For many new mothers, breastfeeding is often a topic of both excitement and confusion. To be sure, the act of breastfeeding is, for many mothers, their way of nurturing and bonding with their newborn baby. However, most new mothers, certainly those who haven’t already had children prior to this experience, may not know what to expect, and may have numerous questions and concerns about the process.
Don’t worry if you are approaching the process of breastfeeding cautiously, or if you simply have questions about the topic. Instead read through this first-year breastfeeding guide to learn some basics and a few specifics about the topic of breastfeeding, as well as what to expect during your first year of being a mother.
Is Breastfeeding All That Important?
Before you begin, it is important to understand just how important breastfeeding can be to the development of a child. Of course, don’t be concerned if you are unable to breastfeed for whatever reason; that’s a discussion you should have with your doctor. However, if you are able, you should strongly consider breastfeeding as the best option to provide your newborn baby with nutrients.
Why is it important? Studies have shown that breastfeeding children can help protect them from certain age-related diseases, and that breastfeeding may even potentially have a correlation with stronger development over numerous categories throughout the child’s life. This information should certainly be taken into consideration if you are still unsure about the decision to breastfeed your infant.
Is My Baby Eating Enough?
One question possessed by many new mothers asks: is my child eating enough? And, if so, how can I tell? For one, if your child is able to achieve a solid latch while breastfeeding, you should take that as an initial success; a strong latch allows the baby to obtain the greatest amount of nutrients during the feeding process.
When it comes to the question about proper amount, that is often best left up to the advice and recommendations of a doctor. Some experts suggest that parents may be able to manage a good guess by looking at the quality and frequency of the newborn’s bowel movements; that being said, this should by no means serve as a scientific way to determine your child’s health. Instead, if you are unsure about whether or not your child is getting enough nutrients, or simply have questions about relative age and weight, speak to your newborn’s pediatrician who will have a better idea about your individual situation.
When is the Right Time to Breastfeed a Child?
As adults, we generally eat our daily meals according to the time presented on the clock. To be sure, while our stomachs may begin to growl around 11:00 in the morning, many of us may wait until 12:30 as the acceptable time to eat lunch.
However, the same schedule should not be followed when breastfeeding a newborn baby. Mother’s milk is digested differently (and perhaps quicker) than regular solid foods, and, as such, a child may need to eat on a more regular schedule to ensure that he or she is obtaining the proper amount of nutrients for healthy growth and development. So if your baby seems hungry, don’t wait until dinnertime to let him or her eat.
Should I Start Feeding My Child Solids? If So, When?
Naturally, during the first year (or even shortly thereafter) many new mothers begin to ask the same question: should I start feeding my child solids? When is the best time to do this? Ultimately, this depends on the individual child. Some children may have no issue with being weaned off of breastfeeding after only a year, while others may prefer breastfeeding to solid foods well after that.
Again, though, keep in mind that breastfeeding your child provides him or her with so many beneficial nutrients that there is no harm in waiting until the last minute to wean.
Are There Any Other Benefits of Breastfeeding?
Perhaps the most positive benefit of breastfeeding outside of the nutrients it provides your newborn baby is the special bond it helps facilitate between the mother and her child. To be sure, while you may not be excited to wake up in the middle of the night to breastfeed your newborn, and it may be frustrating when your child refuses to eat, even after you’ve tried numerous times, you should still take solace in the fact that this process allows you to share quality time with the new angel that has just appeared in your life.
First-Year Breastfeeding Guide
Overall, breastfeeding is one of nature’s miracles that helps provide nutrients for a child while bringing the baby closer to his or her mother. So this year, learn more about this process that is so vital to the development of your baby.