Breast milk is tailor-made to suit the requirements of your baby, it’s readily available, easily digested and quickly utilized. In other words, it is nature’s perfect food for your baby that also protects against infections and develops bonding between mother and child.
It is the reason why the WHO recommends breast milk as the primary source of nutrition for babies’ first year of life. Breastfeed your baby for the first year to give them the required nutrition and immunity.
Here are some important things to know about breastfeeding:
1. Doctors agree that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby
That is because it’s easy to digest, helps protect against food allergies and gives the baby protective antibodies to boost her immune system.
2. After birth, begin breastfeeding as soon as possible
Make your healthcare provider aware of your plan to breastfeed your baby. When you’re in the hospital after delivery, inform the nursery that you will be breastfeeding.
3. Try not to use supplements
Ensure that your baby’s top and primary source of nutrition is breast milk. If your baby is in the nursery at the hospital, breastfeed your baby first and do not let them have water or glucose first. You should only start using pacifiers after your milk supply is well-established. The milk supply increases to match the level of your baby’s sucking, so make sure all the sucking is done at your breast and not at the pacifier at first.
4. Nurse your newborn frequently
Keep your baby close with you as much as possible following birth. Babies usually show signs of hunger approximately 8 to 12 times per day. You should not wait until they cry because crying is a late indicator of hunger and by the time you hear them, they have been hungry for a while. If your baby is sleeping, rouse him/her every 4 hours for breastfeeding.
5. Check in with a doctor if you and your baby are released before 48 hrs of delivery
Consult with another healthcare provider who’s knowledgeable about breastfeeding for 2 to 4 days old babies. If you have been in the hospital at least 48 hours, it’s a good idea for you or your doctor to discuss nursing your baby and to answer queries you may have about breastfeeding. Babies should be seen by a doctor or healthcare provider within the first month after delivery, usually at around 2 weeks to check your baby’s progress and general health.
6. Water, juices and other foods are not necessary for your baby’s first six months
Ideally, your baby gets all the nutrition required from your breast milk. Keep breast milk as your baby’s primary source of nutrition, even as you introduce solid foods into his/her daily diet.
Breastfeeding is the best way to feed your baby in the first year, and it also helps in creating a bond between you and your child. It is the beginning of a lifelong relationship. So, learn the best ways to make the most of it.