Breastfeeding 101

. December 1, 2014.

At what point during pregnancy do women usually start producing milk?

Most mothers will be able to hand express a drop or two (and I mean just a drop!) of colostrum in their last trimester of pregnancy, which is the first milk a mother has. This thick, sticky, and yellowish milk is loaded with protection for the baby. It helps get their immune system going, is a laxative to help get out the meconium and seal off the baby’s gut to protect it. Some mothers will actually leak colostrum during their pregnancies and other mothers never see their colostrum during pregnancy.

Why is breastfeeding so beneficial for mom and baby?

For the baby, there will be a reduced numbers of ear infections, hospitalizations, asthma and type 2 diabetes, risk of obesity and certain types of cancers later in life. Mom’s benefits include losing weight more quickly after pregnancy, reducing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, certain reproductive cancers, heart disease, postpartum depression and some autoimmune diseases. Breastfeeding is one of the greenest things that can be done. The food goes directly from manufacturer to customer, no packaging required!

How can you increase milk production?

This is a tricky question. Because each mother and baby are different. A lot of information is needed before helpful suggestions can be made. The best way to figure this out is to meet with an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). They have special training to help pinpoint where the trouble might be. It does cost you, but it is an excellent investment. If a mother is feeling like she does not have enough breast milk, she should get help right away to discuss the best approach for her and her baby. There is no one size fits all in this case!

The Breastfeeding Center of Ann Arbor 726 Brooks St., Ann Arbor. 734-975-6534.