Breastfeeding Benefits Mom and Baby
Breastfeeding Benefits Mom and Baby
When you become a parent, suddenly the world changes and you find yourself
vowing to protect that precious baby looking back at you. The responsibility
is great and most new parents do not know where to start. As a doctor
and a mother of two small children, I say start with breastfeeding. Breastfeeding
is one of the best investments in saving lives and improving the health
of moms and babies. This month, in celebration of World Breastfeeding
Week, I want to encourage all mothers-to-be in Tulare County to breastfeed
their baby. Even if you are an uncle-to-be or a grandparent-to-be, you
too can encourage your loved one to breastfeed or learn more about its
benefits before welcoming their little one into the world.
As Medical Director of the Pediatric Department at Kaweah Delta, where
we help deliver 5,000 babies a year, I am part of a team that daily encourages
women to breastfeed. Our lactation team and registered nurses offer free
breastfeeding classes to soon-to-be fathers and mothers before they ever
step foot in the hospital. We are also able to offer breastfeeding support
to our patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, visiting with them
while they are in labor, throughout their stay, and even after they leave.
The reason we encourage breastfeeding is because health is our passion.
We want our patients to be in the best health and studies show that breast
milk is what is best for babies. In fact, breast milk is called liquid
gold because it is the most complete form of nutrition for infants. It
has just the right amount of fat, sugar, water, and protein that a baby
needs to grow and develop as they should. It truly is the ideal nutrition
for a new baby.
Breastfeeding helps baby and mom bond early, which has long-lasting physical
and emotional benefits. It can help reduce the baby’s risk for certain
allergic diseases, asthma, obesity and type 2 diabetes, improve their
cognitive development and decrease chances of sudden infant death syndrome.
Breastmilk contains antibodies which can help babies fight some viruses
and bacterial infections. Babies who breastfeed have a reduced risk of
ear infections, respiratory infections, vomiting, diarrhea, urinary tract
infections, and certain types of blood cancers such as leukemia.
Moms also benefit from breastfeeding. It can reduce bleeding after delivery,
help with weight loss, reduce stress, reduce the risk of breast and cervical
cancer, and may help improve postpartum depression. It can also help mom’s
uterus return to normal after delivery.
Breastfeeding may help new parents save money. According to the U.S. Surgeon
General, formula can average between $1,200 to $1,500 during a baby’s
All that said, breastfeeding is not easy (and can even be frustrating at
times) and that’s where a strong support system is key. That support
system can include the baby’s father, family, friends, coworkers
and even our lactation team at Kaweah Delta. The team continues to serve
as a resource to answer questions that women may have after they leave
A strong support system can be instrumental in helping women overcome barriers
that may keep them from even attempting breastfeeding. For some women,
the choice not to breastfeed is based on inaccurate information passed
down to them. For example, some women hesitate to breastfeed because they
want to use formula to ensure the baby is always satisfied or they believe
that formula has vitamins or nutritional benefits that breastmilk does
not. These beliefs are unfounded.
I hope by reading this piece today, you have learned about how positively
breastfeeding can impact mothers and babies in Tulare County. Please encourage
anyone you know who is about to become a new parent about this opportunity.
For more information on Kaweah Delta’s free breastfeeding classes, visit
Dr. Julianne Randolph is Medical Director of the Pediatric Department at
Kaweah Delta, where approximately 5,000 babies are delivered each year.
Kaweah Delta’s Family Birthing Center provides maternity and infant
health care with a 21-bed labor and delivery unit, a 42-bed postpartum
unit, the largest labor/delivery triage area in Tulare County, anesthesiologists,
Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialists for high-risk deliveries, along with
a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) staffed by physicians from Valley
Children’s Medical Group. Construction is currently taking place
to expand the NICU to 23-beds with private rooms and eight Neonatal Intermediate
Care Beds. Kaweah Delta’s NICU is community designated by California
Children’s Services as providing care for infants as early as 26-weeks
gestation and has a neonatologist/pediatric hospitalist on site 24/7.