Breast Feeding
Breastfeeding is considered by many experts to be the final phase of pregnancy. The mother is continuing to supply everything the infant needs to grow and develop. However, in this process the infant is learning the physical dimension of feeling and sensation, and is beginning to differentiate himself or herself from the mother. There is a tremendous bond created between the “Me” and the “Her”. As the infant begins to realize his/her own individual needs, he/she is able to take and develop certain reflex mechanisms to satisfy these needs. The earliest forms of thought are initiated as the baby recognizes its own hunger or separation discomfort and takes measures to reduce these negative sensations.
The positive benefits of breastfeeding are heralded by so many experts and organizations. The real question becomes why is every infant not breastfed? Certainly there are medical conditions in which breastfeeding might be contraindicated. Some reasons would be if the mother had TB or HIV, two conditions that might be transmitted to the infant. Other reasons for not breastfeeding would be if the mother were on certain medications like statins for cholesterol or chemotherapy, the mother was a heavy alcoholic and the mother has a metabolic condition or illness in which she might not be able to generate the extra 500 to 600 calories a day to breastfeed. Any and more of these conditions might be present and the repercussions for not breastfeeding would be understood. But what about the other women who choose not to?
What are some of the reasons women give for not nursing their infants? One is that they are afraid it will hurt. There may be some initial discomfort with breast engorgement or nipple discomfort until the infant develops his technique of latching on, but for the most part it is a pleasurable process rather than a discomfort. Certain hormones are released during breastfeeding which enhance positive sensations. Granted, there can be blockage of a milk duct, or infection with a yeast or bacterium (called mastitis), but these are easily remediable. Some women fear the possible social embarrassment of breastfeeding while they are in public places, however, most states have laws about this making it perfectly acceptable, and there are techniques to initiate the feeding where most people are totally unaware that the mother is feeding her infant. Some women fear that it will delay their return to work. Well, return to work needs to be delayed for at least six weeks, anyhow, and arrangements can be made to regularly pump and store the milk for home use if she returns to work thereafter. One very common anxiety is believing that breastfeeding will not be possible if the mother has had breast augmentation. This is not true!!! It may be a little harder to get things going, especially if nerves around the areola have been cut, but most women do just fine after augmentation with their breastfeeding.
Let’s discuss some of the reasons that women benefit from breast feeding. They usually feel an enhanced sense of self-esteem knowing they are giving their infant the best in nutrition, security and preventive health. Often, they are the ones who have read a lot, talked to their doctors, talked with nursing mothers and maybe someone from the La Leche Society, and they really feel good about what they are doing. Women who breastfeed are statistically less likely to get breast and ovarian cancer than women who solely bottle feed. Breastfeeding causes the uterus to contract more forcefully after delivery, cutting down on bleeding: this is especially important in C-section patients. Importantly, breast feeding saves about three-hundred dollars a month in costs for formula and additional health expenses for mother and infant. It helps the mother take off extra pounds she may have gained during pregnancy. Mothers who breastfeed are less likely to develop subsequent rheumatoid arthritis.
And now for the benefits to the infant, consider the following. Breastfed infants get major doses of antibodies and other illness-preventing biological substances in the breast milk, especially in the colostrum which is the first liquid the breast produces. The infants get less diarrheal illness, middle ear infections, and respiratory infections. An infant is less likely to develop celiac disease when gluten is introduced into the diet while breastfeeding. There is less obesity in infants, and less Type I and Type II diabetes. Interestingly, higher IQ’s seem to result from breastfeeding than formula feeding.
So, here’s the deal: save the cow for steaks and milk for the older children. Cow’s milk, upon which most of the formulas are based, lacks too many essential things for the human infant including lactoferrin, growth factors, and anti-infective constituents. Plan to feed the infant nothing by mouth (even water) except breast milk which the baby should receive five to eight times per day according to his expressed needs. After six months begin to introduce other things in the diet but continue breast milk until at least twelve months. The World Health Organization says two years on breast milk after six months of exclusive feeding, but this is directed at decreasing infant mortality in Third World Countries principally by preventing diarrheal disease. Correct ignorance and misinformation whenever you can about breastfeeding, and discuss your breastfeeding experiences with other women who either are breastfeeding or intend to breastfeed. Remember this one thing; it is probably the greatest gift you can give your developing infant other than life itself and a mother’s love.

John Drew Laurusonis, M.D.
Doctors Medical Center

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Laurusonis was conferred his Doctor of Medicine degree in 1983 and has been actively taking care of patients since completing his Internal Medicine residency in 1987 in the Garden State of New Jersey. Dr. Laurusonis has been licensed in four states but ultimately chose to permanently relocate to Georgia with his family and begin a private practice. Through his extensive experience in Internal Medicine, as well as in Emergency Rooms throughout the United States, Dr. Laurusonis saw how traditional Emergency Rooms were often overwhelmed by patients suffering medical conditions that were urgent but may not need the traditional “Level I Trauma Center”. Patients often waited six to twelve hours to be seen by a physician, were riddled with thousands of dollars in medical bills, and were generally unhappy with the system.
Dr. Laurusonis decided to open an Urgent Care Center instead of a 9-5 doctor's office. Through the last fifteen years he has received accolades from the community and his patients. He has expanded his practice to include many cosmetic therapies that have previously been treated with painful and extensive plastic surgery. He has been invited to the White House numerous times, has been named Physician of the Year, as seen in the Wall Street Journal, and has served as Honorary Co-Chairman on the Congressional Physicians Advisory Board
Dr. Laurusonis and his practice, Doctors Medical Center, is open 7 days a week from 7:30 am to 9:30 pm offering such services as lab, x-ray, EKGs, aesthetics (Botox, dermabrasion, sclerotheraby and veins etc.), cold/flu, sore throats, fractures, sprains, lacerations, GYN, Pediatrics, Anxiety/Insomnia/Depression Treatment, skin tag/mole removal, veins, allergies, asthma, physicals--just to name a few. Dr. Laurusonis welcomes you to either make an appointment or just walk-in to see him. Dr. Laurusonis will take the time to speak with you about your concerns--no problem is too big or too small. If you need additional services we have specialist referrals available or we can refer you to the neighborhood hospital emergency room. Give Doctors Medical Center a call--Dr. Laurusonis will be happy to speak with you.

John Drew Laurusonis, MD
Doctors Medical Center
3455 Peachtree Industrial Blvd
Suite 110
Duluth, GA 30096