Breastfeeding—Is It for You?

Breastfeeding—Is It for You?

Dr. Tanya Evers is an obstetrician/gynecologist who joined the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program faculty in 2012 after completing her residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at Florida State University.

Dr. Tanya Evers is an obstetrician/gynecologist who joined the Tallahassee Memorial Family Medicine Residency Program faculty in 2012 after completing her residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She earned her undergraduate and medical degrees at Florida State University.

By: Tanya Evers, MD

That answer is for you, the mother of this precious little baby, to decide.  Perhaps you are pregnant right now and have not decided whether to breastfeed your soon-to-arrive bundle of joy.  Maybe you have had other babies before and decided that breastfeeding wasn’t for you.  Will you make the same decision this time?

What will you do?  I hope that you will speak to people.  Speak to your healthcare provider and ask questions.  Speak to other women who have breastfed their children and find out what worked and what didn’t work for them.  Speak to your support person or significant other, and voice your concerns and thoughts.  Visit a breastfeeding support group.  Go online and check out what experts around the world are saying.  Don’t wait.  Start talking about it now so that you can make an informed decision later.

Breastfeeding is the most natural first step you and your baby can take together.  Your body knows what your baby needs.  You will make small amounts of milk at first, but that colostrum is like “liquid gold” for your infant.  The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will make.  As your baby gets older, your milk will change to fit your baby’s needs.  Every day you give your baby breast milk is like giving a gift; that gift will come in the form of decreased risk of ear infections, asthma, diabetes, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, just to name a few.  The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as well as the American Academy of Family Physicians all support breastfeeding, provided there are no obvious health risks to doing so.  If that is not enough, read what the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have posted on their websites.

All that being said, we haven’t even begun to explore the special bond that you and your infant will develop through breastfeeding.  Ask mothers who are breastfeeding now, and you will hear about how calm and relaxed they feel while holding and breastfeeding their baby.  Ask mothers who breastfed about what they miss most, and I bet you’ll hear how they miss that sweet time spent snuggling with their baby.

And, if all that is not enough, know that breastfeeding burns calories and will help you get your pre-baby body back.  You will also lower your risk of future diabetes, as well as breast and ovarian cancer.  Know that Florida law protects your right to breastfeed your infant in public, and federal laws protect your right to express milk when you return to work, so that even away from your child, you can still provide the very best.

No one can make the decision to begin or continue breastfeeding your infant except you.  Make an informed choice.  Start talking now and don’t stop until you are confident that the choice you are making is yours and yours alone.  Best wishes as you and your baby begin this journey together.

To begin your online research, please visit: www.tmh.org/BreastfeedingSupport.

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