Dr. Max Izbicki DO Chicago IL OB/GYN cares for pregnant patients from the first prenatal consultation through the delivery and beyond and supports breast feeding in new moms. Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended for the first 6 months of a baby’s life. Breastfeeding is best for your baby for the following reasons: Breast milk has the right amount of fat, sugar, water, protein, and minerals needed for a baby’s growth and development. As your baby grows, your breast milk changes to adapt to the baby’s changing nutritional needs. Breast milk is easier to digest than formula. Breast milk contains antibodies that protect infants from certain illnesses, such as ear infections, diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, and allergies. The longer your baby breastfeeds, the greater the health benefits. Breastfed infants have a lower risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Breast milk can help reduce the risk of many of the short-term and long-term health problems that preterm babies face.
Breastfeeding is good for you for the following reasons: Breastfeeding triggers the release of a hormone called oxytocin that causes the uterus to contract. This helps the uterus return to its normal size more quickly and may decrease the amount of bleeding you have after giving birth. Breastfeeding may make it easier to lose the weight you gained during pregnancy. Breastfeeding may reduce the risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
Drinking caffeine in moderate amounts (200 mg a day) most likely will not affect your baby. Newborns and preterm infants are more sensitive to caffeine’s effects. You may want to consume a lower amount of caffeine in the first few days after your baby is born or if your infant is preterm. If you want to have an occasional alcoholic drink, wait at least 2 hours after a single drink to breastfeed. The alcohol will leave your milk as it leaves your bloodstream—there is no need to express and discard your milk. Drinking more than two drinks per day on a regular basis may be harmful to your baby and may cause drowsiness, weakness, and abnormal weight gain.
Most medications are safe to take while breastfeeding. Although medications can be passed to your baby in breast milk, levels are usually much lower than the level in your bloodstream. The latest information about medications and their effects on breastfed babies can be found at LactMed, a database of scientific information, at http://www.toxnet.nlm.nih.gov/newtoxnet/lactmed.htm. If you are breastfeeding and need to take a prescription medication to manage a health condition, discuss this with your health care team and the health care professional caring for your baby.