Breastfeeding is a personal choice. Medical experts recommend that mothers should breastfeed their baby exclusively for at least 6 months. Breastfeeding is a new experience for the first time mothers but every mom learns about it s soon as they start feeding. Learning more about the benefits of breastfeeding will encourage mothers to choose ideal nutrition for their baby.
Breast milk is ideal for your baby and no formula milk can match the perfect blend of breast milk’s nutrition. It is a gift of nature and contains protein, vitamins, and fats. Although breast milk can boost a baby’s immune system, mothers still choose to give them formula milk. It is therefore recommended that mothers have known well about the benefits of breastfeeding for their baby and themselves.
What are the Advantages of Breastfeeding?
Breastfeed is easy to digest as compared to the formula milk. Babies, therefore, tend to poop more on breastfeeding. The antibodies contained in breast milk will keep your baby safe from infections and viruses.
Moreover, your baby will have a low risk of developing asthma and allergies. Doctors recommend babies should be exclusively fed on breastfeeding to prevent ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory diseases in the future.
The IQ levels of breastfed babies are higher as compared to the babies on infant formula milk. Other benefits of breastfeeding are the physical contact between mother and baby. The closeness while breastfeeding makes the baby feel secure. The mother and bond get stronger this way and your baby will love the feeling he gets from your skin touch. Moreover, babies are less likely to become obese in breastfeeding. The risk of other health conditions such as diabetes and cancers is also lowered.
How Long Should Babies be Breastfed?
Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. However, breastfeeding should continue for 2 years or at least until your baby wants to take your feed. The benefits of breastfeeding should be enough to encourage you to feed your baby. Consult a doctor if you are struggling with breastfeeding or your breasts do not feel good.
Benefits of Breastfeeding for the Mother
Breastfeeding is not just good for the baby but it has benefits for the mother as well. A new mother can lose weight when breastfeeding her baby as the body burns extra calories. The pregnancy weight is much easier to lose this way. There is no hassle of sterilizing the bottle when you breastfeed your baby. It gives you the time to bond with your baby and relaxes while you breastfeed.
Many mothers worry about having enough supply for breastfeeding their baby as he gets old. It is nature’s way of providing nutrition to your baby but there is no definite period. It is up to your comfort and your baby’s need. You may decide to choose formula milk after exclusively breastfeeding your baby. You may also put your baby on combination milk depending on what you find convenient.
What are the Benefits of First Milk?
The mother’s first milk is called colostrums. This is the first milk which contains all nutrients and antibodies your baby needs for growth initiatives. It is highly recommended that a mother feeds her baby with the first milk in the initial days. Colostrums is the thick and yellowish feed that will continue to come for a couple of days until milk comes. Breastfeed comes in as you feed regularly. Introducing formula milk to your baby before 6 months can discourage him from taking your breastfeed. The breasts will also produce less milk if the baby is fed on formula milk.
How to Breastfeed a Baby?
A baby should be latched onto both the breasts turn by turn. The baby should be fed from each breast for at least 10 to 15 minutes. You should choose a comfortable position for your baby to latch on to your breast. The baby should not have to twist the neck in order to take feed. Babies are born with instructive reflex and touching your nipple against their lip will let them know.
Best Positions for Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding position should be comfortable for the mother and baby both. The mother should be relaxed and use a nursing pillow if she needs it to avoid strain. Following are some positions that are comfortable for feeding a baby.
Cradle Position – This is the most common position for breastfeeding your baby. Hold the baby with his body facing you and head placed on your elbow. You can use another hand to support the baby furthermore.
Football Position – This is a position where you hold the baby along your forearm. The baby’s head and neck is supported on the palm just like you hold a football. Mothers can find it easier if they have had a cesarean birth or if their babies are small.
Side Lying Position – Feeding at night can be hard at times. The side-lying position is good in this case. You may lie sidewise and use pillows under your head. Lift the breast to reach your baby without straining yourself or your baby.
Learn the Basics of Breastfeeding
It is important to be aware of your baby’s needs. Babies tend to make noises when they are hungry or suck their hands or fingers. Babies cry louder and continuously when they are too hungry. Try to fulfill their demand before they cry.
Patience is the key to nursing. It is normal for babies to feed on each breast for 10 to 20 minutes. Do not try to rush through feedings as your infant may want more if not satisfied.
Be in a comfortable position while breastfeeding your baby. Use pillows to support yourself and your baby well. Your feet and legs may also need support. Begin with breastfeeding only after you are in a relaxed position.
Why Women Feel Uncomfortable While Breastfeeding?
Some women are reluctant to feed their baby in public. They may also want their partner to feed with a bottle. They do not find themselves bound to breastfeed their baby every time this way. Also, breastfeedings are more frequent than bottle feed which some women may find more comfortable.
Moreover, women may find their breasts’ shape changed which is not true. The appearance of the breasts is affected with various factors including age, genetics, and lifestyle. There may be warning signs that should not be ignored. Red or swollen breasts may indicate a problem and you should get checked as soon as possible.
Unusual discharge from breasts should also be reported to a doctor. Also, make sure your baby is healthy and gaining weight regularly. This will assure that you have enough feed for the baby.