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Breast is best

By KAREN MORGAN health@the-resident.com

Karen Morgan is a Registered General Nurse and a Registered Midwife, working at the Family Medical Centre Quinta do Lago & Vale do Lobo Medical Centre. She has practised in the Algarve for nine years now and has a good knowledge of local hospitals and services relating to pregnancy and babies.

I KNOW, I KNOW, you have heard it all before… but it really is – if you are able to do it …and do it you can with the right information and support.

When midwives or doctors tell you it is better to breast feed your baby, they have good reason.

Did you know that breastfeeding costs nothing (apart from the odd green cabbages – more about that later)?

Your milk is at the right temperature and ready to serve – no heating up is necessary. Breast milk protects your baby against eczema, asthma and other allergic conditions, also against ear, nose and throat infections in the first few years of life, as it builds a strong immune system.  It also protects against gastro enteritis – diarrhoea and stomach upsets that can cause dehydration in babies.

Research has also proven that your child will have less problems with obesity, heart disease and diabetes in later life.

There are benefits for you too:

It decreases your chances of getting breast cancer.

It helps your womb (uterus) return to its pre-pregnancy state ie: you lose your pregnancy weight quicker (bonus!)

Your periods will not start until you stop breastfeeding, although remember you could still get pregnant, so be careful.  Having said that, this will probably be the last thing on your mind in those few weeks post delivery. Sorry dads!

Yes, it has lots of benefits and is a lovely, natural, bonding experience for you and your baby.

Ok, I know it can be time consuming in those first few weeks when you are very tired, and daddy can’t do much to help, other than change poo-ey nappies!  It is worth it though – even if just for a short period of time.

With the knowledge of how to breastfeed, how it works with your body and hormones and with good close support from a health care professional, it is possible.

If you need advice relating to breastfeeding (or bottle feeding – support will always be available whatever you choose) or any other baby related problem, there are plenty of qualified people available to help you.

So that green cabbage thing.  Here’s a question for you. What is the benefit of dark green cabbage when breastfeeding?

If you eat it, it causes colic in your baby.

It helps prevent breast inflammation and mastitis when breastfeeding.

It looks attractive inside your bra (if a breastfeeding bra could ever be deemed attractive!)…