The Many Benefits of Breast Feeding

The benefits of breast feeding are well known and this is why it's recommended by most doctors and maternity hospitals. Breast milk contains the ideal balance of nutrients to ensure your baby the best start in life. It also contains antibodies that protect baby's delicate immune system against respiratory infections, ear infections and allergies.

There's benefits for mum too! Breast feeding develops a close bond between a mum and her baby. There's no more washing and sterilizing bottles or mixing formula. Formula is quite expensive, so you'll save quite a bit of money over the months.

Health benefits include possible protection against breast cancer in later life, it helps your uterus contract back to normal size faster and it delays the return of your period.

Disadvantages of breast feeding?

It's not for everyone. If your health is poor or you're infected with HIV or have had tuberculosis (TB) it would be safer for you and baby to bottle feed.
If you're having trouble getting baby to take the breast or your milk dries up, again bottle feeding may be the best option. It's fine to keep trying to offer the breast but if your baby's not thriving or isn't gaining weight then switch to the bottle. Bottle feeding is a healthy option with today's advanced formulas so don't beat yourself up if you can't master the art of breast feeding.

Breast feeding does need a fair bit of patience. It also means there are some foods you may not be able to eat as they can upset your baby's digestion, also taking drugs -- even prescription drugs -- may not be possible. Smoking and alcohol are definitely out. And if you don't feel like getting up to feed your baby during the night, well you don't have a choice. Even the best meaning dads don't have the necessary equipment!

If you don't think you could cope with any of the above, bottle feeding will be best for you.

How to begin breastfeeding

There are several ways to hold your baby while nursing, you can put your baby's head in the crook of your arm while supporting his body with your arm and hand. Your baby will be positioned sideways facing the breast -- this is called the cradle position.

For small babies, the football position (yes really!) may be a better option. Tuck your baby under your arm while using your forearm to support his body.

You'll be sitting up in the above two positions. If you'd prefer to lie down, use a pillow to support your head and have baby facing you. It's important that both you and baby feel comfortable during the process so just do what feels right. Just make sure that your baby can reach your breast easily and doesn't have to strain his neck.

Breast feeding with implants

A lot of women worry that they won't be able to breastfeed their baby because they have had breast implants. In fact it shouldn't make any difference. In the days of silicone implants, there was concern that the silicone may leak out of the implant and pose a risk of poisoning. Nowadays saline implants are used which pose no risk at all.

Breast feeding and work

The reality is these days that most new mums will have to return to work so the problem becomes how to go on breastfeeding when you may not see your baby for 10 hours at a time during the day.

It's possible to express breast milk using a breast pump and place this in containers in the fridge so your baby's carer can use it during the day. While this solution isn't ideal, it is a way around the problem and you can continue to feed normally in the morning, evenings and weekends. Breast pumps can be manual or electric and are fairly easy to use. They are also useful for maintaining or increasing your milk supply.

Stopping breast feeding

This is best done gradually as stopping all at once may cause emotional trauma for your baby. Sometimes your baby may wean himself off the breast, however it's more common for a baby to want to continue breast feeding.

What to eat while breast feeding

You don't need to eat for two but ensure you have a balanced diet with plenty of calcium for baby's bones and teeth. Calcium is found in most dairy foods and also in broccoli, kale, sardines, tofu, and sesame seeds.

If you can maintain breast feeding for at least six months, you will be giving your baby a great start in life.

from breast feeding to home

 

© 2007-2008 natural childbirth baby care.com All right reserved. Privacy Statement | Resources | Disclaimer