Breast Feeding

For many women, the decision to breastfeed comes naturally. Beyond the many health benefits, breastfeeding gives you the opportunity to create unique and privileged contact with your baby. Here is some information to help you make the best decision for you and your child.

BREASTFEEDING: AN IMPORTANT ISSUE

When a woman is expecting a baby, she wants more than anything to be able to give him the best of herself. If you are pregnant, it is completely normal to ask yourself a lot of questions and to start preparing for the imminent arrival of the person whose well-being will become your priority. Breastfeeding is often at the top of a pregnant woman’s list of concerns and questions… and rightly so! The decision to breastfeed is a fundamental one that deserves reflection.

The woman’s body is capable of producing a perfectly formulated food to meet all the nutritional needs of infants. No other food is considered as high quality as breast milk, and its exclusive consumption until the age of 6 months is recommended by the medical community. The benefits of breast milk go far beyond dietary aspects. If you choose breastfeeding as your method of nutrition, it is a beneficial decision for several reasons, including the following:

  • You will simplify your lifestyle. Breastfeeding is practical and economical: nothing to clean, no milk to prepare, quantities to plan or equipment to handle.
  • You will provide food that is easy for your child to digest.
  • You will help stimulate the development of his brain and the maturation of his digestive and immune systems.
  • You will reduce the risk of having certain illnesses, such as infections (e.g. ear infections), allergies, digestive or respiratory illnesses.
  • You will promote the creation of a special bond and mutual attachment.
  • You will relax. When everything is going well, breastfeeding gives many women a very pleasant feeling of calm.
  • In the long term, breastfeeding will reduce your chances of developing certain diseases such as osteoporosis, breast, ovarian or uterine cancer.

The list of benefits of breastfeeding is long; talk to your healthcare professional to make an informed decision.

BEFORE THE BABY ARRIVES

During your pregnancy, start learning about breastfeeding, its benefits and its challenges. This way, you will be ready to overcome the small obstacles that may eventually arise. There is nothing to do to prepare the breasts before childbirth. During pregnancy, they are naturally prepared to produce milk. Buying or borrowing a nursing pillow and bra will make this task easier. Plus, you can prepare meals that you can freeze so you can focus on baby’s arrival.

Being well supported will help you make breastfeeding a success and a positive experience. Ask your healthcare professional (doctor, midwife or pharmacist) to find out what resources are available in your area. It is essential to know who to consult if a problem arises. If you wish, you can also be matched with a breastfeeding sponsor who can guide you and give you advice. Contact your CLSC (or organizations such as Nourri-Source or the Ligue de la Leche) for support or answers to your questions.

USEFUL TIPS

Here are some tips to make breastfeeding easier:

  • Within an hour of birth, keep your baby on you. He will start looking for your breast and this will also help your milk production. Offering the breast early will make things easier for him later on.
  • Stay close to him in the first hours and days to create contact and have the opportunity to breastfeed him often.
  • Breastfeed him on demand.
  • Check with the nurse or lactation consultant that your baby has a good latch before you leave the hospital or birthing center. Ask them to show you different breastfeeding positions.
  • Avoid skipping feedings, offering a pacifier or a bottle to your baby before the age of 4 to 6 weeks in order to promote your milk production.
  • If you have difficulty breastfeeding, seek help quickly. Several professionals can help you, such as your pharmacist. For most small problems related to breastfeeding, simple solutions exist.
  • Rest whenever you have the opportunity. Ask your loved ones to support you and help you with household chores or other tasks.
  • Eat well and drink plenty of water.

HOW LONG CAN YOU BREASTFEED?

The choice to breastfeed is a very personal one. However, you should know that several organizations, including Health Canada, recommend that babies be fed exclusively on breast milk for the first 6 months of their life and, after the introduction of foods, up to 2 years. Continuing breastfeeding depends on many factors and you may decide to breastfeed for 3 months, 6 months, 12 months or more. This decision is yours. Finally, some women choose not to breastfeed, to do mixed breastfeeding or to stop breastfeeding earlier depending on their personal situation. If you choose not to breastfeed or stop breastfeeding because you are having difficulty or for any other reason, don’t feel guilty. Your healthcare professional can advise you on the choice and use of formula milk.

THE PARTNER: AN ALLY IN BREASTFEEDING

The father’s support is crucial at the beginning and during the continuation of breastfeeding. At the beginning, he can help the mother to settle in comfortably and to put the baby to the breast. It is important to encourage the mother to continue breastfeeding even if difficulties arise. In addition, the father’s emotional bond with the child will develop in other ways than by feeding him, do not worry! You will be able to rock him after feeding him, change his diaper, give him a bath and dress him. All the small gestures that you make to facilitate breastfeeding and your partner’s task will be greatly appreciated and will allow you to feel that you are taking an active part in your baby’s well-being.

During pregnancy, take the time to prepare and enjoy every moment before your baby arrives. Giving birth to a child is one of the happiest experiences in life, both grandiose and unique. Breastfeeding is an action that can be learned and is beneficial for the whole family. Your pharmacist can provide you with information about breastfeeding and your baby’s health, as well as help you find solutions in the event of any pitfalls. Don’t hesitate to call on him at any stage of the process. Being a parent is the greatest source of joy and wonder, so don’t let worries stop you from enjoying it to the fullest!

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of Foodstrend.com, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on Foodstrend.com's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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