1) How can breastfeeding impact mental health of both babies and mothers?
- Breastfeeding is a way that mothers and babies communicate without words. Moms begin to feel the energy of their babies by the way they breathe or pause when they are nursing. It becomes a deep symbiotic relationship that is a deep communication.
- Communicating without words allow the child to learn to pick up on cues which than helps them read peoples cues as they get older.
- Breastfed babies are often very secure and confident as they age because the skills they learn at the breast: love, compassion, patience, communication is just not able to be communicated by feeding with a bottle.
2) What are benefits of breastfeeding (overall health and specifically mental health) for mothers and babies?
- Women feel more secure in their ability to parent because they can solely nourish their child increasing their self-confidence and understanding their child’s needs at a very deep level.
- Babies get nutrients in such a loving way that they associate food with love and caring not just nutrients. There is a lot less obesity as children age that were breastfeed.
3) What are some potential negative mental/overall health impacts of breastfeeding? What are some ways to counteract this?
- I can’t really think of any negative associations with breastfeeding unless the woman is not managing her time properly and becomes angry and resentful that she doesn’t have enough time for her needs.
- If a woman is not taught the proper do’s & don’ts of breastfeeding, her lack of knowledge could be very frustrating allowing for the baby to also feel frustrated.
4) Add any other important information mothers should know about breastfeeding.
- After having worked with over 5000 breastfeeding mothers and babies, I know that for most women, breastfeeding is a learned behavior. Most mother want to breastfeed their babies, but the majority of women need to be taught and directed. Some women have large nipples, some small. Some women have large breasts, some small. Some babies have large mouths, some small. Woman need to be guided in order to understand how their specific dyad works. They need to be encouraged, that breastfeeding, like any other learned skill, takes time to master. A woman must be patient and strong in order to walk the path not only as a breastfeeding mother, but as a parent to a fabulous new baby.