Breast Feeding Introduction
Benefits of Breast Feeding
We believe that breast-feeding offers many advantages over bottle-feeding. Breast milk provides maternal antibodies and white blood cells that help boost the newborn’s immune system. This is particularly beneficial for the first 4-6 weeks after birth. Additionally, breast milk fed babies have been shown to have fewer problems with food allergies when they are older. Breast-feeding can be more convenient than bottle-feeding since the milk is always warm, fresh, clean and readily available. Lastly, the emotional bond between mother and child is quite intense and satisfying during feedings.
The milk “comes in” between the second and fifth day postpartum. The breasts swell, and can become hard, sore and tender. Proper nursing techniques, along with some hot packs (hot, wet, wrung-out hand towels) should help the let-down. This phase lasts only a few days.
Scheduling of Feedings
There has been a recent movement to put the newborn on an exact 3-hour breast-feeding schedule. We are opposed to this for newborn infants. For the first 2-3 months of life, as much as possible, breast-feeding should be done “on-demand.” When the baby is hungry, he/she should be fed!
The baby needs to develop trust, to know instinctively that his/her needs will be met. Most newborn babies are not biologically capable of following a schedule. They may sleep 4-6 hours straight, or get hungry an hour after eating. You must learn to trust your parental instincts. Don’t let your newborn baby cry and suffer in order to satisfy some expert who says that you should “train” the baby to feed exactly every 3 hours.
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