Along with a new baby often come many new things to learn, and breastfeeding is one subject that new moms almost always have questions about.
Is breastfeeding really best for my baby?
Only you, with the help of your partner and doctor, can decide what’s best for you and your baby. However, breastfeeding does offer many benefits. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, breast milk provides your baby with the best nutrition as well as antibodies that boost the immune system and help fight illness. Research has shown that breastfed babies have a reduced risk of colic, allergies, asthma, and obesity.
Are there any instances when I should not breastfeed?
Yes, there are times when it is not safe to breastfeed. If you are on certain medications, they can be passed to your baby through your breast milk. Talk to your doctor if you’re uncertain if you should breastfeed.
How do I learn to breastfeed?
You and your baby will learn together. Be patient and practice finding a comfortable position for you both. As a general rule, bring your baby to your breast, not your breast to your baby. Make sure your baby’s whole body is turned toward you, not just his or her head. And alternate breasts when feeding. After some trial and error, you will likely find a good way to get your baby to latch on properly and know when to switch breasts. Many women like help in learning to breastfeed, and can get assistance from a hospital or birthing center lactation consultant or breastfeeding support group.
How do I know if my baby is getting enough milk?
One telltale sign of a well-fed newborn is your breasts feeling less full after feeding. Also if your baby is sleepy after feeding, gaining weight, and having approximately six wet diapers and three stool diapers a day, then you’re on the right track.
Do I need to eat a special diet when I’m breastfeeding?
You’ll want to eat a healthy balanced diet that includes approximately 500 more calories than you would consume if not pregnant or nursing. Know that if you drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages, those substances will be passed along to your baby. And take note of what you’ve eaten if your baby becomes unusually fussy or has an adverse reaction. You may want to avoid those foods in the future.
Is breastfeeding simply about nourishing a baby?
While breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition, it’s also a wonderful opportunity for mom and baby to bond emotionally. Studies also show that mothers who breastfeed tend to lose their baby weight faster!
If you’re expecting a little one, the team at Central Florida Regional Hospital can help you prepare. We offer classes to help you and your family get ready for a new baby. Call 1-800-445-3392 or visit us online to learn more.
Breastfeeding (National Institutes of Health)
Breastfeeding Overview (American Pregnancy Association)