Why Breastfeeding is Best for Mothers - Brookings Health System

I'm Dr. Richard Gudvangen, I'm one of the OB-GYN doctors here at the Brookings Health System Hospital. I've been here between 12 and 13 years, and been practicing OB-GYN for approximately 25 years. And in that time I have delivered about 2500 to 3000 babies.


What Benefits Does Breastfeeding Provide for Mothers? Health Benefits

There's some big benefits of breastfeeding to mom. One is mom doesn't, it helps mom actually get rid of the extra weight. Because breast milk is calories, it takes calories to produce those calories. It actually takes more to be breastfeeding than to be pregnant. It does, immediately postpartum, make the uterus go back to normal faster. There's actually less bleeding overall. Decrease in things like anemia because mom's not having periods and that's one of the ways to run into anemia for especially modern women, where they're not pregnant all the time and they're not lactating all the time. One of the biggest ones is probably the reduction in breast cancer risk. Moms that have the breast cancer gene in their family, even there it can reduce their risk by 50 to 60 percent if they breastfeed.


What Benefits Does Breastfeeding Provide for Mothers? Time Benefits 

Moms that breastfeed miss much less work, pure and simple because their babies are not as sick. You don't have to worry about sterilizing bottles, washing bottles. The milk is always the right temperature, and it’s sterile to start with.


What Benefits Does Breastfeeding Provide for Mothers? Financial Benefits

It costs less. Moms that formula feed supposedly cost as much as an extra $5000 for that baby's first year of life. Not for the formula but because of the illnesses.


What Should Mothers Expect for their First Time Breastfeeding? After Birth

Well it's important to, at least in the first hour with baby, trying to nurse, because babies have a way of, after their first hour, they become lethargic, sleepy for one day. The second day they become a whole new kid. It's like they're programed to know that milk production is going to start.


What Should Mothers Expect for their First Time Breastfeeding? First Two Weeks

Initially it does seem like a major hassle, and you have to survive the first two weeks. Once you get through that then it's much straight forward. You don't spend your life breastfeeding, but babies are going to want to be fed for the first three months every one to four hours. First few days at home they may want to be fed as much as every hour. It's like they're programed to demand attention. And so the first few days, first couple of few weeks are tough. And then it becomes easier after that, it becomes very routine. That's usually where breastfeeding fails. When moms go home and all these well-meaning people tell them how to do it.


What Should Mothers Expect for their First Time Breastfeeding? Let-Down Reflex

Well that's part of what happens in the first two weeks, when you develop a let down-reflex. Prolactin gets produced when baby suckles and stimulates the let-down reflex, stimulates milk production. And that's not there at first, and so that's why I say the first few days can be tough because there is no let-down reflex and there is no prolactin being produced. Once that happens milk production is there whenever baby needs it. The more baby nurses the more mom will produce. And so there is no such thing as not producing enough.


Top Reasons to Breastfeed

One, babies are, pure and simple, healthier. Two, moms are healthier. Three, cheaper and four make your kid smarter. Five, decreases mom's chances of diseases herself later in life.

 

Why Brookings Health System?

It's a good place to have your baby because we're here in town, and you have a very high likelihood that your doctor will be around. Not always, we need a break once in a while, but most of the time we're here. We have all the amenities, we have everything you need, we can take care of almost every obstetrical issue. And so that should not be a concern. We have a great staff, and one of the reasons I ended up coming here was because they had all the amenities. I was impressed that we had everything we needed here, and I came from a much larger community to come here. There are numerous hospitals, all high tech stuff. I came here and I was like, "Wow, almost everything is here."