Even though breastfeeding is a natural process, it’s not always easy. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that moms breastfeed babies as soon as possible after birth, preferably within the first hour. Your baby benefits from the easy-to-digest proteins, vitamins, and minerals–as well as from the protective antibodies in colostrum, the yellowish, translucent fluid which your breasts secrete for the first two to three days.
Health and Wellness
Breastfeeding is associated with significant health and wellness benefits for you and your new baby. If you plan to breastfeed, preparing for this process can help you adjust to your new role and ensure your infant receives the nutrition he or she needs to thrive. When you deliver your baby with the team at Peoria Women’s Health, our providers strive to provide the support you need for your breastfeeding journey.
What to Expect When Feeding Your Baby
Even though breastfeeding is a natural process, getting it right can still take time for new moms. Before starting to feed your baby, make sure you are comfortable and relaxed. Hold your infant in a secure position and help him or her latch
onto the nipple. You should be able to hear your child swallowing. If you feel pain while breastfeeding, a nurse or lactation consultant can help you achieve a good latch. Although nipples may feel sore and sensitive at first, the discomfort usually resolves within a week or two.
How Long do Women Breastfeed?
While this decision is personal for every family, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding your baby for at least 12 months. After six months, you can begin introducing solid food with the guidance of your baby’s pediatrician.
Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breast milk has the ideal blend of fat, protein, vitamins, and nutrients your infant needs for growth and development. Although formula has a similar makeup to breast milk, it can be difficult for some babies to digest. Breastfeeding also allows your baby to benefit from your natural immunity, so he or she is less likely to get sick or develop allergies and asthma. You will also find that breastfeeding helps you develop a unique bond with your infant. Closeness with the mother helps a newborn baby feel loved and secure.
Breastfeeding Your Adopted Baby
Families who adopt an infant can decide to breastfeed their new addition. Even if you have never been pregnant, using a breast pump every two to three hours can stimulate your body to produce milk within a few days or weeks. Although some women do not make enough milk to exclusively breastfeed an adopted infant, you can supplement these feedings with formula as needed. You may also consider requesting donor milk from a reputable breast milk bank.
How Breastfeeding Helps You!
In addition to helping both you and baby adjust to breastfeeding, frequent and early nursing also helps you. Baby’s sucking causes your uterus to contract decreasing vaginal bleeding. Also, it helps your uterus shrink to its pre-pregnancy size more quickly. If you’ve had a cesarean section, it’s still important to breastfeed baby as soon after birth as possible.
How Our Team Can Help
The team at Peoria Women’s Health can answer your questions about breastfeeding, pregnancy, childbirth, and infant care. If you are seeking a new OB-GYN practice, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our knowledgeable health care providers.
Talk your physician about your intent to breastfeed and discuss any concerns or questions you may have. You may also wish to solicit the advice and training from a lactation specialist. Our Peoria area hospitals have lactation specialists on-staff, who are readily willing to discuss your concerns prior to or after the birth of your baby.