Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the normal and natural way to feed your child.

Most women I know, whether they breastfeed or not, put energy and attention into learning everything they can about the birthing experience. Books are read, numerous prenatal classes are attended with spouse in tow, videos are watched and birthing experts are consulted. This makes good sense and certainly must prove helpful, especially to new parents.

The same advance education is equally beneficial for women that decide on breastfeeding their infant. Just like the birthing experience, being prepared and somewhat familiar with the details of breastfeeding will increase your chances of having a positive experience.

Breastfeeding is an exceptional bonding experience for you and your child; your breast milk is the very best food that you can provide for your new baby. And, not only does your risk of breast cancer decrease with increased duration of breastfeeding, but women who were breastfed as babies show a lower risk of developing breast cancer as adults.

Take the time to read one of the many excellent books about breastfeeding that are available in our Breastfeeding Bookstore. Get the supplies required in advance of the birth to help reduce your postpartum stress and make it easier for you to focus on your newborn. Line up a support system so that you have somewhere to turn if you experience difficulties.

And know that women throughout the ages have successfully breastfed their children. Information and help is close at hand!

Breastfeeding Benefits

  1. Breastfeeding is the normal' healthy way to feed your baby.
  2. Your breast milk is tailor made for your baby. It is the perfect food.
  3. The first milk your breasts will produce is colostrums, which provides your child with added protection against ear, respiratory and gastrointestinal tract infections, plus reduces your child's risk of getting asthma and allergies.
  4. Children who are breastfed have less risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, diabetes, celiac disease, cancer and inflammatory bowl disease.
  5. Breast milk is always convenient, safe, fresh and exactly the right temperature.
  6. Your breast milk will automatically come in over the first few days after your baby is born.
  7. Breastfeeding will help to establish a close and intimate relationship with your baby.
  8. Women who breastfeed reduce their own risk of breast cancer and ovarian cancer.
  9. Your breast milk may be the only food your baby needs for the first four to six months.
  10. Breastfeeding costs less than formula.
  11. Breastfeeding can help you lose weight because it uses up extra fat that is stored in your body during pregnancy.
  12. The experience of breastfeeding can be an enriching practice leading to fond memories.
  13. Breastfeeding is possible as a working mother, too. There are many great breast pumps available on the market today. Expressing milk and leaving it with your child's care giver is a safe and effective way of breastfeeding your child after you return to the workplace.

How to Breastfeed

Try breastfeeding as soon as possible following the birth of your baby. Ask your midwife, doula or attending nurse for their support.

When you are able to, sit up or prop yourself up to feed your baby. Bring your baby to your breast rather than your breast to your baby. Hold the baby close to your body. Hold your fingers underneath your breast, away from the areola (nipple), with your thumb on top.

Stimulate your baby's lips gently with your nipple until her mouth opens as big as a yawn. When her mouth is open wide, pull your baby towards you quickly but gently. When the baby feels your nipple with her tongue, her lips will close over the nipple and seal it. Both lips should be rolled outwards. This is referred to as a good latch'. You should see the sucking motion along your infants jaw line.

To release the baby, gently place your finger in the corner of her mouth until you break the suction.

Deciding on the perfect breastfeeding position will come from trying different approaches. With time, you will discover the one that is most comfortable for you and your baby.

Breastfed babies prefer a span of two or three hours from the beginning of one feeding to the beginning of the next.

Mother's milk is digested more easily than formula. You don't need to give any kind of supplement not even water.

The usual pattern is to nurse the baby on one side then, after time out for a burp or diaper change, switch to the other side. At the next feeding, reverse the order offering her the last used side first.

A breastfed baby needs frequent feedings. Allowing your infant to nurse when she needs to will help establish your milk supply. Your baby has had enough when she has six or more wet diapers per day, has frequent bowel movements, and is gaining weight and growing longer.

There are excellent books on the market that are wonderful breastfeeding resources. Please visit our Breastfeeding Bookstore for a comprehensive selection.

Breastfeeding Frequently Asked Questions

Does breastfeeding hurt?

You should not feel any pain when you breastfeed. If you do, it is possible that your baby has not latched to your breast properly. Remove your baby's mouth from your breast and try again.

Why would I breastfeed?

There are several reasons. Your baby is getting the perfect food. It has been shown that babies that breastfeed have higher IQ's, less allergies and a reduction in other gastrointestinal infections. You will enjoy a wonderful bonding experience with your child. And you will reduce your risk of both breast and cervical cancer.

How much time does breastfeeding take?

In the beginning, a feeding will take about 15 minutes per breast. Later, when both of you have the hang of it, you will be able to do a complete feeding in about 20 minutes.

How do I know my baby's getting enough milk?

Babies provide excellent evidence of adequate feeding by how much comes out the other end. In a 24-hour period, your infant should have 3-4 bowel movements and 6-8 wet diapers.

Can I breastfeed in public without everyone knowing?

With modest advance planning you should have no trouble with this. Ideally, wear a two-piece outfit so you have easy access to your breasts. Then, drape a light blanket over your shoulder and the baby. Unless you have a particularly noisy eater, none will be the wiser.

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Breastfeeding