Benefits for You:
Breastfeeding will help you get into shape faster, helps your uterus shrink back to its pre-pregnancy state and prevents excessive bleeding after birth. Breastfeeding also reduces your risk of developing breast and ovarian cancer, and helps prevent osteoporosis and hip fracture later in life.
Benefits for Baby:
Breast milk gives your baby protection against diseases and will decrease their chances of developing earaches, colds and allergies, and helps protect against SIDS (crib deaths). Your baby can digest breast milk better than formula, so breastfed babies have less constipation and diarrhea than babies given formula. Breastfed babies also have less speech problems and straighter teeth, and numerous studies have shown enhanced language and emotional development in key parts of the brain.
Risks of NOT Breastfeeding:
Infants who are not breastfed are 10-15% more likely to be hospitalized before their first birthday, and have higher risks of childhood obesity, ear infections, gastrointestinal illnesses, type 1 and type 2 diabetes, leukemia, and sudden infant death syndrome. Mothers who do not breastfeed are at increased risk for breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type 2 diabetes, heart attack and the metabolic syndrome.
“How Do I know I’m Making Enough Milk?”
A very common question is: “Am I producing enough milk? Is my baby getting enough to eat?” A newborn stomach is only the size of a marble, and by 10 days old, is only the size of an egg! The fact that your baby constantly wants to eat is NOT a sign of under-production or that supplementation is necessary. Babies simply eat around the clock during their first months of life because their stomachs are very small and they digest breast milk very efficiently. You can expect major growth spurts at approximately 4 weeks, 6 weeks and 4 months - just keep nursing, as you cannot overfeed a breastfed baby!
Find support and remember that it's a "supply and demand" issue. The more often you put baby to your breast; the more milk you will make. Relax and trust yourself; your baby is helping build and sustain your milk production and supplementing with formula will compromise your supply. Six to eight wet diapers and two to five bowel movements in 24 hours (for a baby under six weeks old) means the baby is getting enough to eat. If you have more questions, consult the World Health Organization (WHO) child growth chart at your pediatrician's office to ensure healthy, optimal weight gain.
Manual or Electric Breast Pump? Is it Covered by Insurance?
Starting July 1, 2012, private, commercial health insurance companies are required to provide a breast pump each time you're pregnant, before or after you give birth. Contact your insurance company for a list of participating providers or medical pharmacies. Your individual needs will determine the best type of pump for you, though working mothers who pump frequently find an electric pump is most helpful.
What Are My Rights as a Nursing Mother?
Many women have reported feeling uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, even doing so discreetly. But it is important to remember that you are feeding your baby. You are not doing anything inappropriate. The federal government and the state of Hawaii have laws to protect your right to nurse in any public or private location of your choice:
HRS §489-21, HRS §489-22 Discriminatory practices; breast feeding.
It is a discriminatory practice to deny, or attempt to deny, the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodations to a woman because she is breast feeding a child.
What Are My Rights at Work?
If you are employed by a company in Hawaii with 20 or more employees, your right to continue your breastfeeding relationship is protected by law. Effective July 1, 2013, employers are required to provide reasonable break time and a place (other than a restroom) to express breast milk for one year after your child's birth.
Federal law requires companies with 50 or more employees to comply with the same guidelines.
Click to download the Breastfeeding in the Workplace labor law poster.
Insurance Covered Breast Pump
Under most insurance plans you are entitled to a free breast pump. Follow the link HERE to find local programs in your state that accept your insurance.
Other Questions and Resources:
While breastfeeding is the most natural thing in the world, it doesn’t always come naturally to mothers right away. Fortunately there are resources, such as lactation consultants, available to help.
Visit our Resource Directory for links to assistance near you, read more about breastfeeding, or download our brochure for assistance with common questions and latching issue