Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Alternative namesNursing; Lactation
Breastfeeding is giving human breast milk to infants to meet their nutritional needs.
Choosing how and what to feed your baby is a personal decision that deserves careful and thorough consideration. Breast milk is the natural nutritional source for infants less than one year of age.
Most healthcare professionals (including the American Academy of Pediatricians and the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Associates and Practitioners) recommend breastfeeding for your baby's first year.
Breast milk is the best source of nutrition for the first six months of life. It contains appropriate amounts of carbohydrate , protein , and fat , and provides digestive enzymes, minerals, vitamins, and hormones that infants require. Breast milk also contains antibodies from the mother that can help the baby resist infections.
Experts agree that breastfeeding your baby for any length of time, regardless of how short, is of benefit to you and your baby.
You can provide your baby with breast milk by either breastfeeding or by feeding your baby breast milk from a bottle.
Breastfeeding your baby (directly from the breast):
Feeding your baby breast milk (which has been expressed):
Most doctors advise strictly breastfeeding for the first couple of weeks, until breastfeeding is firmly established, rather than switching back and forth to a bottle. This recommendation is based on the possibility of nipple confusion which can cause sucking and feeding problems for infants who are switched between breastfeeding and bottle feeding. After two months of age, most babies adapt to bottle nipples easily.
Breastfeeding is a natural function, but is not necessarily a natural instinct for mothers. Most mothers need information about how to feed their babies. Mothers also need support, encouragement, and assistance after birth to enjoy feeding and caring for their babies.
ADVANTAGES OF BREASTFEEDING
Research shows that breastfed babies may have less frequent:
Breastfed babies may have less risk of:
Moms who breastfeed their babies enjoy:
Moms who breastfeed their babies should:
If you run into any problems, contact a lactation consultant. Moms who breastfeed may experience:
Moms who breastfeed their babies may feel confused by lack of experience or support, afraid or ashamed to ask for help for such a "natural" activity.
Most problems can be easily managed with guidance from a lactation consultant.
Cow's milk by itself is not an adequate source of complete nutrition for infants. Commercially prepared formulas for bottle feeding are excellent sources of nutrition for babies who do not breastfeed.
Some circumstances can change your plans to breastfeed. How and what your baby eats may ultimately depend on the infant's physical condition and your health after birth. However, with help from a consultant, most babies -- even premature babies -- can breastfeed.
Some babies are unable to adequately breastfeed due to:
See a lactation consultant if you have a breast infection or breast abscess , breast cancer or other cancer, previous surgery or radiation treatment, or inadequate milk supply (uncommon).
Some mothers are advised NOT to breastfeed due to health problems such as:
See breastfeeding tips for ways to overcome common problems. Healthcare professionals such as physicians, dietitians, nurses, and nurse-midwives can help answer your questions.
An excellent resource is the for ways to overcome common problems. Healthcare professionals such as p . See breastfeeding support group .
Update Date: 3/19/2004A.D.A.M. editorial. Previously reviewed by Elizabeth Hait, M.D., Department of Pediatrics, Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network (5/8/2003).
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT