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The Essentials to Breastfeeding

Jun 20, 2008
Many people think that breastfeeding is the best choice for babies. Those in favor of breastfeeding believe that the mother's milk contains the perfect amount of nutrients for a baby's growth. Breast milk is not only comprised of the right mix of fat, water, protein and sugar, but contains antibodies that protect the baby from virus, disease and infection.

As long as mother and baby have no health problems, breastfeeding can begin right after birth. Most experts recommend that mothers at least breastfeed their babies for the first six months of their life, though a majority of mothers choose to continue for a year.

A helpful way to know if your baby is eating enough is by keeping track of how often and how many changes they need. A good rule of thumb is that at the onset of breastfeeding, your baby is receiving a high percentage of nutrients in a low volume. This will result in a maximum of two changes per day. As milk supply increases, your baby will need up to six daily changes. After time, the amount of changes will level off to around three or four.

While breastfeeding is praised by a majority of the medical community, some mothers are uncomfortable with the process. A simply solution that reaps the best of both worlds, is to use a breast pump. Depending on the specifics of the pump, which can be done manually or electronically, expect to pay between $50 and $200.

When deciding on a breast pump, the mother should carefully consider all aspects of her life. Will she be away from baby on a short errand? If so, a manual pump is a good choice. Will the mother be returning to work after the baby is born? If this is the case, than an electric one is suggested.

Breast pumps can be purchased at any baby store or in the baby section of a larger department store. Many hospitals will also have them for new mothers. Another option is renting one, if you decide you don't need to buy one. A mother who uses a pump as opposed to directly breastfeeding, is still giving their baby all of the nutrients essential to proper development. Using a pump is also helpful when your baby begins to eat solid food.

Another important thing to remember while breastfeeding your baby is not to give him/her any other liquids because they could adversely interfere with the milk. During the initial months of breastfeeding, it is imperative that you have an open dialog wit h your baby's pediatrician to ensure that he/she is growing properly and getting all the necessary nutrients.

Breastfeeding not only benefits the baby, but the mother as well. Many women who breastfeed loose more of their baby weight than mothers who choose to bottle feed. Breastfeeding also gives a woman's uterus ample time to return to its pre-pregnancy size. There are also studies that indicate that women who breastfeed have reduced risks of developing ovarian and/or breast cancer.
About the Author
Robyn Rae is a writer for all-maternity-clothes.com where you'll find education on all maternity clothes including elastic stretch pants, maternity swimwear, maternity bras, and a informative resource on breast pumps. Visit http://www.all-maternity-clothes.com for more clothing & shopping tips.
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