Why should I breastfeed?
* There are health risks to your baby if you do not breastfeed. Breast milk has agents (called antibodies) in it to help protect infants from bacteria and viruses. Babies who are not exclusively breastfed for 6 months are more likely to develop a wide range of infections diseases including ear infections, diarrhea, and respiratory illnesses. They are sick more often and have more doctor's visits. Infants who are not breastfed have a 21% higher postneonatal infant mortality rate in the U.S.
* Breastfed babies score higher on IQ tests in childhood, especially babies who were born prematurely.
* Nursing uses up extra calories, making it easier to lose the pounds of pregnancy. It also helps the uterus to get back to its original size and lessens any bleeding you might have after giving birth.
* Breastfeeding lowers the risk of breast and ovarian cancers and possibly the risk of hip fractures and osteoporosis after menopause.
* Breastfeeding can help you bond with your baby. Physical contact is important to newborns and can help them feel more secure, warm and comforted.
How do I know that my baby is getting enough milk from breastfeeding?
Always talk with your doctor before taking any medications. Most medications pass into your milk in small amounts. If you take medication for a chronic condition such as high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma, your medication may already have been studied in breastfeeding women, so you should be able to find information to help you make an informed decision with the help of your doctor. Newer medications and medications for rare disorders may have less information available. The American Academy of Pediatrics has information about many prescription and over-the-counter medications posted on their web site at: www.aap.org.
Breast pumps range in price from under $50 (manual pumps) to over $200 (electrical pumps that include a carrying case and an insulated section for storing milk containers). If you're only going to be away from your baby a few hours a week, then you can purchase a manual pump, or one of the less expensive ones. If you're going back to work, it is worth investing in a good quality electric pump. Some pumps can be purchased at baby supply stores or general department stores, but most high quality automatic pumps have to be purchased or rented from a lactation consultant, at a local hospital, or from a breastfeeding organization.
3. Nurse with the nipple and the areola (brown area surrounding the nipple) in the baby's mouth, not just the nipple.