Breastfeeding is one of the most natural and beneficial acts a mother can do for her child. From antibodies which protect an infant starting at birth, to the exclusive nutrients in mother’s milk which have been shown to prevent a number of childhood diseases, the benefits are incalculable. In fact it can arguably be said that there is no other single action by which a mother can so impact the present and future health of her baby.
Nevertheless, breastfeeding is often thought of in today’s society as unnecessary. Young mothers are mistakenly led to believe that formula milk is an adequate replacement for breast milk. But nothing can duplicate the properties of breast milk, no matter how many vitamins, minerals and supplements are added to what is basically a chemical formulation.
Breast milk remains the one and only natural, complete and complex nutrition for human infants. It is nature’s formula for ensuring the health and quality of life for infants, as well as on through childhood to adult life.
For most babies, especially premature babies, breast milk is much easier to digest than formula. The proteins in formula are made from cow’s milk and it takes time for babies’ stomachs to adjust to digesting them. Not only that, but the cells, hormones, and antibodies in breast milk protect babies from illness. This protection is unique, as formula can never match the chemical makeup of human breast milk.
And then there is the emotional advantage to breast feeding. Breastfeeding promotes a special bond between mother and child that only a mother can provide, which includes physiological and psychological benefits for both mother and child. It creates emotional bonds; physical contact can help them feel more secure, warm, and comforted. Mothers can benefit from this closeness, as well, as breastfeeding requires that a mother take some quiet relaxed time to bond.
Occasionally there are difficulties with a baby breastfeeding. One such common problem is infants who have tongue-tie, also known as ankyloglossia. Their predicament is that they are not able to move their tongue freely to be able to breastfeed effectively, because of the placement of the frenulum, the membrane that connects the base of the tongue to the floor of the mouth. In tongue-tie, the frenulum is attached too tightly to the tongue, anywhere from the base of the tongue to the very tip. Tongue-tie can lead to low milk production problems, since the baby cannot effectively remove milk from the breast. Another painful problem is candidiasis infection of the nipple causing pain.
Jerusalem dentist Dr. Ari Greenspan is very familiar with the problem, and the solution. Treatment for tongue-tie consists of “clipping” the membrane with surgical scissors or by laser to release the tongue. This procedure is called a frenotomy, a procedure that takes only seconds, after which the baby can usually be put to the breast within a minute or two, where he should be easily soothed. Should your baby have any problems breastfeeding, Dr. Greenspan will diagnose the problem and repair it, and bring relief and satisfaction to you and your baby.