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Dr. Gregory Pais, ND
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Home arrow Blog arrow SAVE 1,000,000 BABIES: SUPPORT BREASTFEEDING
SAVE 1,000,000 BABIES: SUPPORT BREASTFEEDING
PEDIATRICS Vol. 117 No. 3 March 2006, pp. e380-e386 (doi:10.1542/peds.2005-1496)
According to this 2006 study published in the journal Pediatrics, breastfeeding in the first hour of a baby's life, could save 41 percent of newborns that would otherwise die in their first month of life. With these kinds of numbers to back up this natural process why wouldn't this be supported? There are several reasons that this first hour is so important.

There's a much better chance that a baby will continue to breastfeed if it nurses as soon as it's born. Plus, it gives them colostrum-mother's first milk. Colostrum is the perfect food for every newborn baby. It is rich in antibodies and essential nutrients. Early breastfeeding improves lactation, helps the mom deliver her placenta, and prevents excess loss of blood.

One of my biggest concerns about hospital or birthing center deliveries is how soon the baby is with the mother. Unless there is an emergency there's nothing more important than the bonding that occurs when the baby is put on the mom immediately. This skin-on-skin contact is incredibly important. The baby will be less afraid, feel less discomfort, and often latch onto the breast naturally.

Somehow in the last 50 years breastfeeding became a 'shameful' activity-something to hide or make fun of. Onlookers get offended, sometimes morally outraged that a woman will breastfeed her baby in public. I think it's shameful that we don't support breastfeeding more. Make it easier for women to nurse their babies without any stigma attached.

Some of the lifelong health benefits that breastfeeding gives a child include added protection against:
Type 1 and type 2 diabetes
Eczema, asthma, allergies, and respiratory infections
Heart disease
Bowel diseases such as Crohn's disease

Breast milk boosts a child's immune system naturally, making them less susceptible to most common childhood illnesses and diseases. Breast milk also contains essential fatty acids like DHA and AA, which support brain development.

One of the most important things that can be done to create healthy children and save baby's lives is breastfeeding and initiating skin-to-skin contact shortly after birth. Local chapters of La Leche League can help you with information and resources to help make breastfeeding a success.

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