The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and World Health Organization (WHO) recommend that babies should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months. This means avoiding water, juice, formula and other foods. Breastfeeding should be on demand, which means you must feed the baby as and when they are hungry. As a rule, newborns should not go more than about four hours without feeding, even during the night. Whether you want to breastfeed your baby for another six months and even beyond one year depends on your priorities and personal choice. It is even fine to breastfeed your baby until they are two years old if this works for you and your infant. However, along with breastfeeding, you should initiate giving solid foods after six months.
What are the benefits of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding benefits mothers and their babies. As per studies, breast milk helps develop a baby’s immunity. It can lower your baby’s risk of infections such as diarrhea, ear infections and bacterial meningitis. Even if they fall sick, breastfeeding makes the symptoms less severe. Moreover, breastfeeding helps your baby fight conditions such as
After you become a mom, breastfeeding helps you shed extra pounds gained during pregnancy and helps you keep your weight in check. It helps your uterus shrink and helps you recover faster from the aftereffects of pregnancy and the childbirth process.
Through breastfeeding, you also lower your odds of developing
Why do women stop breastfeeding?
Many women stop breastfeeding even before six months. Common reasons include issues such as pain due to breast engorgement or sore nipples. Another reason is that they feel they are not producing milk adequately.
Working moms may not feed their babies as frequently as they should because of difficulty in juggling their work schedule, household chores and taking care of their babies. Many times during the day, they substitute breastfeeding with formula feeding, which eventually leads to more formula feeding than breastfeeding.
How to have a smooth and successful breastfeeding journey
Given the benefits of breastfeeding, you can take steps to make your post-delivery six months of nursing smooth and successful.
Many offices have lactation rooms so that you can breastfeed your baby. As per the law, you can even take unpaid breastfeeding breaks from your office.
Search online for resources that equip you with breastfeeding knowledge. This will help you prepare for any obstacles that you come across during your lactation period.
Get in touch with a lactation consultant:
Lactation consultants can help you deal with breastfeeding issues such as sore nipples and engorged breasts. While looking for one, consider an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). You can find them in hospitals and private clinics.
Join support groups:
Search online for breastfeeding communities. Sharing your journey with other moms and knowing about their journey can make you feel at ease. Learning from the experience of others can help you tackle your own breastfeeding issues.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Mayo Clinic: "Breast-Feeding Tips: What New Moms Need to Know." https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/breast-feeding/art-20047138#
Top How Long Can I Breastfeed My Baby Related Articles
Breastfeeding (and Formula Feeding)It's important to know whether you will breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby prior to delivery, as the breasts' ability to produce milk diminishes soon after childbirth without the stimulation of breastfeeding. Breast milk is easily digested by babies and contains infection-fighting antibodies and cholesterol, which promotes brain growth. Formula-fed babies actually need to eat somewhat less often since formula is less readily digested by the baby than human milk. This article explores the advantages and disadvantages of both forms of feeding.
Breastfeeding With Rheumatoid ArthritisYou can breastfeed your baby even if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). However, you must always consult your doctor before you start the process.
Breastfeeding: Common Breastfeeding ChallengesBreastfeeding an infant can cause common challenges both for the mother an infant. Some challenges include sore nipples, low milk supply, oversupply of milk, engorgement, plugged ducts, breast infection, fungal infections, nursing strike, inverted, flat, or very large nipples, breastfeeding a baby with health problems, and breastfeeding in special situations. Tips and helpful information can inform mothers how to manage and handles these challenges while continuing to breastfeed her baby.
Do Inverted Nipples Make Breastfeeding Difficult?Inverted nipples can make breastfeeding difficult for nursing mothers. Learn how to identify an inverted nipple, why inverted nipples can make it difficult to breastfeed, and what you can do to treat inverted nipples.
Pregnancy: Birthing, Breastfeeding, and Parenting ClassesPreparing for a baby is an important step in parents' lives. Choosing the right birthing class and method (Lamaze, Bradley, etc.) is important for the mother, baby, and father or support giver. Parenting classes are also information for first time parents. Information is provided about diapering, feeding, and bathing your baby as well as the different stages of child development.
Problems When BreastfeedingBreast milk is the best diet for infants. Breastfeeding has several health benefits for the mother and her baby; moreover, it also builds an emotional bonding between them. Experts recommend exclusive breastfeeding until the baby is six months.
What Foods to Avoid While Breastfeeding?Breastfeeding is one of the best ways to bond with your baby. It has myriad benefits for you as well as your baby, but you may want to avoid coffee, tea, chocolate, gassy foods, fish, spicy foods, eggs, nuts, milk and peppermint, parsley and sage as they may cause reactions in your baby.