Breastfeeding: Tips, Benefits & Other Important Aspects That You Need To Know!

Medically reviewed by Maria Sarino, MD FACT CHECKED

Also termed as nursing, breastfeeding is the process of feeding breast milk to your baby. Generally, you may feed breast milk to your baby directly from the breasts. However, the option of breastfeeding is completely a personal choice.

According to the researches conducted by different medical experts like the American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP), the mothers are recommended to breastfeed for six months exclusively.

As a result, you might want to start planning for the sequences of events in terms of breastfeeding and beyond.

This means they may not feed their baby any other formula, water, or juice except for breast milk. These medical experts may recommend you to continue breastfeeding even after you introduce other foods till the first year of your baby.

Here is a CDC article on breastfeeding.

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If you are thinking not breastfeeding your baby, then you could have a look at the different benefits of breastfeeding. According to the World Health Organisation, you may breastfeed your baby until he or she is two years old. Let us have a look at the different benefits of breastfeeding.

  1. An Ideal Source Of Nutrition For Babies

    According to different studies and researches conducted by healthcare professionals and experts, breast milk may prove to be an ideal source of nutrition for newborns. Due to this, the doctors and medical experts may recommend you to breastfeed for at least six months or even longer.

    Breast milk consists of the right proportions of different nutrients. The composition of breast milk might even change according to the dynamic requirements of the baby’s body.

    This could be verified from the fact that during the initial days after birth, you may produce a yellowish thick fluid as the breast milk that is called colostrum. Colostrum may be considered as the ideal first milk because it has a high amount of proteins and a low amount of sugar along with some beneficial compounds.

    The best aspect of this first milk is that it could be easily digested by the immature digestive tract of the newborn. But just after a few days, your breasts may produce a large amount of milk according to the requirement of the growing stomach of the baby.

  1. Truncate The Risk Of Diseases

    Generally, exclusive breastfeeding or feeding breast milk to the infant without giving him or her any other food may prove to be quite beneficial. It could even reduce your baby’s risk and susceptibility to various diseases and illnesses. Some of these diseases and illnesses are.

    Infections and cold. The babies who are breastfed for approx. six months may have a lower risk of infections like throat or ear infections and serious colds.

    Allergic diseases. Your baby may have a reduced risk of different allergic diseases if you breastfeed him or her. These diseases could include eczema, asthma or atopic dermatitis.

    Childhood leukemia. If you breastfeed your baby, then he or she might have a lesser chance of getting childhood leukemia.

    Diabetes. Breastfeeding may help you to reduce the risk of a child developing non-insulin-dependent diabetes or even type one diabetes.

    Sudden infant death syndrome. (SIDS) Breastfeeding may be linked to low chances of sudden infant death syndrome.

    More on it here.

    Gut infections You may lower the chances of different gut infections in your baby if you breastfeed him or her.

    Middle ear infections. Generally, exclusive breastfeeding or even breastfeeding may protect the throat and middle ear of your baby from different infections even beyond infancy.

    Intestinal tissue damage. You could reduce the chances of your baby getting necrotizing enterocolitis by feeding him or her breast milk.

    Respiratory tract infection. You could reduce the susceptibility of your baby towards various respiratory and gastrointestinal acute illnesses through breastfeeding.

    Bowel diseases. The babies who may be breastfed are less likely to get bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

    Mothers are also at advantage and may have lower chances of issues like hypertension, cardiovascular disease and other health issues.

  1. Presence Of Important Antibodies

    Breast milk consists of different antibodies that could help your baby to fight bacteria and viruses. Hence it may be crucial for your baby in the early months.

    Generally, the presence of antibodies may be linked with the first milk called colostrum. Colostrum has a higher quantity of different antibodies like immunoglobulin A (IgA).

    Immunoglobulin helps the baby and prevents him or her from getting sick. This is because this antibody may create a protective layer in the throat, digestive system and nose of the baby. At the same time, different researchers show how any formula could not provide such type of protection to the babies.  

    Due to this, babies who are not breastfed may develop more diseases and infections like Diarrhoea and pneumonia.

    More on breastfeeding and human milk’s importance here.

  1. Enhance The Healthy Weight Of The Baby

    Breastfeeding could even help to enhance the healthy weight of your baby and prevent childhood obesity. According to a study, the babies who were breastfed for more than four months had lower chances of being susceptible to obesity and overweight.

    The reason behind this could be linked to the higher amounts of beneficial gut bacteria present in breastfed babies.

    Besides this, the breastfed babies may even have higher quantities of Leptin in their bodies. Leptin is a hormone that could help to regulate fat storage and appetite.

    Mothers also have a lower chance of being over weight when mothers breast feed for longer duration.

  1. May Help Your Uterus To Contract.

    During pregnancy, the size of the uterus of a woman may grow immensely. However, after delivery, your uterus returns to its previous size through a process known as involution.

    During this phase, your body may have a higher amount of oxytocin that could help in reducing the uterus and delivering the baby. The same hormone oxytocin is also increased in your body during breastfeeding. Hence, this hormone could help your uterus to return to its normal size.

    With so many advantages, you could choose to breastfeed your child. However, since you are a new mother, you may also know the different tips for breastfeeding. Let us have a look at them.

  • Here is a detailed writeup about overall benefits.
  • This article talks about importance of breastfeeding; a surgen general’s call.

Breastfeeding Tips

  1. When Is Your Baby Hungry?

    You may not wait for your baby to cry when he or she is hungry. Instead, you may be able to figure out when your baby is hungry with a few signs. Some of these signs are.

    • When the baby may frequently open or close the mouth.
    • When the baby raises and turns her or his head repeatedly.
    • When the baby tends to suck on the things which are kept near him or her.
    • When the baby sticks out his or her tongue frequently.

    So whenever you see all these signs, you may breastfeed your baby.

  2. How Long And How Often To Breastfeed?

    You should not fix a schedule or interval to determine when and for how long you may breastfeed your baby. On the other hand, you may follow a flexible schedule of breastfeeding your baby whenever he or she needs it. Each baby is different. Some babies may get full even after 10 minutes of breastfeeding. On the other hand, some may stretch it up to 30 to 40 minutes.

  3. Help Your Baby To Find The Right Position

    Generally, the babies may find their right position while breastfeeding. However, you may help them in the process. You could help your baby to find the right position when you may make sure that-

    • First of all, you may make sure that the mouth of the baby is levelled with your nipple.
    • Secondly, the baby should not face a problem while breastfeeding. This means he or she may not have to turn the head frequently.
    • If possible, then you could even help your baby to latch onto the areola and not just the nipple.
    • You might make sure that the head of your baby is tilted slightly to the back.
    • Another important position is that the chin of the baby should be right against your breast. This could make sure that the nose of the baby is clear.
    • However, you might not force these positions onto your baby. He or she could sometimes be in a slightly different position.
  4. Leaking Is Natural

    You may not get tensed or bothered when milk leaks from your breasts. During the initial few weeks of breastfeeding, leaking may be considered to be natural. It could happen when you feel strong emotions or do not breastfeed your child for several hours. However, the leaking may lesson eventually, or even disappear completely as you continue to nurse. You could even use a nursing pad to absorb the leakage.

  5. Take Care Of Your Breasts’ Skin

    Generally, when you breastfeed your child regularly, your skin may become irritated,  dry, chapped or might even crack. This is because the skin of the breasts is quite delicate. So you may experience painful breastfeeding when the skin becomes dry. However, you can protect your skin with several tips.

    • You may always pat dry your breasts with a soft cloth after feeding.
    • You may even use a healing product on your breasts after feeding.
    • You may not over wash your breasts. One or two showers are sufficient.
  6. Eat Healthy

    You also need to eat healthy. Here are detailed tips from a governmental paper.

Conclusion

So there are a plethora of aspects of breastfeeding which you may know as a mother.

The number of times you may breastfeed your baby depends upon whether your baby has a liking for short and frequent meals or long meals. Generally, the newborns may like to be fed every two to three hours. Once the baby is of two months, then you may feed the child for every three to four hours.

On the other hand, a baby of six months should be fed every four to five hours.

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