Obviously the longer you breastfeed your baby, the more benefits you both receive however, know that whatever your breastfeeding goals may be, any amount of breastfeeding is better than no breastfeeding at all!
Almost all women physically can breastfeed with the help of quality education and support. Remember though, while breastfeeding is natural it is a learned skill, so give yourself at least six weeks for everything to come together. With that said, here are 10 great reasons to breastfeed your baby:
- It all starts with the colostrum, which is a mum’s first milk. It’s so rich in antibodies and lots of other good stuff that we often call it baby’s first immunisation.
- The act of breastfeeding itself is super important because of the jaw action required, it helps develop those muscles and in turn promotes better tooth alignment.
- Breastfeeding improves baby’s eyesight and hand/eye coordination. The distance between baby and mum and the fact we swap breasts encourages eyesight development and helps baby develop a good aim!
- We can’t ignore all the lovely brain-boosting antibodies in breast milk that has never been able to be replicated in formula, which is why not being breastfed can lead to a lower IQ.
- Formula-fed babies just don’t have the same resistance to disease, especially ear infections and gastro. And it’s been proven that not breastfeeding increases the risk of SIDS.
- Breastfeeding helps your body return to your pre-pregnancy state quicker. The act of breastfeeding contracts the uterus quite quickly, and burns a few more kilojoules, about 1600 a day, as well as the fact that your metabolic rate is higher during lactation.
- If you haven’t breastfed, you are more likely to get cancer of the breast or ovaries, heart disease and osteoporosis.
- Periods take longer to return so it can be a natural contraceptive and child spacer.
- A breastfeed baby is very portable; you don’t need to take anything with you except your breasts! What’s easier than that?
- Breastfeeding is really important to our environment. The carbon footprint a breastfed baby leaves is virtually zero, yet for a formula-fed baby there’s the manufacture of formula, the tins, bottles, teats, sterilising equipment, even the extra sanitary products the mums require as well as the landfill when they are used and thrown away, then there’s all the extra dairy cattle to raise, and even all the fuel required for transportation, it just adds up and up.
The World Health Organisation recommends exclusive breastfeeding up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.
Gestational diabetes mellitus – also known as GDM, is diabetes which can occur during pregnancy. Many women who’ve been diagnosed with GDM won’t have diabetes after their baby is born, though some continue to have high levels of blood glucose and need treatment. Most women who are diagnosed with GDM have a normal pregnancy, labour and baby. It’s important that GDM is monitored and controlled, because risk factors increase when blood sugar levels remain high.
Many of us enjoy a cup of coffee or two a day and would find it difficult to give up. The good news is that even breastfeeding mothers can continue to drink coffee, or tea in moderation.
With a newborn comes many new skills to learn – one of them being how to safely wrap a baby. Wrapping (also known as swaddling) is a great strategy for parents to help their baby settle. Yet, new parents may understandably feel worried about their baby’s safety and getting it right. Read on for step-by-step guidelines on how to safely wrap a baby, plus some additional tips for safe wrapping.
One small person in a family is a very different arrangement than two, or more children. When a new baby comes into the mix, dynamics change and everyone needs to shuffle around until new positions are found.
Many parents have heard of bottle propping, also known as prop feeding. And most of us have seen babies sucking quietly away on their own.
Bottle propping is when, instead of the baby being held to drink their bottle, they are on their own. The bottle is supported by a pillow or blanket, even a soft toy so that it’s angled with the milk filling the neck of the bottle and the teat. The baby lies in their cot/pram/on the floor sucking away on their own.