16 Fascinating Facts About Babies and Breastfeeding
Every 4 years, the Breastfeeding Committee for Canada hosts a National Baby Friendly Initiative (BFI) conference. In 2015, they gathered in Edmonton, Alberta. Jana was present and learned these fascinating facts.
16 things Jana learned at the 2015 BFI conference
1. Research has shown that a newborn’s first bath should be delayed until at least 24 hours after birth. Babies are born with a special protection on their skin called vernix (a white, waxy cream cheese-like substance). This vernix has immune properties; leaving it on a new baby’s skin helps to provide valuable protection.
2. Baby should be placed skin to skin with mom immediately after birth and left uninterrupted for at least 1-2 hours. If skin-to-skin care is done properly, it is the SAFEST way to transition babies to the external world. (Note: we know there must be benefits with babies doing skin to skin with dads as well. The research just has done been done to confirm it yet!)
3. A newborn’s temperature is ALWAYS within normal limits when skin to skin with their mother. Mother’s axillary temperature (under her arm) fluctuates based on the temperature of baby’s feet. If baby is too hot, Mom’s body cools the baby. How amazing is that?
4. When babies are snuggled skin to skin during painful procedures, they show less of a reaction to pain. (Important information for that first Vitamin K injection for baby!)
5. A study presented babies with pieces of gauze soaked with either his own mother’s milk or the milk of other women’s. Babies were able to recognize the odor of their own mother’s milk and move toward it.
6. We should expect newborns to feed a minimum of 8 times in 24 hours. There should not be an upper limit. For some babies, 8 feeds a day is adequate while other babies may need quite a few more.
7. Babies born via C-section have a 3-4 times greater risk of receiving supplementation (milk in addition to breastfeeding).
8. The most common reason that babies receive milk in addition to breastfeeding (excluding medical indications) is women’s lack of confidence and their fear of not having enough milk. If, in the first 24 hours, all women were taught skin to skin care and the skill of hand expression, there would be far less extra milk given.
9. Currently, 26% of babies in Canada are exclusively breastfed at 6 months of age (Note: “exclusive” means no food or drink other than breast milk). The BFI target for 2025 is for 50% to be exclusively breastfed.
11. Health care professionals should be using technology and social media to connect with the current generation of pregnant women. (Our app NuuNest was created for just that reason!)
12. Prenatally, women tend to use their left-brain. This is a great time to learn facts and information about breastfeeding. In the first 6 weeks after birth, women predominantly use their right brain (more emotionally based). Health care professionals need to keep this difference in mind when providing information to new mothers.
13.Only 5% Canadian hospitals that deliver babies have the BFI designation. Find out here why this is important.
14. There are 129 facilities in Canada that have the Baby Friendly Initiative designation.
15. The rate of exclusive breastfeeding for babies born in one Quebec hospital went from 14% exclusive breastfeeding at 6 months to 64% after the hospital achieved the BFI designation.
16. If you would like to advocate for your hospital to work toward the Baby Friendly designation, you can find a sample advocacy letter here.
Other posts you may enjoy: Breastfeeding Trivia and Getting the Best Possible Start with Breastfeeding.
Cindy and Jana are Registered Nurses and International Board Certified Lactation Consultants who have assisted over 20,000 families.