- Is naturally and uniquely produced—by each mother for her own baby. So your baby is less likely to be exposed to foreign allergenic material.
- Contains antibodies and other immune factors that help prevent illness.
- Has the right amount and quality of nutrients to meet your baby’s first food needs.
- Is easy on your baby’s digestive system, so there is less chance of constipation or diarrhea.
Breastfeeding offers your baby the best start, but it’s not always easy. Problems are common. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support.
What should breastfeeding mothers eat?
You should avoid dieting while you are breastfeeding.
What is colostrum?
You will know that your colostrum is changing into breast milk when it becomes milky white in colour and your breasts feel full. This is known as your milk “coming in”. The amount of time it takes for milk to “come in” varies from mother to mother. If your milk hasn’t come in within 72 hours of your baby’s birth, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor.
What is the difference between foremilk and hindmilk?
As the feed continues, foremilk is gradually replaced by rich, fatty hindmilk. Hindmilk will satisfy your baby’s hunger and provide the calories he needs.
How do I know when it’s time for a feeding?
Sometimes babies want to feed more frequently and for very short periods of time. This is called “cluster feeding” and often happens in the evening. “Cluster feeding” is normal and might mean your baby is going through a growth spurt.
When should I express breast milk?
If you will be away from your baby during feeding time, you can express your breast milk. This will allow your baby to drink breast milk from a cup or a bottle when you are not available.
Expressed breast milk is also a way to keep breastfeeding while your baby is in child care. Make sure the centre or home has a refrigerator. Breast milk has to be kept chilled until feeding time.
Are there ever reasons not to breastfeed?
If you have a medical condition or take prescription medications, always talk to your doctor before nursing your baby. With most prescription medications you can continue to breastfeed because only small amounts will pass through your breast milk.
How will I know if my baby is feeding well?
Feed your baby from each breast for as long as she wants and alternate the breast you begin with at each feeding.
Your baby is feeding well when:
- You hear short swallowing sounds (making a “K” sound) which gradually become longer and deeper as your milk is released.
- He is content after feeding.
- The nursing process isn’t painful.
- Your breasts feel full before and empty after.
How will I know if my baby isn’t feeding well?
Your baby isn’t feeding well when:
- You hear a lot of lip-smacking.
- She isn’t content after a feeding.
- The nursing process is painful.
How will I know if my baby is getting enough to eat?
Signs that tell you your baby is getting enough to eat include:
- Six or more wet diapers in a 24-hour period.
- Stools that are yellow, soft and seedy. Early on, these may come after every feeding. After the first month, stools may not be as frequent (1 bowel movement every 2 to 7 days), but they should be soft and yellow.
- Weight gain (your baby’s doctor will check at each visit).
What else should I know about breastfeeding?
- Wash your hands before breastfeeding.
- If you experience cracked or sore nipples, try exposing them to the air after each feeding, allowing them to dry naturally. You can also apply lanolin cream. You can buy a lanolin product at your local pharmacy.
- Avoid using soap on your nipples. Soap will wash away your breasts’ natural lubricants.
- Some women get mastitis, a serious bacterial infection which causes painful swelling of the breasts, and sometimes fever. If you have these symptoms, see your doctor. Mastitis is treated with antibiotics. You can continue to breastfeeding during treatment.
How should expressed breast milk be stored?
Breast milk can be stored for:
- 6 to 8 hours at room temperature (no warmer than 25°C [77°F]),
- up to 5 days in the refrigerator (at a temperature of below 4°C [<39°F]),
- 2 weeks in your refrigerator freezer (not in the door),
- 3-6 months in the freezer compartment of a refrigerator with separate doors, or
- 6-12 months in a separate chest-type freezer (at a temperature below -20°C [-4°F]).
Never mix fresh breast milk with chilled or frozen breast milk because it can cause bacteria to grow and lead to food poisoning
How do I prepare expressed breast milk for a feeding?
- Thaw frozen milk in the refrigerator and keep it there until you’re ready for it. Do not use a microwave to thaw or warm frozen expressed milk because it can affect the quality of the milk.