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The After-Birth Trick for Better Breastfeeding

The After-Birth Trick for Better Breastfeeding

Find out how to boost your odds of successfully breastfeeding your newborn.

When Mila Kunis, wife of Ashton Kutcher and star of Bad Moms, breastfed her now four-year-old Wyatt Isabelle in public, she had a straightforward answer to the question, “Why?” “Because I had to feed my child. She was hungry.”

That clear-thinking attitude toward caring for an infant is now more mainstream and the CDC reports breastfeeding rates are rising. Over 80 percent of mothers begin breastfeeding their babies at birth, and 51.8 percent are still breastfeeding at six months of age.

Now, new research from Dr. Mike’s Cleveland Clinic reveals a surprising way to increase breastfeeding rates even more. Don’t rush baby off for a bath right after birth; it reduces skin-to-skin contact, interferes with bonding, chills the little one (not nice!) and interferes with easy latching on.

The researchers looked at the breastfeeding differences between quick bathing and simply wiping off the baby’s skin before leaving the child on mom’s torso; bathing happened 12+ hours later. They found exclusive breastfeeding rates went up from 59.8 percent for moms with immediately bathed babies to 69.2 percent for no-immediate-bath-for-baby moms.

And beyond breastfeeding’s well-documented boost to baby’s immune strength, it turns out that as breastfeeding rates go up, lifetime medical costs associated with maternal and childhood illnesses are decreasing by $13 to $17 billion! So if you’re headed for delivery, let your doc know you’re interested in postponing your newborn’s bath (the clinic says moms are demanding it). You and your baby will benefit in many ways.

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