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Breastfeeding: Benefits & Resources

What's Best For Baby
-- By Antigone Arthur, Health & Pregnancy Writer

One of the most important first decisions a new mom has to make is whether or not to breastfeed her infant. Breastfeeding offers newborn infants numerous advantages and benefits.

Key Benefits
  • Breast milk is constantly changing, providing infants with the most perfect nutrition at each stage of growth.
  • Breast milk provides antibodies that are critical for newborn's maturing immune system.
  • Studies suggest that breastfed babies have slightly higher IQ's than babies not breastfed.
  • Breastfeeding helps speed recovery after labor for the mom by helping contract the uterus and even assisting with weight loss.
Best Strategies
Many people worry that breastfeeding will be difficult. There are several things you can do to get off on the right foot, including the following:
  • Nurse your baby as soon as possible after delivery. Your baby is most alert one to two hours after delivery. If possible, this is the ideal time to nurse, because your baby will be keen on trying something new. If you aren't able to nurse at this time, there are several tricks you can use to rouse your baby later and help keep him awake while breastfeeding. Try pinching (lightly!) the side of his cheek or tickling his toes or the back of his neck, for example.
  • If possible, room in with your baby so that the two of you can get into a routine together.
  • Rest up whenever possible. Ideally, you should nap when your baby naps. Many new moms try to catch up on house cleaning or errands when their newborn sleeps. You will benefit much more from adequate rest however, than a clean house. If friends want to stop by and help, ask them to bring a cooked meal or load the dishwasher. This will allow you more time to relax. Whenever baby snoozes, you should try to rest.
  • Feed your newborn on demand if possible. For some moms, this isn't an option. If you have to return to work soon after delivery, you may not be able to feed on demand. You will have the opportunity to use a pump however. There are many different pumps on the market today. If you will only be pumping occasionally, a hand pump will likely work for you. Many working moms prefer an electric pump. Most will allow you to empty your breast within 10 minutes. Some electric pumps allow you to pump both breasts at the same time.
Many believe that mom and baby know instinctually what to do. More times than not there is a huge learning curve for both. Being patient and expecting a learning curve keeps people from getting frustrated and quitting." C. Piccone - Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Member Comments About this Article
"Please review the article Breastfeeding: Evaluating Your Milk Supply: Increasing Supply to Meet Demand for helpful tips that might turn things around." -- TONKA_14
"I am just frustrated since I am not producing enough mil kand so feel like quitting.
what do I do?" -- BABACHIMAU
"Christina Breast feeding is so important to me being a mom of twin girls Chtistina and Christiane the bond we share is awesome.They are both 10mnths 1 wk now and i'm still doing it i'm a working mom but i make time for them on my lunch break and after work and also in the mornings 1 drinks only breast milk and the other a little formula and i pump it has been so beneficial to me bcause i've lost all my prepregnancy weight and i'm feel good." -- SASSYSHAZ
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About The Author
Antigone Arthur
Antigone is a freelance writer and proud mother. She has been researching and writing about pregnancy, breastfeeding, infertility and alternative health solutions for more than a decade.
Antigone Arthur


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