It remains to be a fact, not just a cliché, that breastfeeding is best for babies. Your breast milk is free, it provides all the nutrients in proper proportions necessary to keep your baby nourished and protected from sickness. Your baby is able to digest it easily, unlike formula milk that could lead to an upset stomach for sensitive babies. It is even important for your health and your bonding with your newborn. For optimum nutrition, it is best to follow some advice that truly works.
- Do start immediately after birth. Breastfeeding as soon as your baby is born allows your baby to have the first breast milk that has the colostrums, which can strengthen your baby’s immune system. This also stimulates your baby’s bowels and digestion. Your baby may start learning how to suck properly and the bond between the two of you is enhanced. You can feed your baby up to 8 to 12 times in 24 hours.
- 2. Do eat nutritious, well-balanced meals. It is true that what you eat is what you feed your baby. Stay hydrated, rest well and stay healthy. While your body is able to change composition and meet your baby’s needs through your breast milk, it pays to maximize the nutrition to pass on to your little one. Note that you need an additional 300 to 500 calories a day. If you produce less milk, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, healthy fats and whole grains can promote milk production. If you do not have the luxury of time to prepare your foods, you can get the service of a confinement lady who can cook nutritious foods for you. Visit our Malaysia confinement centre to learn more about such services.
- Do talk to your healthcare provider if you are not producing enough milk. Your doctor can give you the best advice if you think you are not giving your baby enough milk for she can assess the situation properly.
- Do breastfeed exclusively for 6 months. If you are worried that it might be difficult for you to switch your baby to bottle-feeding when it’s time for you to go back to work, you can still express your milk and introduce the bottle early. Make use of the available modern devices that can prove useful to this transition such as breast pumps or teats that mimic your nipple. You can store your milk for it to be available for baby when you are away.
- Do get support. If you feel discouraged about your breastfeeding, never be afraid to get available support from an experienced person such as your mom, older sister or confinement lady. Most moms get through such phase and it is okay to feel that way.
- Don’t take medications without your doctor’s advice. Some medicines are not safe to take while breastfeeding, so it is best to have a clearance from your doctor.
- Don’t smoke. Quitting smoking is not just beneficial for your breastfeeding but for your overall health. Your baby may be sensitive to third-hand smoke or the residue left on your clothing or furniture. Thus, it is still unsafe to smoke away from your baby unless you will take a bath after each stick.
- Don’t consume too much alcohol. While studies say that occasional alcohol intake is not harmful for babies, experts agree on not taking it more than 1 to 2 drinks a week. It was also proven that less than 2 percent of that alcohol can reach the breast milk and infants are able to metabolize that at half the rate of adults so it stays in them longer.
- Don’t introduce bottle-feeding until breastfeeding is established. Experts suggest that the time to start bottle-feeding is 3 to 4 weeks. This may lead to confusion.
- Don’t rush solid feeding. Breastfeeding is best for babies up to six months, and you can never overfeed with breast milk. Your baby’s primary source of nutrition for up to one year should be your milk. If you have the opportunity to exclusively breastfeed for up to one year and remain in a healthy, balanced diet, do so for your baby’s optimum nutrition.
Breastfeeding is your opportunity to provide the healthiest and most natural nutrition for your baby. It allows you to establish a bond earlier, too. Make the most of this readily available supply but if at first, you struggle to feed your newborn, do not be too hard on yourself. Seek help when necessary and certainly, you can do it better.