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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Top Ten Tips for positive parenting in 2012

Number 2.  Be "Exclusive": More on the How and Why of Breastfeeding

Happily, more and more mothers are making the choice to breastfeed their newborns. But for many, this is a short-lived success, soon giving way to unplanned weaning to the bottle.  Why is this?  The number one cause of breastfeeding failure is unnecessary formula supplementation during the first days and weeks of life.

I am incredibly proud that our hospital has doubled the rate of newborns that breastfeed exclusively during their hospital stay.  This is as important as it is difficult.  We live in a culture where "more is better" and where our tolerance for inconvenience is, well, limited.  So, it is tempting for relatives, and doctors, and nurses to say..."go ahead.  Give a bottle.  Top off the tank.  You'll get a little more rest and hey, the extra calories won't hurt the baby..."

But here's the problem.  Those occasional bottles mean a little less breastfeeding, which means a little less milk production and a little less practice for the mother and infant, which means a little less success, which means a couple of MORE bottles, and off we go.  By the second office visit, a back of the envelope calorie count tells the pediatrician that baby is getting pretty much all her calories from Meade Johnson Corporation and not from mom.

Spread the word.  Breastfeeding is incredibly important to health.  And exclusivity, especially at the start, can make the critical difference to breastfeeding success.  

I want to wish a happy and health New Year to all my readers.   Number 1 in the Top Ten Tips for Positive Parenting in 2012 appears New Year's Day!

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