Breastfeeding isn't always as simple as it looks on TV. Your baby may have difficulty latching on, or you may worry that he or she isn't feeding long enough. Familiarizing yourself with a few breastfeeding basics can provide much-needed reassurance, whether you're a new or experienced parent. White Oak Pediatrics in Raleigh, NC, supports breastfeeding mothers with helpful advice from pediatricians and a lactation education nurse.
How long should I breastfeed?
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding exclusively for six months, then supplementing breastfeeding with food until your baby is 12 months old. Of course, you can continue to breastfeed longer than 12 months if you wish.
What are the advantages of breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding offers benefits for both mother and child. Thanks to breastfeeding, your baby may have a reduced risk of ear infections, eczema, asthma, type 2 diabetes, and ear and respiratory infections. You may also have a lower risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or breast or ovarian cancer. Breastfeeding also helps your uterus return to its usual size more quickly and may help you burn more calories and lose those pregnancy pounds.
What can I eat or drink while breastfeeding?
Breastfeeding isn't the time to try a new diet. In fact, you'll need to consume about 500 more calories a day to make enough milk to feed your son or daughter. A healthy mixture of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats will help keep you and your baby healthy.
Since some substances can be passed on to your baby via your bloodstream, it's best to limit caffeine and avoid cigarettes completely. If you plan to celebrate a special occasion with an alcoholic drink, make sure you schedule breastfeeding for two hours after you finish the drink.
Breastfeeding isn't working. What can I do?
Before you decide that breastfeeding isn't for you, it's important to seek advice from the professionals. Your child's Raleigh pediatrician can offer suggestions or refer you to a lactation education nurse who has considerable experience with common breastfeeding issues, such as difficulty latching on, pain or low milk production. With a little help and support, breastfeeding can become a much more positive experience.
Do you have questions about breastfeeding? Call the pediatricians at White Oak Pediatrics in Raleigh, NC, at (919) 787-0266.