Beginning to Breastfeed
Giving birth is just the beginning of a beautiful journey with your little one. There will be quite a number of milestones that you will notice, especially in the first year of their life. Babies are born with the ability to suckle right from the beginning. Most experts recommend breastfeeding 6 months exclusively. This means that your baby will not be feeding on any other things besides breast milk. Eventually, when solid foods have been introduced, the recommendation is to keep breastfeeding at least for the first year.
As far as the frequency of breastfeeding your baby, it will vary from child to child. There are some who feed every 2 hours and others may last up to 3-4 hours before the next meal. When the baby gets to 6 months, the breastfeeding cycle will change and they may feed every 5 hours. There are a lot of benefits that have been associated with exclusive breastfeeding 6 months. Your baby will be protected from allergies, autoimmune diseases, and respiratory problems.
Studies show that breast milk has all the necessary nutrients that will promote healthy and normal development of the baby. In the first six months of the baby’s life, breast milk is the only food that they would know. Weaning comes at a later stage and it is advisable to transition to solid foods by first introducing baby formula. Always speak to an expert and learn the numerous benefits of breastfeeding your baby exclusively for the first 6 months of their lives.
The Benefits of Breastfeeding
Breastfeeding for 6 months may appear like a short and insignificant time. However, the very first days of breastfeeding your baby gets them all the nourishment that they need. Colostrum is produced by your breasts in the first days of breastfeeding and this will help in the solid development of the baby’s immune system.
Most babies who are breastfed exclusively for the first six months do not suffer from the common childhood diseases. As such, even with the temptation to start weaning early, you should make every effort to lactate your baby for the longest time possible.
When to Stop Breastfeeding
There are instances where breastfeeding 6 months exclusively may not be possible and weaning has to commence. For instance, when you have to return to work, studies, or other obligations, you may not be able to breastfeed your baby as you would wish. At this point, the easiest thing to do is a transition to infant formula and purees. If your baby is not 6 months old yet, the best option would be to express your breast milk and have it given in a bottle.
The ideal situation, which every mom should strive to achieve, is exclusive breastfeeding for 6 months. However, if this is not possible, look for healthy ways to wean your child and ensure that they are well-nourished. Always talk to lactation experts or your pediatrician for professional advice.