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10 Things about... Newborns and Breastfeeding

Here is some information from Dr. Jen Thomas about what is going on with your

newborn and why being close to them is so important.


1. Human babies that are born vaginally get good bacteria from their moms. This bacterial is good for normal gut health and development of the immune system


2. Babies that are placed on moms chest between the breasts as soon as they are born breath and regulate their temperature better.(Fun fact: our cardiac output, how much blood we circulate in a given minute, is distributed to places that are important. Lots goes to the kidney every minute, like 10% or so, and 20% goes to your brain. In a new mom, 23% goes to her chest- more than her brain.

The body thinks that place is important!)


3. Our babies are born into the world needing our protection. Our instinct is to protect them.


4. Babies will look for moms breast. Moms sweat smells like amniotic fluid as does the babies hands (if not cleaned off). Baby uses that taste on their hands to follow mom’s smell. The colostrum will help protect baby from infection.


5. Breastfeeding is normal and is designed for the needs of babies.


6. “Colostrum also activates things in the baby's gut that then goes on to make the thymus grow. The thymus is part of the immune system. Growing your thymus is important. Breastmilk= big thymus, good immune system. Colostrum also has a bunch of something called Secretory Immunoglobulin A (SIgA). SIgA is made in the first few days of life and is infection protection specifically from mom. Cells in mom's gut watch what's coming through and if there's an infectious cell, a special cell in mom's gut called a plasma cell heads to the breast and helps the breast make

SIgA in the milk to protect the baby. If mom and baby are together, like on mom's chest, then the baby is protected from what the two of them may be exposed to. Babies should be with mom.”


7. Babies know the difference between a bassinette and a human chest. If they are separated from mom they respond with ‘despair’ if that call is not answered they get cold, stress hormones are released, heart rate drops and they get quiet. Babies want to be held, all the time.


8. Safe sleeping is important. This means being sober, in bed, breastfeeding, and not smoking.


9. Being skin to skin and at the vreast also helps baby’s brain to develop. It also gets their immune system developed, activates their thymus, keeps them warm, they feel safe and they learn normal sleep patterns.


10. Babies don’t need to eat all the time but they do need to be with you all the time


For more information visit the website www.drjen4kids.com

Jenny Thomas, MD, MPH, IBCLC, FAAP, FABM

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