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Breast Feeding Basics For Your Newborn Baby

Oct 9, 2007
It is a myth that bottle-feeds and breast-feeding is equally good. Mother's milk is the best for proper growth of the child. There are certain nutrients in the mother's milk that helps the baby fight illnesses while also promoting brain development. As compared to breast fed babies, the formula-fed babies are more prone to illnesses.

Ideally you should start breast feeding the child within 2 hours of its birth, but do not worry if for some reason you are not able to do so - many mothers feed their children after a few days because of some medical reasons and they turn out to be just fine.

Apart from milk avoid giving the child any water or pacifier because the child is still learning to breast-feed and things like the bottle nipple and pacifiers can confuse the baby while nursing because milk doesn't flow as fast as it does through bottles.

Do give the child enough time to breast-feed. Don't limit the time. It could frustrate the baby. An average of about 10 to 45 minutes can be taken by the baby to completely satisfy itself.

So how should you hold your baby during breast feeding? The answer to this is that see to it that the gums of the baby are on top of the areola because there is a chance of nipples becoming sore if the baby just chews on the nipple instead of taking in the areola.

You can hold the baby in a cuddling position and feed it or you can lie on your side placing your baby facing you. Usually when the baby has had enough milk it will let go of the nipple on its own, but the baby takes usually half an hour on each side.

We'll now move on to another critical issue which every breast-feeding mother needs to know about -- what to eat during the process of breast feeding. It is very important for a breastfeeding mother to have a healthy and balanced diet. A variety of foods are required during this period including:

1) Get lots of vegetables and fruits -- try and have an intake of 5 portions a day of fruit and veg.

2) For additional energy try and take in starch rich foods such as bread, pasta, potatoes, pulses and rice -- this will provide a good source of energy.

3) Foods such as wholemeal bread, vegetables, pulses, cereals and pastas will provide fibre -- women occasionally experience bowel problems after childbirth and an intake of fibre on a daily basis will help with this.

4) Proteins such as lean meat, fish, eggs and poultry.

5) Try and get two portions of fish per week (including some oily fish). Do not exceed 2 portions of oily fish per week.

6) Dairies such as cheese, milk and yoghurt are an excellent source of calcium and should be included in a breast feeding mother's diet.

7) Some doctors advise taking vitamin supplements such as Vitamin D (10 mcg per day). Your doctor will be able to advise which supplements will be right for you.

In addition to the foods that you should eat above there are certain food types that you should steer clear of at this time. As above you should restrict your intake of oily fish to two portions per week but you should also avoid eating more than one portion of swordfish, marlin or shark per week as these fish contain high levels of mercury. You should also be careful with your intake of caffeine and alcohol.

It is true that some breast feeding babies react to the foods that their mother has consumed. Some doctors believe that it is wise to lay off peanuts during this stage as well -- approximately 2% of the population is allergic to peanuts -- however your baby may have a higher chance of being allergic if the mother/father/brothers/sisters have problems such as asthma, eczema or hayfever.

If you believe your baby may be at risk due to these factors it is worth consulting your doctor.
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