Breastfeeding is the best way to nurture your baby
There are many questions about Breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the natural way to feed our baby.
It gives your baby all the important nutrients and is the only source of food your baby needs for at least the first six months of your baby’s life. There are many benefits of breastfeeding including but not limited to bonding, making your baby feel safe and of course satisfying your baby’s hunger.
You should wait until your baby is ready before you introduce any other food than breast milk or formula.
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Where do you start?
This is actually a very big topic. While breastfeeding is the most natural thing to do it does not always come easy.
Your baby and you both have to learn how to breastfeed the right way. There are many things to consider like having the right latch so your baby can drink milk without problems.
Will Breastfeeding help me lose weight?
Yes and no. Some new moms lose a lot of weight really easy with exclusively breastfeeding while other are struggling with it or even weight more. It really depends on what you eat.
If most of your calories are coming from fast food it might be a good time to think about your diet. Healthier food and not overeating are better. While a breastfeeding mother needs more calories at the beginning it should be valuable calories.
What should a Breastfeeding mother eat?
Good news – you can eat whatever you want. Unlike during the pregnancy when you had to say no to raw meat or not 100% cooked eggs you can have all that again now. There are a few things you should NOT consume though.
- Alcohol (for the obvious reason – Alcohol goes straight in your bloodstream and then the milk) According to different lactation consultants I asked it is totally fine to have a glass of wine once in a while. You just shouldn’t have a feeding coming up anytime soon. This is however a personal choice and I wouldn’t risk it.
- Peppermint Tea – Peppermint is said to reduce the milk production.
- Same goes for Parsley and Sage – these herbs could cause a lower milk production
These foods are ok in moderation:
- Fish (fish has a lot of good and healthy aspects like Omega 3 fatty acids. But especially tuna and salmon are usually contaminated with quicksilver. In moderation it is totally fine but it is better to limit your intake to max twice a week)
- Coffee (Too much caffeine is not good for you or the baby)
Besides that it is always good to have a healthy diet with fresh fruits and vegetables, iron rich and protein so your body can produce the best milk possible.
Drinking lots of water is helpful too and believe me you will be thirsty. Very thirsty. I always have a glass of water standing next to bed and had a water bottle on me at all times when my toddler was a newborn and needed lots of milk.
What Breastfeeding supplies do I need?
There is a overwhelming amount of product for breastfeeding moms out there but you actually don’t need that much.
Absolute life saver for me was the lanolin cream and nursing pillow just to be comfortable while nursing.
For a whole list of breastfeeding products that will help you read my post Breastfeeding must haves.
Are breastfed babies smarter?
This is probably one of the most famous questions about breastfeeding.
Short answer: No.
There is no scientific proof that breastfed babies are smarter compared to bottle fed babies. According to this study published in Pediatrics is making people question if breastfeeding really makes smarter.
The study was done with approximately 8,000 families over 5 years in Ireland. Breastfed Children were usually doing better in verbal skills and problem solving.
But those attributes can not be linked to being breastfed or not. One thing that was outstanding is that breastfed babies overall have a lower hyperactivity rating than babies that were not breastfed.
Can breastfeeding prevent pregnancy?
While there is a good chance that you won’t have a regular cycle for a long time breastfeeding is NOT a safe way to prevent pregnancy. Even without having your period you can get pregnant.
Why does breastfeeding make you sleepy?
While you are breastfeeding your brain releases the hormone ” oxytocin “. This hormone as a variety of functions.
Right after birth it allows your newborn to get the milk out of your breast and shrink your uterus back to the normal size. It creates the strong bond a breastfeeding mother has to her child and it makes your body sleepy and relaxed.
It can also raise your core temperate which may make you feel hot. I had a friend that was only wearing nursing tops in ice cold temperatures because she was constantly unbelievable hot due to breastfeeding.
Oxytocin may also make you feel thirsty or give you a headache. I am always thirsty while breastfeeding so it is a good idea to have water nearby.
When does breastfeeding get easier?
Breastfeeding definitely is a journey and both – you and your baby – have to learn how to breastfeed. Your nipples are not used to constant feeding and will get rough and chapped at some point.
That is nothing to be concerned about and a good lanolin lotion can help you with that unless you are in serious pain.
If your nipples start to bleed really bad or get infected you should have a doctor take a look immediately.
Once your breast are used to breastfeeding and you and your baby have a good rhythm it will all be so much easier. After a few weeks your supply should be synchronized with your baby’s needs.
What can I do when breastfeeding just won’t work?
The best thing to do is to see a lactation consultant. There are many things to try or look out for to find the reason why it won’t work and a lactation consultant is the best person to talk to.
You can find a consultant near you on the la leche league website. La leche league also has facebook groups specific for different areas that you can ask for help or advice from other members.
But even if breastfeeding really does not work for you at all there is absolutely no shame in switching to bottlefeeding.
After all – a fed baby is a happy baby. Doesn’t matter if it is the breast or the bottle.
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