Dr. Jason Dinko, Resident of the month - Aug

Dr. Jason Dinko is from Northeastern Pennsylvania. He graduated from Marywood University in Scranton, PA with a bachelor's degree in biotechnology, and then attended medical school at The Commonwealth Medical College also in Scranton, PA. He enjoys sports, both watching and playing and particularly enjoys playing golf as well as spending time with fellow residents, his family, and his dog Layla. He plans to practice outpatient and possibly inpatient medicine somewhere in PA, likely closer to where he grew up.

 

Breast Feeding

 

From a census back in 2010, there were almost 4,000,000 births in the United States alone, meaning there was a lot of nutrition that each and every one of these newborns needed. On average the recommendation is about 2.5 oz of formula per pound per day. Given that the average birth is approximately 7.5 lbs, on day of life one, if all the newborns were fed formula, each of the 4,000,000 would need somewhere between 18-19oz of formula or approximately 75,000,000oz of formula. With these numbers getting larger and larger, I will just leave to the imagination the cost of such an amount of formula and we are just talking day of life 1 for the newborns across the country.

 

The above brings us to our topic of the month of breastfeeding. Cost aside, there are many reasons for the recommendation of breastfeeding over bottle feeding and there are benefits for both the baby, the mother, and the relationship between the two of them. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that all infants are breastfed exclusively until the age of 6 months and at that time, solid foods should slowly be introduced into the diet while continuing to breast feed until at least one year of age and then continuing if the mother so desires.

 

There are many different steps and levels of support one needs to successfully breastfeed and, without trying to sound like I am discouraging breastfeeding, it truly is a lot of work. Up to 75% of mom's initially state they would like to breast feed, but only about 13% actually complete the goal of breast feeding exclusively through the first 6 months of their infant’s life. That being said, it is easy to understand why moms attempting to breastfeed need all the support they can get from as many different supporters as possible. These would include, but would not be limited to, spouse or significant other, family, friends, their doctor, lactation consultants, etc. The list could go on and on. All of that being said, it is encouraged that even if moms cannot complete the full 6 months, they should at least breastfeed as long as they are able so both the baby and mom can receive as much of the benefits of the limited breastfeeding as possible.

 

Benefits:

            For Baby: There are numerous, including improved immunity from mom and improved digestion, as well as a decreased risk of life threatening necrotizing enterocolitis (dead bowel), protection from multiple bacteria that can cause infection, and a decreased risk of common childhood illnesses, including the stomach virus, ear infections, and upper respiratory tract infections. Long term benefits include decrease risk in both acute and chronic disease over a lifetime, decrease risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease, childhood cancers, and allergies to various allergens down the road. There is also an increase in IQ, overall cognitive development, and a decrease in stress.

            For Mom: Short term benefits include: quicker recovery from pregnancy secondary to hormones release during breastfeeding, decrease stress levels, and improved weight loss after pregnancy. Long term benefits include a decreased risk of breast and cervical cancer, as well as cardiovascular disease.

            For Both: If the above isn't enough, there is also a shown improvement in the overall relationship between mother and child with the bonding that can occur through breastfeeding and skin to skin contact.

 

In summary, breastfeeding provides multiple benefits on many different levels and as a physician, I am obviously worrying about the health benefits, but the benefits in the pocketbook cannot be overstated as the average savings while breastfeeding is $1000 per year for just the cost of formula, and add onto that the health benefits and less frequent doctors visit for acute illnesses, the dollar amount grows.

 

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/breastfeeding.html

uptodate.com → search breastfeeding → patient information section

http://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/breastfeeding/conditioninfo/Pages/default.aspx

 

The above pages are good places to start with attempting to obtain information on breastfeeding. If one desires to breastfeed, I would recommend doing some research prior to delivery so you have a game plan in place. For further questions, contact your family physician or pediatrician to direct you towards resources that are available for support and help in this challenging but reward

 

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