Breastfeeding is an unequalled way of providing ideal food for the healthy growth and development of infants; it is also an integral part of the reproductive process with important implications for the health of mothers. As a global public health recommendation, infants should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months of life to achieve optimal growth, development and health.
The ABCs of Breastfeeding
A = Awareness. Watch for your baby's signs of hunger, and breastfeed whenever your baby is hungry. This is called "on demand" feeding. The first few weeks, you may be nursing eight to 12 times every 24 hours. Hungry infants move their hands toward their mouths, make sucking noises or mouth movements, or move toward your breast. Don't wait for your baby to cry. That's a sign he's too hungry.
B = Be patient. Breastfeed as long as your baby wants to nurse each time. Don't hurry your infant through feedings. Infants typically breastfeed for 10 to 20 minutes on each breast.
C = Comfort. This is key. Relax while breastfeeding, and your milk is more likely to "let down" and flow. Get yourself comfortable with pillows as needed to support your arms, head, and neck, and a footrest to support your feet and legs before you begin to breastfeed.
Why Do Some Women Choose Not to Breastfeed?
Some women don't want to breastfeed in public.
Some prefer the flexibility of knowing that a father or any caregiver can bottle-feed the baby any time.
Babies tend to digest formula more slowly than breast milk, so bottle feedings may not be as frequent as breastfeeding sessions.
Breastfeeding is a natural, healthy process. But call your doctor if:
Your breasts become unusually red, swollen, hard, or sore.
You have unusual discharge or bleeding from your nipples.
You're concerned your baby isn't gaining weight or getting enough milk.
Some common breastfeeding myths include:
Myth: Breastfeeding will make my breasts sag. Fact: Breastfeeding doesn't cause your breasts to sag, but pregnancy hormones can stretch the ligaments that support your breasts. Wear a well-fitting bra while you're pregnant.
Myth: People don't like to see women breastfeeding in public. Fact: Most people don't mind. The more it's seen the more normal it will become. The law protects women from being asked to leave a public space while breastfeeding.
Myth: Formula milk is basically the same as breast milk. Fact: Almost all formula milk is made from cow's milk. It can contain bacteria, which is why it's vital to make it up with water hot enough to kill any bacteria (70C). It doesn't protect your baby from infections and diseases like breast milk does.
Myth: Some women don't produce enough breast milk. Fact: Almost all women are physically able to breastfeed. Early, frequent feeding and responding to your baby's cues gives you the best start to establishing your supply.
Culled from Staywellworld blog post dated January 23, 2017.
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