TThere is no question that breast milk contains everything that your baby needs for the first 6 months of their life. Breast milk contains nutrients and essential vitamins to promote healthy brain development and prevents risks of ear, chest and stomach infections, prevents diarrhea, Crohn's disease, colitis, SIDS and the risk of obesity later on in life.
Breast milk is always available, at the right temperature, and promotes healthy bonding between you and your baby.
Once your baby is born, the feedings will be frequent, and shorter in duration, ( this is where having their crib close to your bed comes in handy) as their little bodies mature and develop, and as their tummy's grow, their feedings will become less frequent and longer in duration. If you are worried that your baby isn't getting enough breast milk, here are some guidelines: To give you an idea your baby's stomach in only about the size of a cherry when they are born. Look for at least one wet diaper, and one soiled diaper the first day, on day two, at least 2 wet diapers, and by day 7, your baby should be having at least 6 wet diapers and 3 soiled diapers by this point.
Having encouragement and support around you is also important. When I was pregnant, my mother would brag to me about how wonderful and easy breast feeding was for her, that she could feed, pump, have extra milk stored in the fridge. To me it all sounded so simple, and I remember thinking- breastfeeding will be a breeze! Boy, was I wrong! Owen was a sleepy baby and would fall asleep almost immediately, I was having a hard time latching, he preferred one breast to the other, it became frustrating, I was tired, and feeling down.
Here is a valuable lesson that I learned through all of this, don't be afraid to ask for help. I contacted the local health unit, and had a visiting nurse come by the home to help me stimulate Owen, to keep him awake and interested. She showed me different breast feeding positions and surprisingly, the "football hold" (go figure), worked! A few days passed since the last visit with visiting the nurse and even though I thought I had breastfeeding down to a science, I still involved myself in a close by breastfeeding group. Although Owen and I were on our way to breastfeeding successfully, it was still great to hear that other Mother's were going through the same trouble with breastfeeding like I was. It was good to feel like I was not the only one, it was a good way to meet other mothers, and learn some valuable tips.
Breastfeeding and bonding with your baby is one of the most pleasurable aspects of motherhood and infant care. Enjoy it. :)
If you are interested in joining a breastfeeding group, La Leche League is a great resource to use, as they have mother to mother support groups and education, tips and tricks of breastfeeding. To find a group near you, you can visit their website at http://www.lllc.ca/