Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breastfeeding FAQ

Breastfeeding is the healthiest way to feed a baby.  It can also be confusing, especially if you were not raised around it or have never breastfed a child before.  I have been breastfeeding my daughter for exactly 8 months today, and have never had to supplement with formula.  I often get asked questions from both nursing and non-nursing mothers, who had trouble finding answers to certain questions on the internet or got mixed answers.  There answers are all based on my own research, personal experience, and the experiences of the other breastfeeders in my family.  Some of these answers may be controversial, so I urge you to do your own research and trust YOUR body and baby!

Does breast feeding hurt?
After the first few weeks when your nipples are adjusting, no, breast feeding should not hurt.  During the first few weeks, some women(myself included) experience some pain or discomfort.  Lanolin works miracles on dry or cracked nipples, or just expressing some milk onto them and letting it dry.  If the pain persists past the first few weeks or is extreme, contact a lactation consultant.  Your baby might have a bad latch.

Why is breast best?
Breast milk is the perfect human food, in every way.  It is easy to digest, customized for your baby, and contains everything your baby needs to grow and thrive.  Formula can’t mimic all the enzymes and good bacteria in breast milk.  Formula is also not as easy to digest, leaving many babies constipated and/or causing tummy troubles. While it is certainly the next best thing to breast milk, formula can’t compare to human milk.

How do I know my baby is getting enough milk?
If you baby is having at least 5-6 wet diapers a day after the first day, and is gaining some weight, he or she is getting enough milk.  Keep in mind that most babies lose some weight after birth.  This is completely normal and does not mean your baby is not eating enough.  It is also normal for a newborn to be drowsy the first few days, and not very interested in eating.  This is also normal, and does NOT mean you need to give your baby formula!

Do I need to wake at night to feed?
Unless your baby is not gaining weight/having enough wet diapers and needs to eat more, then no, you do not need to wake your baby to feed him/her.  This is a controversial subject for some people, but when it comes down to it, your baby will let you know when she/he is hungry in most cases.

Do I need to give my baby vitamins?
As long as you are eating a healthy diet and/or taking prenatal vitamins, no, there is no reason to give a breastfed baby vitamins.  Breast milk is the perfect food and will give your baby everything he/she needs in most cases.

This post is NOT meant to shame, attack or otherwise offend mothers who cannot or do not breastfeed their children.  This was written purely to help mothers who have trouble finding answers to their questions and/or would like to hear their questions answered from a breastfeeding mother.

Do you have any questions about breastfeeding?  Leave them in the comments and I'll include them in another post in the coming months!

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