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What we have to say about your health and well being
1
Aug 2016
Breastfeeding by Sumaiya Aya

Breastmilk is the best food for your baby

In the UK, more than 73% of mothers start breastfeeding. These are some of the reasons why:

  • your breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby
  • breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases
  • breastfeeding provides health benefits for you
  • breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it
  • breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby

Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

Breastfeeding has long-term benefits for your baby, lasting right into adulthood.

"The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits. Formula milk doesn't provide the same protection from illness and doesn't give you any health benefits."

Breastfeeding reduces the risk of:

Health benefits of breastfeeding for you

Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding lowers your risk of:

How long will I be breastfeeding for?

The Department of Health recommends that your baby has only breast milk for the first six months of her life. It also recommends that you carry on breastfeeding after your baby has started on solid foods, until the end of her first year and beyond, if you'd like to.
Continuing to breastfeed while introducing solid foods to your baby may benefit her immune system. She may also be less likely to develop health conditions such as coeliac disease and type 1 diabetes.
Most mums aim to breastfeed for between three months and 12 months, and some choose to breastfeed beyond the first year (extended breastfeeding). A lot depends on your individual circumstances and how you feel about it.

How to breastfeed

  • Get comfortable before a feed. Remember to relax your shoulders and arms when you feed.
  • Ensure your baby's head and body in a straight line
  • Hold your baby close to you, facing your breast. Support their neck, shoulders and back. They should be able to tilt their head back and swallow easily, and shouldn't have to reach out to feed.
  • Your baby needs to get a big mouthful of breast from beneath the nipple. Placing your baby with their nose level with your nipple will encourage them to open their mouth wide and attach to the breast well.

How to tell if your baby is getting enough milk

  • Your baby will appear content and satisfied after most feeds.
  • They should be healthy and gaining weight after the first two weeks.
  • Your breasts and nipples should not be sore.
  • After the first few days, your baby should have at least six wet nappies a day.
  • After the first few days, they should also pass at least two yellow stools every day

References

http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/pages/breastfeeding-positioning-attachment.aspx

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a613/breastfeeding-for-beginners

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/a613/breastfeeding-for-beginners

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