The bonds and benefits of breastfeeding

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New moms will have many lessons to learn, among the first is getting their newborn to latch for breastfeeding.

New mom Natalie Neff said she felt overwhelmed as she took on the challenge of breastfeeding her baby boy, named Larson.

“I really, really wanted to breastfeed,” Neff said. “My mom couldn’t, and my sister couldn’t, but I really wanted to do it for my baby.

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The challenge is real: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent reports 81 percent of new moms try to breastfeed exclusively for six months as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics but at the six-month mark, just over half -- 52 percent-- were still nursing exclusively.

Adena Health System Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) Natasha McCoy said breastfeeding is more of an expectation than it was years ago. She and her team, which includes lactation consultants, offer education and support to new moms who choose to breastfeed.

“It takes a lot of effort on behalf of a mom to be there for every feeding day and night 24 hours a day right?” she asked. “There is also the need for getting a good latch, so the baby is getting the good nutrition they need.”

The month of August is designated as Breastfeeding Awareness Month. Advocates and medical experts say the benefits include offering your baby ideal nutrition that is complete with antibodies, a reduction in the risk for ear infections, asthma, and obesity.

Mothers benefit by losing pregnancy weight, reducing their risk for ovarian and breast cancers along with Type 2 diabetes.

New moms like Natalie Neff also said the instant bond with baby is priceless.

“He can be so upset, and I take him, and he knows me. The feeling is absolutely indescribable.”