Good For Babies, Great For Moms
Breastfeeding your baby is the natural way to provide nourishment for your baby. Your body has been supplying your baby over the last nine months with the exact nutrients needed to grow and develop. Now that your baby is born, your body will continue, through your breast milk, to provide all of your baby’s nutritional needs in a very natural and wonderful way.
Breastfeeding is not something that you automatically know how to do the minute you become a mother. It is a learning process for both you and the baby. It is important that you are in a comfortable position when you breastfeed and be patient! You need to learn what to do and so does your baby.
Your breast milk is custom-made for your baby. The first milk, colostrum, is the perfect transitional food from the womb into the outside world for your baby.
- Provides your baby with immunities against bacteria and viruses in the vulnerable newborn period
- Has a laxative effect to help your baby rid the bowel of meconium
- Has lactose, a natural sugar that helps your baby’s blood sugar remain stable and aids in brain development
- Is concentrated, so baby doesn’t need ounces and ounces at first
- Coats and thickens your baby’s intestinal tract to prevent absorption of harmful proteins, resulting in reduced risk of allergies and asthma
Benefits of Breastfeeding Your Baby
- Mother’s milk has antibodies to help protect baby against disease
- Digests quickly and easily. That’s why breastfed babies eat more frequently
- Lower risk of childhood obesity and ear infections. The incidence of ear infections is three to four times greater in formula fed babies
- Breastfed babies have less respiratory infections and less diarrhea
- Lower incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
- A better response to vaccinations and an ability to fight disease faster
- Fewer orthodontic and dental related problems
- Average IQ score is 6-10 points higher than formula fed infants
- Breastfeeding is a wonderful way to calm and reassure your baby
- Something special only you can do for your baby
- Helps uterus return to non-pregnant size faster
- Less risk of postpartum hemorrhage
- Breastfeeding provides significant protection against certain types of breast, ovarian, and cervical cancers
- Reduces risk of osteoporosis
- Always ready and available for baby
- Helps you lose weight gained during pregnancy
- Enhances the close bond between you and your baby
- Fewer absences at work, as baby not ill as often
- Fewer medical expenses. Breastfed babies tend to be healthier
- Cost effective! Estimated cost of formula the first year is over $1,200. Breastfeeding is free.
Nutritional Requirements of the Breastfed Newborn
At birth, the baby’s stomach is about the size of a pea or a small marble and can hold around ½ -1 teaspoon. At two days of age, the baby’s stomach is about the size of a walnut. Gradually, the stomach increases in size and by the time the baby is 10 days old, it is about the size of a golf ball and holds anywhere from 1-4 tablespoons.
The first few days, the baby’s feedings will consist of colostrum or “the first milk.” Colostrum is rich in proteins, fat-soluble vitamins, minerals and immunoglobulins. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that are passed from the mother and protect baby from a wide variety of bacterial and viral illnesses. Another important function of colostrum is to serve as a laxative to clear the baby’s intestinal tract of meconium. The “first milk” or colostrum is thick so that the newborn can master the skill of sucking, swallowing and breathing. It is not unusual for the baby to suckle 4-6 times consistently before having enough milk in his mouth to swallow.
Every newborn infant should be treated as an individual and may feed as little as 4 times in the first 24 hours or as many as 12 times. Each feeding should consist of at least 5 minutes of consistent suckling with a sustained latch and may be as long as 30 minutes on each breast. The frequency of the feeding is influenced by several factors. These factors may include: mother’s health status, medications used prior to delivery, a difficult delivery, health status of the baby, and hospital routines such
as vital signs, circumcisions and lab draws.
The second night after birth, the baby is typically more awake and aware of his surroundings. It is not unusual for the baby to want to go to the breast frequently and nurse for short periods and then fall asleep. The baby may also cluster feed (several small feedings in a row). This behavior is considered normal and encourages the mother’s milk supply to increase at a quicker pace. Keep in mind that each time the baby feeds counts towards the 8-12 feedings per day the baby should have by day 4.
Elimination in the newborn starts out slowly. In the first 24 hours he should have 1 or more wet diapers and 2 or more meconium stools. The second day he should have 2 or more wet diapers and 2 or more meconium stools. By day 4 or 5, the newborn should have 6 or more wet diapers and 3 or more yellow liquid stools. Some babies have a stool before or during each feeding.