After you deliver your baby, the first interaction between a mother and baby is through breastfeeding. In fact, the first milk, known as colostrum is the healthiest food you can give your baby. It protect your baby from many diseases. Making the decision to breastfeed is a personal matter. But I always ask my patients to breastfeed the baby. Breastfeeding should be done exclusively (no formula, juice, or water) for 6 months. And breastfeeding for a year at least with other foods which should be started at 6 months of age, such as vegetables, grains, fruits, proteins.
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for Your Baby?
- Breast milk provides the ideal nutrition for infants as it is perfect mix of vitamins, protein, and fat.
- It can be digested easily and cause less stomach problems.
- Breast milk contains antibodies that help your baby fight off viruses and bacteria. Breastfeeding lowers your baby’s risk of having asthma or allergies.
- It creates a special bond between mother and baby.
- It is said that breastfeeding has been linked to higher IQ scores as Cholesterol is high in human milk, lower in cow’s milk, and very low in formulas. Cholesterol promotes brain growth and provides basic components of hormones, vitamin D, and intestinal bile.
- Breastfed infants are more likely to gain the right amount of weight as they grow rather than become overweight children.
What Are the Benefits of Breastfeeding for You or Mother?
- If you want to lose through pregnancy weight , breastfeed your baby. Breastfeeding burns extra calories.
- It releases the hormone oxytocin, which helps your uterus return to its pre-pregnancy size and may reduce uterine bleeding after birth.
- Breastfeeding also lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.
- It may lower your risk of osteoporosis, too.
How much milk is enough for baby or Are you making enough milk for your baby?
The first few days after birth, your breasts make colostrum which is thick, yellowish, and scant, but there’s plenty to meet your baby’s nutritional needs. Colostrum helps a newborn’s digestive tract develop and prepare itself to digest breast milk.
Most of the time a mother makes enough milk for a baby. And if your baby needs more milk and nurses more, your breasts respond by making more milk. But if you give supplement with formula, your breasts might make less milk.
What are the best position for breastfeeding?
There is no fixed position for breastfeeding. Any position in which you and your baby are both comfortable and relaxed, and you don’t have to strain to hold the position or keep nursing is the best position. Here are some common positions for breastfeeding your baby:
- Cradle position. Rest the side of your baby’s head in the crook of your elbow with his whole body facing you. Position your baby’s belly against your body so he feels fully supported. Your other, “free” arm can wrap around to support your baby’s head and neck — or reach through your baby’s legs to support the lower back.
- Side-lying position. This position is great for night feedings in bed.Use pillows under your head to get comfortable. Then snuggle close to your baby and use your free hand to lift your breast and nipple into your baby’s mouth. Once your baby is correctly “latched on,” support your baby’s head and neck with your free hand so there’s no twisting or straining to keep nursing.
What are the common problems you may suffer from due to breastfeeding?
- Sore nipples. This is the most common issue faced by breastfeeding mother. It occurs in the first weeks of breastfeeding. As you baby try to suck it more, your nipple get more sore. Make sure your baby latches on correctly, and use one finger to break the suction of your baby’s mouth after each feeding. That will help prevent sore nipples. If you still get sore, be sure you nurse with each breast fully enough to empty the milk ducts. If you don’t, your breasts can become engorged, swollen, and painful. Keeping your nipples dry is best and letting them “air dry” between feedings helps, too.
- Breast infection. Sometimes bacteria can enter the breast, often through a cracked nipple after breastfeeding. If you have a sore area on your breast along with flu-like symptoms, fever, and fatigue, you may suffer from breast infection. To relieve breast tenderness, apply moist heat to the sore area four times a day for 15 to 20 minutes each time. Do not feed you baby until your infection is cured.