As newly pregnant mothers, you’re probably very well aware by now, of the magical benefits breastfeeding has on babies. Breast milk has the perfect balance of nutrients your baby needs to grow into a healthy child. Not only does it do a two-in-one job of satisfying both their hunger and thirst, medical professionals like to refer to it as “nature’s complete food for babies”. It’s also an excellent way of powerfully boosting babies’ immune systems, helping them fight away infections or illnesses that could potentially occur in their early years.
There’s no arguing against breast milk being a vital source of food for babies. Did you know breastfeeding is just as beneficial for you, mothers, too? First of all, breast milk is convenient, cheap, and is available fresh for consumption whenever your baby needs it. Secondly, breastfeeding will assist in the recovery of your uterus after giving childbirth, and can even help decrease your chances of developing breast and ovarian cancer in your later years. Thirdly, breastfeeding allows for a unique bonding experience between you and your bubba, working to deeply strengthen your mother-child relationship earlier on.
Below is a list of breastfeeding-related Q&As we’ve gathered to assist you, new mamas out there, in your first steps into motherhood:
Can I start breastfeeding my baby as soon as he/she is born?
Yes! Babies naturally have a strong longing for their mother’s milk as soon as they’re born, so if both you and your baby are healthy and well, you can start breastfeeding straight away.
How often would I need to breastfeed throughout the day?
It’s common for babies to be breastfed around 8 to 12 times a day. Typically, the amount of milk you make will depend on the frequency of your baby’s sucking – the more your little one is breastfed, the more milk your body will produce.
- Incorporate a nightly routine of breastfeeding your baby before you go to sleep – this will help prevent feelings of fullness and discomfort in your breasts.
- When breastfeeding, it’s advised that you let your baby finish the first breast before offering the second; you will know to switch breasts when your baby stops sucking and swallowing.
- Remember, little and often is key when breastfeeding! After all, your baby is only a baby, and can only manage so much milk at a time.
How can I improve/increase my milk supply?
You should ensure that you’re at your most relaxed and comfortable state during feeding times. Slow and deep breathing exercises, along with gentle breast and nipple massages, will help ease you into the new world of breastfeeding. Skin-to-skin contact is another key factor to improving your bonding experience with your newborn, and will encourage him/her to feed more frequently (whilst increasing your milk flow too!).
What signs should I look for to ensure my baby is feeding well?
Check whether your baby:
- Is breastfeeding frequently
- Has plenty of pale, wet nappies (changing at least 5-6 times a day)
- Has regular (soft) bowel movements (around 3+ times for babies under 6 weeks; less is usually fine for babies who are older)
- Is gaining weight at a steady rate
- Generally appears to be alert, active, and happy
Are there particular foods I should be eating/drinking for healthy breast milk?
A balanced wholesome diet is encouraged for anyone seeking to look after their health and wellbeing.
Side note: excluding allergenic foods (e.g. egg, dairy, nuts, soy) from your diet during your pregnancy and breastfeeding periods have not been proven to prevent babies from developing allergies.
For further information on breastfeeding, please visit: www.breastfeeding.asn.au/