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Nursing Facts by the Numbers

Lee Clower
The Biggest Payoff Ever 
Fewer doctor's visits and trips to the supermarket aren't the only rewards of nursing. For many moms, the sweetest memories of their baby revolve around the peace and warmth of a sleepy, skin-to-skin feeding. “Fern isn't a ‘cuddly’ baby — she prefers to explore,” says Hartman. “Breastfeeding is extra-special because it's a time when I can snuggle her close.” Likewise, it was only after she started nursing her first child that Green realized the need for the Black Women's Breast Feeding Association. The possibility of healthier moms and babies was only part of it. “I loved breastfeeding my daughter so much I ended up doing it for 15 months,” says Green. “I want to make sure that other mothers don't miss out on something so wonderful.”
Wanna Mix It up
Many moms clearly find their happy place in an approach that combines breast- and formula-feeding: Nearly one-quarter — up from 16 percent in 2000 — are still feeding their babies some breast milk by their first birthdays. If you go the combo route: 
  • Try to breastfeed exclusively for at least the first few weeks, until your milk supply is established and your baby has learned to latch effectively. Otherwise, he may become accustomed to the ease of feeding from an artificial nipple and resist nursing altogether. 
  • If you are away from your baby for most of the day, try to fit in a pumping session. “If you don't empty your breasts at least once during a typical workday, your supply may dwindle very quickly,” says Dr. Johnston. 
  • Take care when combining formula and breast milk, since bacteria multiply more quickly in formula. While a partially consumed bottle of expressed milk can be served to a baby at his next feeding, a mixture with any amount of unfinished formula should be tossed.