Breast milk is one of the greatest gifts you can give your baby. It’s packed with nutrients and antibodies that boost your newborn’s immunity, aid digestion, and promote brain development! But as a new mom you probably have some questions and anxiety about it, so we have come up with 8 things you should know before breastfeeding your baby.
- Breastfeeding may hurt initially. We’re not going to lie. Those first days, you might feel what experts call extreme tenderness -and what some moms call pain. But once your baby is properly latched, discomfort should fade during each nursing session and go away completely with time. Your nipples need to adapt, push through the pain and in 2-3 weeks your body will adjust.
- The best position for breastfeeding. There’s no correct position for breastfeeding, but probably while you’re still learning, you may find it easier to use the same hand for both breasts. This means you will hold your baby across your lap to feed from one breast, and then, to feed him from the other breast, you’ll hold your baby under your arm. *If your baby is having reflux, it’s best to choose an upright position.
- Can I eat fish? You may hear that fish contains mercury, a common pollutant that’s a known neurotoxin that affects your baby’s brain. But don’t worry, most of the time the health benefits outweigh the risk! The exceptions are shark, swordfish, tilefish, and king mackerel. These fish contain the highest levels of mercury, so eliminate those foods from your diet completely.
- How about alcohol? You will probably like to have an occasional beer or a glass of wine; after all you haven’t had one for nine months! It’s okay to have a glass, but if you have a bit too much wait until the alcohol has cleared from your body before breastfeeding.
- Can I drink coffee? Caffeine is okay too, in moderate doses. So go ahead and enjoy your morning coffee, an afternoon tea, or even the occasional soda. As long as you limit your caffeine intake to no more than two or three cups of a caffeinated beverage a day, you and baby will be just fine!
- A nursing pillow is essential. Once your baby is latched onto your breast and nursing, you won’t want to stop because your back hurts or your arms are tired. A nursing pillow may save you from the pain! It will help you position your baby correctly and stay comfy.
- How long do I have to breastfeed? The World Health Organization recommends exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months, with continued breastfeeding along with complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond. But, ultimately, you’ll have the last say. It’ll all depend on how you feel emotionally, as well as your personal circumstances. Discuss with your doctor and partner how long you want to breastfeed for.
- Perfect for bonding time! Breastfeeding will not only provide your baby with good nutrition, it will also give you a chance to sit back, relax, and enjoy a bonding moment with your little one. Try talking, singing or even reading a book. Even when your baby is just a newborn, he will still be absorbing language skills every time you speak or sing.
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