How long should you breastfeed
Human breast milk is tailor-made for a baby: it contains just the right amount of protein, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins to sustain your growing baby. Apart from its nutritional worth, breastfeeding newborn makes sound sense for the following reasons:
- Breastfed babies are less prone to illness than bottle-fed babies. There are fewer cases of gastroenteritis, chest infection, and measles and this is directly attributable to the antibodies that the baby receives. All newborns receive some antibodies from their mother’s placental blood, via the umbilical cord, but in the case of breastfed babies these are supplemented by antibodies in both the colostrum and in the mother’s milk. In your baby’s first few days of life, they exert a protective influence on the intestine (reducing the likelihood of intestinal disturbance), and because they are also absorbed into the bloodstream, they form part of the body’s protection against infections. Some antibodies, such as those against poliomyelitis, are in the breast-milk, so the mother can actively protect her newborn while he is breastfeeding. (The baby will still have to be immunized himself, however.)
- Breast milk is more easily, and quickly, digested than cow’s milk. Breastfed babies don’t get constipated: they may pass stools infrequently, but this is because the food is so efficiently and effectively used up. The stools of breastfed babies are soft and comparatively odourless, and they don’t contain the bacteria that generally causes ammonia dermatitis, so these infants are less prone to nappy rash.
- Breastfed babies rarely become overweight. Each baby has his own appetite and metabolic rate– it won’t be the same as the baby next door, so don’t worry if your baby is fatter or thinner than your neighbour. He’ll be the right weight for his own body.
- The breastfeeding newborn is convenient. The milk is always at the accurate temperature, you don’t have to waste your time sterilizing and making up bottles, and you save money by not having to buy all the equipment. Breastfed babies have less wind, sleep longer, posset less and the posset smells less unpleasant.
- Breastfeeding newborn is good for your figure. Research has shown that most of the fat that is gained in pregnancy is shed if a woman breastfeeds. While breastfeeding a hormone called oxytocin is released and this encourages the uterus to return to its normal size, as well as stimulating the production of milk. Your pelvis returns to normal more quickly and so does your waistline. Contrary to common belief, breastfeeding does not affect the shape or size of your breasts. They may get bigger, smaller, or sag after pregnancy, but changes are not contingent upon breastfeeding; they are due to being pregnant.
- Breast cancer is rarer in parts of the world where breastfeeding is traditional.Breastfeeding may provide some protection against the disease.
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How long are you supposed and how many months to breastfeed: Breastfeeding goals are personal. There is no one right answer for anyone, but there are benchmarks. The AAP recommends that your baby receive breast milk and no other liquids or foods until the age of six months, at which point you may start solid foods if your baby is showing signs of readiness.
How long should you breastfeed at a time: The AAP also recommends breastfeeding for until at least one year of age, and beyond one year if that is what is comfortable for you and your family.
How long is best to breastfeed: The WHO recommends only breastmilk for the first 12 months and then continued breastfeeding with supplemental food until 24 months. This is because of the great benefits for the health of the baby.
When should you stop breastfeeding
Both the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Canadian Paediatric Society recommend that babies be exclusively breast-fed for six months, and breast-fed even after solid foods have been introduced, for as long as mother and baby are willing . While your baby is mastering the mechanics of eating solids and getting used to all those new tastes and textures, breast milk will continue to be the mainstay of her diet.
You might also have a personal goal that might have nothing to do with what medical professionals say about breastfeeding and its benefits. This might be related to something you saw growing up, or a personal experience. For example, if you felt like you were encouraged to wean prematurely in a previous breastfeeding experience, you may want
to choose your original goal. Or perhaps you feel like your previous standards were too high and you want to choose a lower goal to help ensure that you are successful.
We recommend reading the article: Advice for new mom: Natural breastfeeding positions for newborns