Breastfeeding Basics

Have a child on the way? Here is the short and quick of breastfeeding.

If you’re currently pregnant, you may have some questions about breastfeeding. Whether you’re trying to determine whether or not to breastfeed or want to make sure you know what you’re doing when the time comes, you’re reading the right article.

What Are Perks for the Baby?

After centuries of being the sole method for feeding newborns, breastfeeding came into question as being beneficial for babies during the middle of the 20th century. As a result, many new mothers resorted to using formula in an effort to do what was best for their babies. However, once the benefits of breastfeeding for baby were determined, breastfeeding regained its position as best for baby.
A few of the perks your baby will enjoy from breastfeeding include the following:

  • reduced risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), a condition that takes more lives of children ages 1 month to 1 year than any other condition
  • faster weight gain for infants with low birth weight
  • increased protection against common ailments such as the cold and ear infections
  • lowered incidence of diarrhea, crying, diaper rash, and colic
  • lessened risk for developing asthma later in life
  • the possibility of higher IQs than infants who are formula fed
A newborn baby has three demands. They are warmth in the arms of its mother, food from her breasts, and security in the knowledge of her presence. Breastfeeding satisfies all three.
- Grantly Dick-Read

What Are Perks for Me?

In addition to the great benefits breastfeeding offers your little one, breastfeeding offers a number of fantastic benefits to you. One of the most heralded perks is your improved ability to lose weight following the birth of your child. However, the benefits don’t stop there. Breastfeeding also allows you and your child to have a very close bond starting from day one. It also lowers your risk for a number of dangerous and deadly conditions, ranging from osteoporosis to breast, ovarian, and uterine cancer. As if those perks weren’t enough, breastfeeding is also substantially cheaper than using formula.

What about the Downsides?

Everything has a downside, right? For breastfeeding, two downsides that are often pointed out are the pain associated with breastfeeding and the potential for sagging breasts. Fortunately, research has proven that breastfeeding does not cause breast sagging. As for the pain – each woman is different. Whereas some women never experience any pain, others feel it from the start. However, it typically abates as you learn how to breastfeed your baby. And once the pain is gone, you’re left with a beneficial way to keep your baby close during the first precious months of life.

How Is It Done?

While breastfeeding is natural, it can feel very foreign to new mothers. For the most basic breastfeeding technique, sit upright. Place pillows behind your back, on your lap, and under your elbow. This keeps you and your baby well supported and allows you to relax as your baby feeds. Put your baby on his or her side, with his or her whole body facing you at the level of your nipple. Grasp your breast in a C or U shape with your thumb and index fingers. Offer the breast to your baby and keep your fingers away from your nipple to avoid having your hand get in the way. Once your baby opens his or her mouth, move the baby quickly to your breast, chin first, and keep him or her pulled close to your breast and body until feeding time is over.

Bloody Stools

Sometimes, a breastfeeding baby will experience blood in his or her stool. Most often, this is caused by a protein intolerance. In order to determine what protein your baby is allergic to, you may have to go on a very strict diet, eliminating wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, or other foods from your daily intake.

Most often, these changes eliminate your child’s bloody stools. If not, you may have to begin using a special baby formula. Once your child hits 1 year of age, he or she should outgrow the allergy and be able to eat foods that contain whatever caused the bloody stools during infancy.

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