Breastfeeding your baby has many health benefits and can also be a very rewarding experience in your parent-child relationship. However, it can be a lot like learning to ride a bike: extremely difficult to balance everything at first, including some bumps or bruises along the way, but can become second nature once you master the skill. Most mothers require "training wheels" to get started, including many lessons, lots of practice, and the self-confidence and motivation to stick with it!    


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the World Health Organization (WHO) recommend breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months of your baby's life, with continued breastfeeding as foods are introduced, and for at least baby's first year or longer if desired. Breastfeeding supports your baby by lowering her risk for certain health problems and is linked to positive developmental outcomes and strong attachment and sensitivity. Tips to get started and stick with it include surrounding yourself with a supportive team, practice, patience, and believing in yourself! 


Breastfeeding tips


Video: Breastfeeding Tips


La Leche League

Brain Science for Your Baby


Breastfeeding in the early couple of months can be difficult!   But there is lots of research that shows that breast milk is good for a baby's body and brain.


Breastfeeding is also good for mothers.  Breastfeeding helps decrease your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and breast cancer.  Breastfeeding triggers the release of oxytocin in the brain.  Oxytocin is a hormone that has been linked to reductions in stress.


There is quite a bit of research that shows that mothers who are stressed and who have depression during pregnancy tend to stop breastfeeding earlier than mothers who don't have depression. There has been less research to see whether breastfeeding can help with mothers' stress and depression.  A 2013 study (Hahn-Holbrook et al) found that mothers who were still breastfeeding at 3 months after delivery ended up having less symptoms of depression later.  And they also found that mothers who breastfed more often during the day at 3 months had greater drops in depression symptoms over time - up to 2 years after birth.


Why is decreasing maternal depression so important?  Besides being miserable for mothers - mothers who are depressed are less able to bond with their babies.  And that "give and take" interaction between a mother and baby is critical to the baby's early brain development. So - if you can - breastfeed.  If you want to, but it's not going well - ask for help!  And if you can't - make sure that you hold your baby close and talk to her while feeding her.  Remember, "there is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one!" (Jill Churchill)

Video: Breastfeeding Influence on Baby's Brain

A Baby Buffer Prescription for Your Baby

Connect with your baby during feeding: Take advantage of feeding time to bond with your baby. 


Minimize distractions during feeding routines (sit in quiet area, turn off TV, take a break from your devices).


Use feeding positions that allow you to look at your baby. Look at her and talk to her while you are feeding, make eye contact, smile, and use a soft, reassuring voice.


Create comfortable positions for you and baby. Be calm, patient, and relax to help with milk production and/or soothing.








A baby Buffer Prescription for You   


Build a Supportive Team: Breastfeeding requires more support than finding a good bra. Build a team of family, friends, and professionals to support you and baby in breastfeeding. Consider these supports:


Meet with a lactation consultant (someone who helps with breastfeeding and related health). Consultants are often available through the hospital or nearby medical center, your pediatrician's office, or as part of a breast feeding support group.


Get your partner (or other caregiver) involved in feeding. This could mean help positioning baby or checking latch, bringing baby to you at feeding times, keeping you hydrated, or being your biggest cheerleader to keep it up!


Take part in activities or groups that support breastfeeding and bonding with baby. This can be joining a breastfeeding support group, baby and me exercise class, or talking to other people that are or have been successful breastfeeding their baby.

What Your Baby Can Do - Developmental Milestones 


Your baby will love being held and touched by you from the very beginning, this is the beginning of your relationship with your baby. Click on the links below to find out what your baby should be able to do:

Gene's Research Tip!

Is "Spring Cleaning" in the air, or at least a thought?  Well consider safety issues for your little ones, before you start!  The American Academy of Pediatrics has some great information at  and I will paraphrase.  Each year about 2.4 million people, more than half under age 6, swallow or have contact with a poisonous substance.  Most poisonings occur when caregivers are home but not paying attention.  The most dangerous potential poisons are medicines, cleaning products, antifreeze, windshield wiper fluid, pesticides, furniture polish, gasoline, kerosene and lamp oil.  Read More

Baby Buffer Blog
Written by Cathy Mancina Smith, PhD

April is Autism Awareness month. It's a time to recognize and reflect on this disorder that has unfortunately become more common in our society. Autism is a neurodevelopmental disability that is characterized by delays or deficits in social interaction, social communication and the presence of restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests.


I have been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) which is referred to as autism, for over 20 years. When I entered graduate school in the early 1990's, the prevalence of autism was somewhat rare, affecting 1 in every 10,000 individuals. Since that time, the prevalence has been increasing. Last week, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) released new data estimating that 1 in every 68 children in the US has a diagnosis of autism. This estimate is even higher than the one from 2012 that estimated of 1 in every 88 children having autism. 

Read More

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