​Latest Breastfeeding Study Takes the Pressure Off New Moms

breastfeeding babyJust mention the word breastfeeding to a mom-to-be and there is an intense amount of pressure and often stress. We know the benefits of breastfeeding. We also have a fear that we cannot breastfeed or we will have some sort of issue that prevents us from nursing. We also know about the recommended six months of breastfeeding from the AAP. For some moms, this is daunting. But the latest news gives moms another time frame to aim for to get some incredible health benefits for our baby -- three months.

Three months seems much more manageable for mothers -- some jobs offer maternity leave, and if you pair that with FMLA, sometimes you can take up to 12 weeks off. And that's three months, making breastfeeding for that long seem doable.

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This new study looked at people who had heart disease and discovered they had low birth weight and were often not breastfed -- or breastfed for very short periods of time. There was a connection between low birth weight and duration of breastfeeding with higher levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), which indicates inflammation and can lead to cardiovascular disease. A statement was released on the study:

Each pound of additional birth weight predicted a CRP concentration that was five percent lower. Three to 12 months of breastfeeding predicted CRP levels that were 20 to 30 percent lower compared with individuals who were not breastfed.

It was also reported that breastfeeding has the same or greater effects as medicines when it came to reducing CRP levels, provided we at least reached that three-month mark. This even protects our kids into adulthood.

In my work as a postpartum doula, I help new moms make goals that work for them. When a new mom is having difficulty breastfeeding for whatever reason, I try to get her comfortable enough to want to give breastfeeding a try for two weeks. Just breastfeeding for two weeks gives baby so much and it's those first two weeks that are often the hardest. If you give yourself that goal and then reach it, then you move on to the next goal: one month. Then, three months. Oftentimes when you give yourself smaller, attainable goals, you end up reaching the goal you were afraid to give yourself -- six months, a year, or more.

I also always say that when it comes to breastfeeding, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. If you can breastfeed at all, even if you have to supplement, you are still giving your child some of nature's best preventative medicine there is to give.

Does setting short-term goals for breastfeeding make you feel more confident? Does it help take the pressure off?

 

Image via Raissa Ruschel/Flickr

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