as it is now, you know, it’s not just you and partner, it’s your partner and baby, your babies and children as well. And so, spending that time with your partner reconnecting and also for the partner to really kind of learn the baby’s signals too, so that way, you know, the partner can help keep the baby awake while the baby’s feeding in those first couple of week, rubbing the palms, rubbing the baby’s back, rubbing the mom’s shoulders, because a lot of women tend to breastfeed with their shoulders up to their ears, [Laughs] and they need, you know, some help to kind of relax their body, and partners can do lots of skin-to-skin before and after feedings, so, there is nothing like smelling a brand new baby on your chest and again, it kind of goes back to what you had mentioned about skin-to-skin being, you know, so important for the baby and so, mom’s not the only person who has the opportunity to do that.
Sunny Gault: One of the reasons that a lot of us are interested in breastfeeding it’s more convenient and it is less expensive.
Robin Kaplan: Yeah, absolutely. So, breast milk in any supply, is free.
Robin Kaplan: And so, it’s there, it’s ready for the taking, it is always the right temperature and readymade formulas can cost families 800 to 1800 dollars per child, annually. So, that’s just a lot of money. And then breastfed babies are also…, you know, they get less sick, you know, they are not as sick as often. So, think about the amount of money that you are saving in doctors’ bills, no matter how good your insurance is, you still have to pay for it, and the time away from work, if you are a working mom, the time you have to take off to take of sick children, definitely adds up.
Sunny Gault: Okay. And the last one is: It expands your social circles. Now how does it do that, Robin?
Robin Kaplan: Oh, totally! I mean, I have a breastfeeding support group that I run here in San Diego every Wednesday and I have pretty much 20 to 25 moms who come every week. I’d say about 75 percent of them are not having breastfeeding challenges, but they come to hang out with other moms that they’ve met, who are also breastfeeding their children. And so, it’s just, it’s an awesome way to see women connect, and they don’t just sit there and talk about breastfeeding, they talk about all things parenting; all the different things that they are going through, but it’s a common bond between them. Not only is being a parent of children around the same age, but also, you know the different things that come up with breastfeeding, different questions that they have. And then the great thing about a support group too, is that, it’s a great place to practice, you know, breastfeeding in semi-public, like you are public because there are other women around, but other people around, but you are not necessarily in a restaurant. So, it’s a great place to practice breastfeeding and getting more comfortable with it…, but it definitely expands your social circles.
Sunny Gault: Alright, well thank you Robin for being here today and breaking down our Top 10 List for us. If you want more great breastfeeding conversations, be sure to check out our sister show, The Boob Group and also our discussion today, It’s not quite over, at least for our members. If you would like to listen to our extended interview with Miss Robin, simply join the Preggie Pals Club. You can visit http://www.preggiepals.com for more information.
[Featured Segments: Ask The Experts - Delayed Cord Clamping]
Heidi: Hi, my name is Heidi and I am calling from Chicago and hoping that one of your experts can talk a bit about Delayed Cord Clamping. My husband and I are planning to give birth at a hospital and my OBGYN is pretty traditional when it comes to the whole labor and delivery process. They are not so much sold on the idea, waiting to cut the cord, and I’ve heard that there are a lot of benefits to doing this. Can you talk about the benefits and any risks that I should be concerned about? Thank you so much.
Sunny Gault: Nicole, here is a response from our Doula, Care Messer.
Care Messer: Hi Nicole. Early cord clamping is…, there isn’t a lot of information on it, so I’m going to try and summarize it for you. It’s relatively new, it started in the 1940s, it’s practiced in only a few countries but it’s standard process here in America. Studies show that half of your baby’s blood lies in the main umbilical center at the time of birth and think about it as Nature’s of slowly transitioning your baby into breathing and surviving on its own outside the womb. Your baby is still getting oxygen through the cord while it’s working on taking its first breath. Adequate blood lines is needed to perfuse the lungs, gut, kidneys, skin and the blood transfusion from the placenta is known placental transfusion, is very important. Especially in pre-term instants, research has shown it can decrease the need for blood transfusions and possible brain injury. Gravity does affect the transfer of blood, the optimal transition for this baby right on mom’s chest, until that cord pulsation stops, it lets you know the transfer is complete. And the process usually takes three minutes, might be a little longer and it can also complete in one minute. It just varies from baby to baby. The risks are believed to be increase in jaundice and there are fears that the blood will drain back out of the baby if the cord is not clamped and jaundice is almost certain, when a baby gets his or her full quota of blood. There is however no evidence in adverse effects from this mild jaundice. Most human babies have some form of jaundice. When the baby is lifted above the uterus before clamping, like in cesareans, blood will drain back into the placenta by gravity, guaranteeing this baby’s are receiving definitely less than they are expected blood volume. The consequence of this maybe increased risk in breathing or respiratory distress and several studies have shown that this respiratory distress condition which is common in C-section babies can be completely eliminated when placental…, full placental transfusion is allowed. Studies also show that delayed cord-clamping can increase fetal hemoglobin, baby’s blood volume and increases the long term iron stores in baby’s, so it’s really good for them. The most basic argument for a placental transfusion or a delayed cord clamping is if it were essentially injurious or detrimental to us, then humans would have become extinct long before the invention of the clamping of the cord. Leaving the cord alone has just been done since time began, it’s done all over the world. And every body’s still here. You can learn more about the study when you finding delayed cord clamping from watching a short 4-part series on YouTube, called The Late Cord Clamping Brand Round, with Dr. Nick Foggleson or checking out a site; there are several sites, the one called http://www.brainburst-brain-injury.org . There are some great illustrations and diagrams to explore on that site. Hope that helps. There is a lot of information out there, so good luck in making your decision. Bye.
Sunny Gault: That wraps up our show for today. If you have any questions for the experts who have been on our shows, please call the Preggie Pals Hotline at 619-866-4775 and leave us a message. We’ll ask our experts and include their response and your response as well in a future episode. Thanks for listening to Preggie Pals, your pregnancy, your way.
This has been a New Mommy Media Production. The information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though such information materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problems or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.
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