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Breastfeeding Your Baby

Apr 23, 2008
Most health experts agree that breastfeeding is the best method of supplying a newborn's nourishment for the mother and new baby alike. The feeding can only be done by the mother and can establish a bond with the baby right from the start. However, some babies have problems suckling, so the next best alternative is breast milk that is hand pumped and put into bottles. The advantage to this method is that that father can participate in the feeding process.

When first deciding as to whether breastfeed or not, a new mother should be aware that babies that are breastfed have lower infection rates, such as ear and stomach infections. These children also have less digestive problems such as diarrhea, fewer allergies, and a lower rate of skin disease. These babies also run a lower risk of being overweight and of developing anemia, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

The mother can also enjoy some advantages by choosing this method. Her post-partum bleeding is less and seems to end sooner. It may be easier for the mother to lose her postpartum weight. Breastfeeding also reduces her risk of developing certain types of cancer, such as breast, uterine, and ovarian.

Once the new mother decides to breastfeed, there are certain precautions that she needs to take. She should maintain a healthy diet to keep herself strong and healthy. She should also get plenty of rest and drink plenty of fluids. The new mother should take good care of her breasts and nipples. She should also realize that any medication that she is taking can affect her baby. If she does need medication, the new mother should check with her doctor to decide if she will be able to breastfeed.

There are certain situations that make breast feeding impossible. A premature baby or a baby that is small in size may not get adequate nourishment for breast milk. A weak or sickly baby may also need a more nutritional supplement. Some mothers should also not consider breastfeeding. Mothers with tuberculosis, hepatitis, HIV, and drug and alcohol abuse problems should not breastfeed, as these medical conditions as well as the alcohol and drugs can be passed to their baby through their breast milk.

Once the new mother has decided to breastfeed, she should be aware that it may not come natural at first. The baby may have problems suckling or her milk may be delayed before coming in. She should not despair. It may take awhile, but the mother and baby will eventually catch onto it and breastfeeding will move smoothly along.

Doctors agree that a baby should be breastfed-only for at least the first two weeks of his life, while most suggest waiting a month before the new mother begins alternating bottles with natural breastfeeding. This will prevent the baby from becoming confused about the different nipples which may cause him to reject the breast. The doctors also recommend keeping the baby on breast milk for the first year of his life.

Breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious way to feed a newborn as well as a means of protecting the baby from certain diseases. More importantly, breastfeeding also helps form a bond between the new mother and her little one.
About the Author
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