I can help
For Grandmother / Breastfeeding Information
I didn’t breastfeed; Why should she?
While infant formula has improved over the years, substituting it for breast milk is not risk-free. Breast milk is best for the optimum health and development of your new grandchild, and your encouragement and support can make a great difference in the success of your daughter’s breastfeeding. By helping her care for her baby and household, as well as offering words of encouragement and support, you can empower her to achieve breastfeeding success and provide optimal nutrition for the health of herself and your grandchild.
Benefits for Your Daughter and Granddaughter
Breastfeeding is not only good for babies, but for moms, too.
Some of the benefits of breastfeeding for mothers include:
- Helps women lose weight gained during pregnancy
- Lowers risk of breast cancer
- Lowers risk of ovarian cancer
- Lowers risk of osteoporosis (thinning of bones)
- Less missed time at work and fewer doctor’s visits
- Less expensive and more convenient
- Comforts baby quickly, so less crying and happier baby
- Breastfeeding hormones help mothers feel calm and connect with their baby
- Lowers risk of heart and blood vessel disease and diabetes
- Less postpartum bleeding
- Lowers risk of postpartum depression
You Can Help
- Hold the baby while mom showers, eats a meal, or gets some sleep.
- Help older siblings feel special and important during this time of change by giving them attention and praise.
- Help mom and dad cook, take care of household chores, and errands.
- Comfort Mom if she feels pressured to host visitors by limiting guests and encouraging her to rest and concentrate on breastfeeding in the early days after delivery.
- Let her know how proud you are of her for breastfeeding by offering words of encouragement.
Benefits to Your Partner and Your Baby
- Breast milk gives your baby the ideal balance of nutrients and infection-fighting antibodies. Mother’s milk contains live cells and other growth factors that help promote the best possible development.
- Parts of mother’s milk help to activate and develop you baby’s immune system.
- The special mixture of fats in mother’s milk helps develop the baby’s brain and eyes.
- Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mom and baby.
- Breast milk can reduce the development of allergies in babies. The most common allergies in the US are to the casein (cow’s milk protein) and soy. Baby formulas are made from cow’s milk or soy, and early introduction to casein and soy can stimulate sensitivity and result in allergies later.
- Breastfeeding leads to less diarrhea, constipation, and spitting up.
- Breast milk is easier for baby to digest and absorb nutrients from.
- Breastfeeding is linked to lower numbers and severity of respiratory, urinary, ear, and other infections.
- Babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from childhood cancers, asthma, allergies, obesity, diabetes, eczema, and chronic bowel diseases.
- Breastfeeding is linked to a lower risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
- Breastfed babies have a better response to vaccinations.
- Babies raised on breast milk have higher IQ and higher scores on test of development throughout childhood.
- Babies who drink breast milk have healthier teeth.
- Breastfeeding is linked with a lower re-hospitalization rate.
And the benefits continue into adulthood and includes
lowering the risk of:
- High cholesterol
- Ulcerative colitis
- Crohn’s disease
- Heart disease
- Insulin dependent diabetes
You can help
- Giving mom quiet, uninterrupted time with baby.
- Helping mom get comfortable: providing a seat with good back support, giving her a footstool to take pressure off her back, plus pillows to help her relax.
- Helping mom get enough rest by taking care of older siblings and helping around the house.
- Bringing baby to mom to feed.
- Helping with baby by bathing, dressing, burping, and diapering.
- Filling and labeling storage containers if mom is pumping, as well as cleaning breast pump parts.
- Feeding baby its bottle if mom is pumping.
- Being a good listener and supporter when mom needs to talk about her breastfeeding concerns.
- Taking part in skin-to-skin contact with your baby helps baby feel calm and connected.
There are several ways you can help mom have breastfeeding success with your new baby, including:
What to expect (timeline)
- Birth. The first hour after birth is a good time to breastfeed for the first time.
- First Day. Baby will be sleepy for the first 36 hours of life, so feedings will likely be short and scattered. Your baby will drink about 1 teaspoon of colostrum—a rich, thick, yellowish milk—at each feeding. Feed the baby whenever he or she displays hunger cues. Because babies sleep a lot in the first day or two, we encourage you to unwrap and stimulate your baby to observe for hunger cues 8-12 times a day. Your baby may not nurse every time you attempt to wake him or her. This is a good time for both you and your partner to get rest.
- “Second Night.” After the first 36 – 48 hours, your baby is likely to be sensitive to stimulation and be fussy. Usually, this isn’t hunger, but instead is your baby’s desire for a familiar environment that is calming and quiet. Place baby on your or your partner’s chest, skin-to-skin, and he or she will feel more secure.
- First Week. Feedings will take place frequently, at least 8-12 times a day, and often without a schedule. White milk has come in at this time, and because it is more digestible than formula, breastfed babies will eat more often than those on formula.
- Up to 6 Weeks. Feedings will be less frequent and take less time.