Benefits for Baby
Benefits for Mother
- Breast milk is the best food you can give your baby.
- Breast milk has all your baby needs for the first four to six months of life.
- Breast milk is clean, warm and ready to serve.
- Breast milk is easy for the baby to digest. Babies are less likely to have diarrhea.
- Breast milk helps prevent allergies and infections.
- Breastfed babies are less likely to be put in the hospital with illness.
- Breastfed babies have fewer skin rashes. They stay soft, smooth and nice smelling.
- Breastfed babies have stronger bones and teeth.
- Breastfeeding helps the uterus return to its normal size.
- Breastfeeding helps the mother quickly return to her normal weight.
- Breastfeeding helps protect mother from breast and uterine cancer, and osteoporosis (brittle bones in later life.)
- Breastfeeding will save you time and money. You have no bottles or formula to buy or prepare.
- Breastfeeding is easy, no bottles to heat in the middle of the night.
- Breastfeeding will give you time to relax and enjoy a special closeness with your baby.
WHY SHOULD I BREASTFEED?
Breastfeeding is good for babies, mothers, and fathers!
Breastfed babies are healthier!
Breastfed babies have:
- fewer ear, nose, throat, and chest infections
- less gas, constipation, and diarrhea
- less risk of allergy, asthma, diabetes, and cancer
- less risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- less risk of obesity in childhood
- get to know you right away
- feel safe in your arms
Babies who breastfeed:
- have better brain development
- do better on IQ tests
Mothers who breastfeed have:
- less bleeding after childbirth and lose weight sooner
- less risk of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer
- strong bones
Parents who breastfeed:
- save more than $1,000 (US) the first year alone
- miss fewer days of work and lose less income
- contains more than 200 nutrients
- is always ready
- is clean and safe
- is never too hot or too cold
- makes vaccines work better
Colostrum is the first milk you breasts will make. It can be thick and yellow or clear and runny. Colostrum is made during the last months of pregnancy and the first days after birth. Most mothers produce 1-3 ounces (30-90 ml) of colostrum each day.
During the frst weeks after birth, your milk will gradually change from colostrum to mature milk.
Mature milk has two parts, foremilk and hindmilk.
- Foremilk is thin and runny.
- Hindmilk is thick and creamy.
Hindmilk has the fat at you baby needs to grow.
How do I begin?
- Breastfeed as soon as possible after birth. Early, frequent feedings will help you and your baby get off to the best possible start.
- Choose a comfortable position. Place your baby at the level of your breast using pillows for support. Turn your baby on her side or tuck her under your arm so that her head, shoulders, knees, and chest face your breast.
- Express (squeeze out) a few drops of colostrum. Place your thumb and fingers opposite one another on the darker part of your breast near the base of the nipple. Press in against your chest. Then compress (gently squeeze) the breast, not the nipple, between you thumb and fingers. Drops of liquid gold will appear!
- Support and shape your breast. If you need to support your breast with your hand, make sure you place your thumb and fingers outside the darker part of the breast. Gently compress or shape the breast so that your baby can latch on well.
- Tickle your baby's nose with your nipple! When her mouth opens wide, like a yawn, place her gently on your breast, starting with her chin and lower lip. Make sure she has a good, deep latch and a mouth full of breast!
- Hold your baby close and snug. If you hold your baby close, she will be able to latch on well and compress your breast between the roof of her mouth above her tongue below.
- Check you baby's nose, cheeks, chin and lips. Your baby's chin should press firmly into your breast. Her nose and cheeks may lightly touch the breast. Her mouth should be opened wide like a yawn, and her lips should curl out like the lips of a fish!
- Watch your baby, not the clock! Breastfeed as long as your baby wishes on the first breast before you offer the second breast (about 10-20 minutes). When your baby stops suckling and swallowing or falls asleep, wake her, burp her, and offer the second breast.
- Break the suction before you take your baby off the breast. Break the suction by gently sliding you finger between your baby's gums and into her mouth.
- Offer both breasts at every feeding. Offer both breasts at every feeding but don't worry if your baby seems content with one breast.
- Begin each feeding on the breast offered last.
- Feed your baby often. Because your baby's stomach is about the same size as her fist, small, frequent feedings are best.
- Learn to breastfeed first! Wait until you and your baby have learned to breastfeed before you offer a bottle or pacifier. Bottle nipples and pacifiers may confuse your baby.
- Avoid water or formula supplements. Your breast milk is all your baby needs. Water or formula supplements may limit your milk supply.
- Relax and enjoy this time with your baby!
How often should I breastfeed?
Breastfeed 8-12 times in each 24-hour period. Frequent breastfeeding gives you and your baby a chance to practice this important skill. The amount of time between feedings will vary. Every baby is different! Some babies breastfeed every 2-3 hours day and night, others breastfeed every hour for three to five feedings then sleep for 3-4 hours in between.
Sometimes a sleepy baby will not ask to eat often enough, and you will need to wake her to breastfeed. During the first 4-6 weeks, if your baby does not wake to eat 8-12 times each day, watch for early signs of hunger or light sleep. These signs include wiggling, finger sucking, lip-smacking, coughing, or yawning. Offer the breast at these times.