Although breastfeeding is actually a natural life progression, most mothers aren’t aware of the benefits that it could have on their babies. And, since a lot of negativity seems to surround the topic, first-time mothers end up getting dissuaded from maintaining this very beneficial practice. Learn more about it here.
The first couple of days after delivery, mothers don’t actually produce any milk in their breasts. Instead, they produce colostrum, which is filled with all of the nutrients that newborn babies need. Colostrum is also easy to digest, helps prevent jaundice, and provides babies with protective antibodies.
What most mothers are worried about during these earlier days is that their babies aren’t getting enough to eat. What they don’t know is that newborn babies have tiny stomachs, so instead of eating a lot at once, they need to eat small portions more frequently instead. Besides, the more frequent a mother feeds her baby, the better her milk production will be in the long run.
Another thing you should know is that babies who breastfeed exclusively don’t need any water yet since breast milk can give them all of the fluids they need. The foremilk that comes out during the beginning of each feeding quenches thirst, and if your baby is still hungry, he will stay on your breasts a little longer in order to benefit from the hindmilk that is more filling. Conversely, babies who drink formula milk need water in order to prevent constipation.
If you want to encourage breastfeeding in your baby, it would be highly recommended not to give him any pacifiers or bottles during his first month of life. Your baby has to learn how to breastfeed, too, after all, and introducing a pacifier will just confuse him since the suckling action for a pacifier isn’t the same as that of breasts.
Introducing bottles early on can cause certain problems, too. Babies are very smart and they will soon realize that it is easier to get milk out of a bottle as opposed to from a breast, so your milk supply might get destroyed faster this way. Although some babies have no trouble interchanging between breasts and bottles, this doesn’t happen all the time. So, when it comes to bottles, proceed with caution – most of all if you want to continue breastfeeding for some time.
In case you didn’t know, breastfeeding is actually encouraged for the first six months of a baby’s life. In fact, your baby won’t need any other kind of nutrition aside from your breast milk during this time. After those six months, you can start introducing solids if you want; but it would still be advisable to keep breastfeeding since babies can benefit from it up to two years of age.
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