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A mother can do nothing better for her baby than give it a healthy start in life. Nurturing begins during pregnancy, but once her baby is born, a mom can still help safeguard his or her physical and emotional health through breastfeeding. We explore the importance of breastfeeding and the benefits it offers for babies, moms and family bonding.
From a reduced incidence of ear infections, digestive problems and diarrhea to fewer skin and allergy issues, the list of breastfeeding benefits for infants is far-reaching and enduring, says Sherry Therwhanger, a certified lactation consultant at the Women’s Center at Baylor Medical Center at Garland.
“Breastfed infants are also less likely to experience respiratory problems or even colds, because every time mom breastfeeds she’s giving immunities to her baby and protecting them from all sorts of viral infections,” Therwhanger says.
New moms also enjoy immediate and long-term breastfeeding advantages.
“A mom who breastfeeds will typically return to her prepregnancy weight faster than a mom that’s not breastfeeding,” Therwhanger says. “That’s a nice bonus.”
Breastfeeding also reduces the incidence of urinary tract infections and osteoporosis as well as uterine and breast cancers. “The risk of breast cancer decreases the longer she breastfeeds and the more babies she feeds,” Therwhanger says.
For moms who may be unsure about breastfeeding or who have problems getting started, the Women’s Center at Baylor Garland supports mothers before, during and after delivery, says Angela Davis, R.N.
“We have lactation consultants able to assist mothers if they make the decision and then have difficulty. All of the nurses can support mothers as well.”
Beyond physical benefits, nursing also helps moms connect with their babies. “The most important benefit for mothers and babies is bonding,” Therwhanger says. “A mother is not only furnishing food; she’s also comforting her child.”
And dads can get involved, too. “If dad is there, I want him right up next to mom so he can bond, too,” Therwhanger says. “I think at that moment they really, truly become a family unit.”
The Women’s Center at Baylor Medical Center at Garland is enhancing the way you and your baby are cared for, starting with a new tour and mini-class for expectant parents. The tour allows parents to ask questions and get familiar with the center before they deliver, and the class is designed to provide more information about the benefits of breastfeeding.
Baylor Garland is also taking a more family-centered approach to your birthing experience, says Catherine Johnson, R.N., director of Women’s Services. “Once a baby is born, he or she is not separated from the family unit,” Johnson says. The baby is admitted in the mom’s room and receives the initial bath there, and education takes place there as well.
“Parents don’t like being separated from their baby for extended periods of time, and there’s so much education that needs to take place while they’re with us,” Johnson says. “This approach promotes learning and bonding, so they feel confident in their ability to care for the baby when they go home.”
Schedule a tour of the Women’s Center. Call 972.487.5010 to schedule yours today or learn more about Baylor Garland Women's Services. Tours are offered on the second Thursday and fourth Saturday each month. All attendees receive a free gift bag and refreshments are served.
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