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In the midst of Breast Feeding Awareness Monthwe would like to stress the importance of focusing holistically on breastfeeding. Breast milk is best, but when is breast milk not at ITS best?

A mother's milk is a product of herself; if you are breastfeeding, are you doing your best to care for yourself, mentally, physically, and emotionally? Did you know that you can improve the quality of your breast milk, and your breastfeeding, by improving your own health?? By focusing on yournutrition, eating clean and organic, getting appropriate levels of sunshine and vitamin D(and if not, supplementing your baby as recommended by pediatricians; more on this below), lowering yourstress, and getting all the supportand rest you need, you can not only improve the quality of your breast milk, you can also improve the quality of your breastfeeding relationship (and of course your overall health). It's a win-win-win situation.

And, why wait to start until you are breastfeeding? All of the above, if implemented before and during pregnancy, can improve your health and increase the chances of having a baby with life-long health benefits.

With regard to Vitamin D, many pediatricians and the American Academy of Pediatrics are suggesting giving breastfed babies supplemental Vitamin D. Why would a breastfeeding mother want to supplement her baby if breastmilk IS the perfect food? Because what the mother lacks she cannot provide to her baby. The vast majority of womendo not have adequate levels of vitamin D to begin with, and therefore, cannot provide the amount her baby needs for a healthy start in life. If you are unsure about your vitamin D levels, get them checked either by asking your care provider or getting your own home test. Aim to have your levels between 40-60 ng/mL, especially during pregnancy; between 50-60 ng/mL if breastfeeding. Otherwise, supplement your baby. (To read more about why this is so important, and what is being done about the vitamin D deficiency issue during pregnancy, check out the Protect Our Children NOW!program, endorsed by Dr. Christiane Northrup, Dr. Bob Sears, Dr. Joseph Mercola, Natural Baby Pros, and many more.)

When breastfeeding ends up not being the choice for you or a loved one, what is the next best for your babe? With breast milk banks becoming more popular, there are more options, but is there a time whenformula might be a better choice? We ask you this question only so that you can come to your own, educated, decision.