Breastfeeding is Best for You and Your Baby
Breast milk is the best food for your baby. It is always clean and ready. Breast-fed babies usually get sick less often and have fewer allergies. Your first milk, called colostrum, protects your baby from infections. Breastfeeding may help you lose that extra weight gained during pregnancy. The special bonding between mother and child cannot be experienced in any other way.
Breastfeeding is not hard, you can learn to do it. It is important to get help if you have concerns about anything during breastfeeding. There are many groups such as La Leche League that can help answer your questions and give some suggestions to make it more enjoyable for you and your baby.
Your body will make as much milk as your baby needs. The more you breastfeed your baby, the more milk your breasts will make. To help you produce healthy breast milk for your baby, drink 8 large glasses of liquid each day, including milk, water, and juices. Get plenty of calcium in milk and milk products, such as cheese and yogurt. Use milk in cooking if you donít like to drink it. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs. They will go directly into your breast milk and could harm your baby.
You can breastfeed and return to work or school. After a month of breastfeeding, you can add 1 to 2 bottles each day of breast milk or formula while you are away. You can collect and store your own breast milk or you can prepare a small amount of formula to fill in.
Newborn babies need to eat often, about every 2 to 3 hours. Feed your baby when he or she is hungry. Let your baby set the schedule. Usually, babies have one 4 to 5 hour period of sleep. Donít try to give them cereal to encourage longer periods of sleep before they are ready at about 4 months.
Dads can be involved with the baby even if you breastfeed. Babies need and enjoy cuddling, bath and playtimes with fathers and other members of the family.
Breastfeed as long as you feel happy with it. Even 6 weeks can be of benefit to your baby.