- 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.
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.