Are you pregnant and planning to breastfeed your baby? Here are some tips to help you get off to a good start when feeding your baby.
Breastfeed your baby immediately after birth. Your baby is awake and ready to learn to breastfeed during this time. Breastfeeding early will help you make more breast milk. Having your baby breastfeed well and often in the first week will help you build a healthy breast milk supply. Breastfeed your baby at least 8 times in 24 hours (day and night).
Breast milk is all your baby needs for the first 6 months. Giving your baby other foods or liquids before 6 months may decrease your breast milk supply and may affect your baby’s health.
In the first few days you will produce breast milk (colostrum) that is:
- thick like honey
- yellow in colour
- high in calories
- small in amount
This is all your baby needs. As you continue to breastfeed over the next few days your breast milk will:
- become white in colour
- increase in amount
- meet all your baby’s nutritional needs
Babies will let you know when they are hungry. It is best to breastfeed your baby when your baby is calm and before your baby is too hungry and crying. The following are signs that your baby is hungry and needs to breastfeed. Your baby:
- makes sucking or soft sounds
- puts her hands in her mouth
- is making more body movements
- makes sucking or licking movements with her mouth
Do not give your baby pacifiers or bottles. Babies need to learn how to suck at the breast. If you make an informed decision to use pacifiers or bottles it is best to wait until breastfeeding is well established usually around 4-6 weeks.
If you have any breastfeeding questions contact your health care professional or visit a breastfeeding clinic.
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