That’s why WHO recommends breast milk as the primary source of nutrition for your baby’s first year of life. Try to breastfeed your baby for the first year and give her the required nutrition and immunity.
Here are few things you should know about breastfeeding:
Doctors agree that breast milk is the best source of nutrition for your baby. That is because it’s easy to digest, helps protect against food allergies and gives the baby protective antibodies to boost her immune system.
Begin breastfeeding as soon as possible after birth. Make sure your healthcare provider knows that you plan to breastfeed your baby. When you’re admitted to the hospital, ask the nurse to notify the nursery that you will be breastfeeding.
Nurse your baby as soon as possible after delivery. Preferably within the first hour after birth, start with the breastfeeds. Your baby benefits right away from the easy-to-digest proteins, vitamins and minerals - as well as from protective antibodies - in colostrum, the yellowish, translucent fluid your breasts secrete for the first two to three days. Besides helping both of you adjust to breastfeeding, frequent and early breastfeeding also helps increase your milk production.
A newborn should be nursed frequently. Whenever she shows signs of hunger, approximately 8 to 12 times per day. Keep your baby with you as much as possible following birth. If you’re with the baby you’ll know when she shows signs of hunger such as increased alertness or activity, rooting reflex, searching for your breast, or sucking her fist. Don’t wait until she cries because crying is a late indicator of hunger. If she’s sleeping, rouse her to feed at least every 4 hours for a feeding.
Avoid using supplements. Which includes water, unless your doctor tells you there’s a medical reason to do so. If your baby is in the nursery at the hospital, insist that she does not receive any water or sugar (glucose) water but be brought to you to breastfeed. This ensures that your baby’s primary source of nutrition is breast milk. And hold off on using pacifiers until after your milk supply is well-established. Your milk supply increases to match the level of your baby’s sucking, so make sure all the sucking is done at your breast.
If you are discharged before 48 hours after delivery, you and your baby should see a doctor. Or other healthcare provider who’s knowledgeable about breastfeeding when your baby is 2 to 4 days old. If you have been in the hospital at least 48 hours, it’s a good idea for you or your doctor to watch you nurse your baby and to answer questions you may have about breastfeeding. This is mostly the elder lady member of the family. All babies should be seen by a healthcare provider within the first month, usually at around 2 weeks.
In your baby’s first six months, water, juice and other foods are not necessary. Your baby will get all the nutrition she needs from your breast milk. Even as you introduce solid foods, breast milk should still be your baby’s primary source of nutrition.
Breast feeding is the best way to go!
Breastfeeding is not just the best way to feed your baby in the first year. It also helps to create bond between you and your baby. This is the beginning of a lifelong relationship. So, know the best ways to make the most of it.