Article: Making the Decision to Breastfeed
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Breast milk is the most nutritionally complete food you can offer your baby. It has just the right level of quality nutrients that your baby needs. It is safe and easy to digest which means fewer feeding problems for your baby. It's also a special time for you to build a close and comforting bond together.
Breastfeeding is not always easy, so ask for help. You may find a lactation consultant in the hospital and ask for a referral to one when you leave the hospital.
Did You Know?
The size of your breasts doesn't affect your milk supply. As long as your baby is feeding regularly, your body will produce all the milk your baby needs.
Why Breast Milk Is Best For Most Babies
Why Breastfeeding Is Best For Most Mothers
Vitamin Supplements For Breastfed Babies
Your doctor may recommend the following supplements for your baby:
If you are breastfeeding your baby, a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 I.U.fg (10 µg) may be recommended.
Breastfed babies need extra iron at around six months. Your baby should have 7 mg of iron per day, which can be obtained from iron fortified infant cereals, meats, or an iron supplement.
If you are a strict vegetarian and are breastfeeding, your baby may need a vitamin B12 supplement. Your doctor, once aware of your diet, will recommend an appropriate supplement.
Suggestions For Nursing Moms
The more you feed your baby, the more your milk supply will increase and the less likely that your breasts will become engorged.
The first few days of breastfeeding can be an easy or trying period. Some babies have trouble latching onto the nipple and tend to suck on the end causing nipple soreness. It is important that the whole areola (area surrounding nipples) is in your baby's mouth so that the nipple is towards the back of baby's throat. Your baby's mouth should be open quite wide and as your baby feeds you will hear a repeating sound that resembles a hard "K".
How Long Should You Breastfeed?
Any breast milk is better than none! How long you breastfeed depends very much on your individual circumstances and what else is going on for you and your baby. Some mothers struggle to get breastfeeding established and may manage only a short time while others are happy to breastfeed for more than a year. It's really up to you. Remember, however, that breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby.
Healthcare professionals recommend either breastfeeding or formula feeding until one year of age. After that, full fat cow's milk may be given as your baby's main drink, not before.
You should never leave your young baby unattended with a bottle in their mouth – this could lead to choking. Always hold the bottle for your newborn baby while feeding.