Breast feeding is always in
Breastfeeding is a skill that takes time to get the hang of. Lots of mums wonder if their baby’s feeding well and getting enough – especially in the first few days. But once you’ve mastered it, you’ll probably find it’s the easiest and most satisfying way to feed your baby.
Apart from the fact that breast milk is tailor-made for your baby, contains vitamins and minerals and is always available, it also offers protection from certain infections and helps improve your baby’s long-term health. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), childhood diabetes and leukaemia.
Any amount of breastfeeding is beneficial, but exclusively breastfeeding your baby for 6 months offers a lot more protection. There are benefits and advantages for you too – breastfeeding helps:
- your uterus get back down to size – after your baby is born, your uterus (womb) will gradually get smaller day-by-day, but breastfeeding will help speed this up
- you bond with your baby – breastfeeding is a lovely way to feel close and strengthen the bond between you and your baby
- release a hormone called “oxytocin” which helps you feel calm and connected to your baby
- protect your health – breastfeeding lowers your risk of breast cancer, ovarian cancer, osteoporosis (weak bones), diabetes and cardiovascular disease (conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels)
There are many benefits of carrying on breastfeeding after 6 months – your breast milk protects your baby from infections and there’s some evidence it helps them digest solid foods.
Reference: Breastfeeding | Feeding Your Baby | Start for Life (www.nhs.uk)
If you’re breastfeeding, you’re giving your baby nutrients that will promote growth and health. You might have questions, however, about what foods and drinks are best for you — and how your diet might affect your breast milk and your baby.
Understand the basics of breastfeeding nutrition.
Do I need extra calories while breastfeeding?
Yes, you might need to eat a little more — about an additional 330 to 400 calories a day — to give you the energy and nutrition to produce milk.
To get these extra calories, opt for nutrient-rich choices, such as a slice of whole-grain bread with a tablespoon (about 16 grams) of peanut butter, a medium banana or apple, and 8 ounces (about 227 grams) of yogurt.
What foods should I eat while breastfeeding?
Focus on making healthy choices to help fuel your milk production. Opt for protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, beans, lentils and seafood low in mercury. Choose a variety of whole grains as well as fruits and vegetables.
Eating a variety of foods while breastfeeding will change the flavor of your breast milk. This will expose your baby to different tastes, which might help him or her more easily accept solid foods down the road.
To make sure you and your baby are getting all of the vitamins you need, your health care provider might recommend continuing to take a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement until you wean your baby.
How much fluid do I need while breastfeeding?
Drink when you are thirsty, and drink more if your urine appears dark yellow. You might drink a glass of water or another beverage every time you breastfeed.