Benefits of Breastfeeding. A Gift That Lasts a Lifetime!

Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to care for your baby. Breast milk is the perfect food for babies. It has all the right nutrients, in just the right amounts. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that feeding your baby only breast milk exclusively for the first 6 months is the best way to keep your baby healthy. WHO further suggests the continuation of breastfeeding along with other foods for the second 6 months or longer.

The experience of breastfeeding is special for so many reasons, including:

  • The joyful bonding with your baby
  • The perfect nutrition only you can provide
  • The cost savings
  • The health benefits for both mother and baby

In fact, breast milk has disease-fighting antibodies that can help protect infants from several types of illnesses. And mothers who breastfeed have a lower risk of some health problems, including breast cancer and type 2 diabetes.

Visit the following links for more information:

Breastfeeding Benefits Timeline

Women's Health dot gov linkBreastmilk Counts link

Suggested Reading. Plan Ahead!

It’s good to find out as much as you can about breastfeeding before the birth. Knowing what to expect should help you feel as confident as possible when you’ve just given birth and want to breastfeed your baby. Here are a few resources that you may find helpful.

Visit the following links for more information:

The Early Days of Breastfeeding: Got Breastmilk?!

Having skin-to-skin contact with your baby after the birth will help to keep your body warm, calm your baby, and help with the first breastfeed. You will have a special type of breastmilk called “colostrum” which is very rich. Colostrum is all the food your new baby needs. If you are breastfeeding your baby often during the first 2 days, about 3 to 4 days after your baby’s birth your regular breast milk will “come in.” Your breasts will feel fuller at this time. One of the best ways to tell that you have enough milk is how often your baby has a bowel movement. After your milk comes in, your baby should have more than 4 bowel movements every day. Weight gain is another good way to tell that your baby is getting enough milk. It is normal for babies to lose weight in the first few days after birth. But your baby should gain weight after your milk comes in. Human breastmilk is not like cow’s milk. Your breast milk has a better mix of fat and proteins, which is perfect for human babies!

The more you breastfeed, the more milk you will have. At first, you will probably need to breastfeed your baby 10 or 12 times every 24 hours. This will give your body the message to make lots of milk.

Watch your baby to learn the signals that say, “Feed me.” When you see your baby do these things, offer your baby your breast:

• Soft cooing, sighing sounds, or stretching.

• Hands to mouth, sucking movements.

• Clenching fists.

• Crying is a late sign of hunger, don’t wait until then!

Do not wait until the baby cries to start a feeding. A great time to offer your baby the breast is just as the baby is waking up.

If you are having pain or any other problems with breastfeeding, get help right away!

For more information on what to expect in the early days of breastfeeding visit:

Breastfeeding Positions

How to Latch

Baby Feeding Cues

First Feedings

Your Nipples

All About Breastmilk

Your Milk Supply

Is Baby Getting Enough?

More Helpful Tips for Success

Local Resources

Helpful Links

 

Breastfeeding Basics and Beyond: Home Sweet Home

Going home can be an exciting time as you settle into a new routine. You may also feel nervous about breastfeeding at home without the help you had in the hospital. Click here for links to resources that may help as you become more comfortable in your new environment.

This video from Global Health Media shows why good attachment is so important to breastfeeding success.

Thinking of going back to work and still want to breastfeed?! YES you CAN!!!

Congratulations for making the healthy choice to breastfeed your baby! Mothers everywhere have found that they can continue to give their babies important health benefits even after they return to work. The resources below may be helpful as you take those first steps back to your working life.

Visit the following links for more information:

 

• Your local birthing facility or private lactation consultant may offer classes to prepare you for back to work and breastfeeding. Visit Local Resources.

Mother Friendly Worksite Information

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