Local News

Support During Breast-Feeding Can Be Key For Mother, Child

Posted August 3, 2005

— Baby formula versus breast feeding is a decision every new mom has to make. It can be a hard choice, depending on job issues and how well mother and child adapt to nursing. However, there is plenty of support for mothers who decide to breast feed.

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When Angela Reed first decided to breast-feed her daughter Leah, she did not know it would be so difficult -- even painful -- at times.

"Definitely, the last couple of days, there's been a lot of teamwork and education, a lot of practice," said Matthew Reed, Angela's husband.

WakeMed Cary lactation specialist Anne Marie Harlow tells new moms to expect a rough start.

"That it will get easier. Get through those first two weeks and you'll think, 'Oh, that was nothing,'" she said.

Tara Stanford and Andrea Osborne stuck with breast-feeding because they believe it's the healthiest option.

"After about a week or two, there was no turning back," Stanford said.

"My milk is tailored exactly to what (her daughter) Alicia needs. They can't do that in a lab somewhere," Osborne said.

Both mothers credit their hospital lactation specialist and a support group of nursing mothers for their success. Baby formula would have been more convenient, but not the most affordable.

"Because the formula is pricey and I have something for her that is perfect," Stanford said.

Breast-feeding gives the baby natural antibodies to fight illness. It helps shrink the uterus after birth and reduces the mother's risk of breast cancer.

"The biggest thing for me is Alicia is going to be a more secure child because she has a close relationship with me. We've bonded," said nursing mother Andrea Osborne.

Angela Reed said her husband's support is part of the reason she is committed to breast feeding.

"I think it's extremely important. I tell him maybe four or five times a day, I don't think I could have done any of this without him," she said.

Many companies say when women breast-feed after they return from maternity leave, they have fewer sick days. Some employers even offer to pay for breast pumps to encourage breast feeding.

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