Oswego County Public Information Office, 46 East Bridge St., Oswego, NY 13126

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January 7, 2011

Is Breast-feeding Right For You and Your Baby?

Getting ready for the birth of a baby is an exciting and busy time. There are many things to do such as choosing a name, stocking up on supplies and clothes, getting the baby's room ready.

Another detail to consider is how you are going to feed your newborn. The Oswego County Health Department reminds you that choosing how you feed your child is one of the most important decisions you will make as a new parent.

"Today, more mothers are choosing to breast-feed," said Dr. Dennis Norfleet, public health director of the Oswego County Health Department. "It strengthens the bond between mother and baby and provides many benefits for both. Breast-feeding can be an exciting and fulfilling part of motherhood."

Dr. Norfleet continued, "It is a healthy choice as breast-fed babies are less likely to get sick with ear infections, colds, flu or meningitis, or have diaper rash. This can mean fewer trips to the doctor, medicines to buy and less missed time from work."

Breast milk provides all the nutrients that your baby needs to be healthy in the first six months of life. It contains the right amount of fat, sugar, water and protein and is much easier for the infant to digest.

Dr. Norfleet added, "It also frees families from the daily chore of preparing formula and warming bottles. Breast milk is ready day or night; any time your baby is hungry. It is always the right temperature and doesn't spoil."

Get all the facts about breast-feeding before you make your decision. Talk to your doctor or the nutritionist or breast-feeding coordinator at your local WIC agency. They can answer your questions and help you get started.

Dr. Norfleet said, "If you still have concerns, the easiest way to overcome them is to try it, even if it's just for a few weeks. Any amount of breast-feeding is better than no breast-feeding."

For mothers who choose to breast-feed, Dr. Norfleet recommends giving up caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes.

"They have harmful substances that can pass to your baby through your breast milk," said Dr. Norfleet. "You can breast-feed while taking most medications, but always check with your medical provider first. Some drugs can pass into breast milk and be harmful to your baby."

For more information about breast-feeding and its benefits, call the Oswego County Health Department weekdays at 315-349-3547 or visit the New York State Department of Health's Web site at www.health.ny.gov/community/pregnancy/breastfeeding.

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