National Breastfeeding Month: Benefits for Mom & Baby!

posted by Bryn Goettsch & Katie Fullhart on Thursday, August 3, 2023

While breastfeeding is a very natural thing to do, it doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes it takes practice, patience and breastfeeding support, which we’re happy to provide to help moms and babies have a great experience.

The month of August is designated as National Breastfeeding Month, recognizing the nutritional, health and wellness benefits of breastfeeding for babies and mothers.

One of the best features about breast milk is that as the baby grows, the mother’s breast milk will change to meet the baby’s nutritional needs. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, breastfeeding can help protect babies against some short and long-term illnesses and diseases. Did you know breastfed babies have a lower risk of asthma, obesity, type 1 diabetes and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)?

Breastfeeding can have health benefits for moms too! It can reduce a woman’s risk of ovarian and breast cancer, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Plus, breastfeeding is convenient – moms can feed baby anywhere and the milk is always the right temperature. Also, to provide dad or others bonding time and an opportunity to share in feeding baby, moms can pump and store breast milk.

As board certified lactation consultants, we’re available to provide breastfeeding guidance right from the start. Our Birth Center team encourages new mothers to have skin-to-skin contact with their newborn for the first one to two hours after giving birth, as studies have shown such physical contact can improve breastfeeding success by 80 percent. Also, while a new mom may not need to use a breast pump during her hospital stay, our staff can provide education on using a pump and make sure the pump is a proper fit.Other tips for successful breastfeeding include:

  • The more you demand milk, the better your supply will be so nurse or pump often.
  • Did you know that when your baby is sick, your milk changes to help fight the current illness? Be sure to nurse baby during this time or give your infant freshly expressed breastmilk.
  • A correct latch is important for milk supply and comfort. Breastfeeding should not be painful; seek breastfeeding support if this is an issue.

Sometimes, even with ample support, a mother may struggle to breastfeed her child. Fortunately, breast milk can still be available to your baby even if you experience such challenges. Spencer Hospital serves as a milk depository for the University of Iowa.  Moms can become a donor and drop their breast milk off at the Birth Center, where it will be shipped to the University of Iowa Milk Bank. By donating milk, you are helping other babies who can reap the benefits of breast milk nutrition, many who are fragile, vulnerable, ill and/or born prematurely. 

The bottom line is education and support is important for breastfeeding success. You can meet with either of us for a lactation consultation before baby and/or after baby arrives.  Call Spencer Hospital Birth Center at (712) 264-6314 to schedule an appointment.  Meanwhile, if you’re a breastfeeding mom who is looking to boost milk production, try our recipe for No-Bake Lactation Bites!

No-Bake Lactation Bites

  • 2 cups old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup ground or milled flaxseed
  • 3 tablespoons brewer’s yeast
  • 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter
  • ½ cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips

Mix together, roll into balls, put on tray and place in fridge for 30 minutes, once set, transfer to air-tight container and store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks (but they won’t last that long).

  1. breastfeeding
  2. children
  3. women's health

About The Author

Bryn Goettsch & Katie Fullhart

Registered Nurses Bryn Goettsch and Katie Fullhart are International Board Certified Lactation Consultants. Bryn and Katie work in Spencer Hospital's Birth Center, caring for women during their labor and delivery journey.