It is obvious that feeding your baby is one of the most fundamental things you can do to ensure your baby’s health, as well as his or her survival. It can be a rewarding and enjoyable time, and build a feeling of closeness between you and your baby. Babies get more than just nutrition from feeding times. They enjoy the cuddle, the comfort, the satisfaction of a full tummy, and the reassurance that someone is looking out for him or her.
One of the most important decisions you will need to make as a new parent is how to feed your baby. Feeding time can be a rewarding and enjoyable as you nurture your baby both physically and emotionally. The physical contact, closeness to mother or father, and the relief from hunger helps your baby develop into the wonderful person you know he or she will become. How you feed your baby has long-term health impacts as well as short-term effects.
Many mothers these days opt to start off breastfeeding. Breast milk supplies all the nutrients your baby needs. You can choose to nurse your baby for a short time or for over a year. It is a very personal decision and the normal physiological way to feed a human baby. Think about your feeding preferences when you are pregnant and determine what feeding method will work best for your family. In that way you can learn as much as you need about breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, if that is what you decide upon.
In making your decisions, there are some facts you can ponder. There is a higher risk of infection in non-breast fed babies. They are also more likely to spend time in the hospital during their first year of life. Your insurance status or how much money you have has nothing to do with it. Breastfed babies are at a lower risk of conditions such as eczema, asthma, and diabetes.
Many mothers need help and support to breastfeed, since it can be a little more difficult than it looks. To help mothers overcome problems and difficulties they encounter with being new to breastfeeding, good information and support is required.
A healthy baby with a healthy mother can begin to breast feed immediately after birth. You and your baby may need a little practice to get the hang of it, but once you do it will be convenient and easy. Virtually all mothers produce breast milk, and it is all your baby will need at least until you start solid foods. Breast milk contains antibodies that protect against infections. Breast milk can be very cost effective as well as the ultimate in convenient since it is always with you. Furthermore, it’s always at just the right temperature.
To keep your milk supply up you will need to breastfeed often. Your milk production may decrease if you select to both breast feed and bottle feed. If you find this is the case, you may wish to talk to a lactation consultant to work out how to best maintain your milk supply.
If you are unable to breastfeed your baby but still want him or her to have breast milk, you can bottle it. You can use a breast pump or express by hand. Breast milk can be stored either in the refrigerator for several days or in the freezer for up to three months.
If you choose not to breastfeed, your baby will need baby formula. Mixed feeding, or giving your baby some breast milk and some formula, is a good way to continue breastfeeding if you have to return to work, or if for some reason breastfeeding alone isn’t working for you and your baby.
No matter what you choose, your baby will grow and thrive not only from the nutrients in the food you provide but from the wonderful interaction you have with him or her during feeding times.