An Introduction to Breast Feeding

Latest statistics tell us that nearly 80% of all first time mothers give breast feeding a go. Of this percentage approximately 35% are still breast feeding when their child is 6 months old and down to 17% when the child is 1 year old. Breastfeeding can help to create a special bond between mother and child and brings a feeling of intimacy that many women remember for ever.

Consider your diet when breast feeding
All women are encouraged to have a healthy and balanced diet when they are pregnant. This should not change after you give birth and begin to breast feed. Make sure that you eat food from all of the different types of food categories and mix it up occasionally so that you do not get bored or over eat the same foods. It is especially important for a breast feeding mother to stay hydrated. It is thought that a vitamin D supplement is also helpful as it is needed to support healthy growth and development. Foods to avoid in high quantities are oily fish, caffeine and alcohol.

Breast feeding clothes
There is nothing better than a good nursing bra and set of maternity briefs whilst you are breastfeeding. Fumbling around trying to take off your bra when your baby is screaming for a feed is a recipe for disaster. Nursing bras have a flap sown in to the breast cup which can be unhooked with one hand (the other holding baby) to reveal the breast. In between feeds you may find that some of your milk leaks out and can cause unsightly marks. Avoid this by wearing breast pads. They come in both disposable and reusable variations depending on which you prefer. As well as preventing embarrassing marks breast pads absorb the milk that leaks out so that no soreness is caused to the nipple.

The first feed
Every mother is different and so is there birth experience. Usually your doctor or midwife will advise you to try an initial feed just a couple of hours after your baby is born. During the first few feeds they will only need a very tiny amount of milk but very frequently. As the days go on you will find that they do not need a feed quite so frequently and that they drink more milk at each feed. The colour and consistency of your breast milk will change over the first couple of weeks. It will start out being quite thick and yellowy and then after about a week it will become whiter and thinner.

Breast Feeding Duration
Many practitioners recommend that a baby should be purely fed on breast milk for the first 6 months at which point you can then begin to wean them. When you do start to wean you normally give the baby a mixture of solids and breast milk as opposed to stopping the milk altogether. Babies are ready for weaning at different stages and as a mother you will get a certain amount of intuition about the best time to start bringing them off the breast milk.

Breast feeding is very rewarding and the benefits of breast milk are great. However, for many reasons some women do not get on well with breast feeding and decide to bottle feed instead. All of us are different and we need to choose what is right for us and our children!

About: Vicky loves to write about pregnancy and parenting. She has a special interest in helping new mothers get to grips with breast feeding. She works alongside Lorna Drew who make maternity bras. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for us?

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