A mother gains weight during her pregnancy for the whole nine months till the delivery of the baby. After the delivery of the baby, the next challenge the mother faces lies in the raising of the infant. The baby should be started on breastfeeding at least an hour or two after birth if there is no problem whatsoever with both the mother and the child. This should continue till the child is 6 months to one year or till the mother feels that other liquids can compensate the breast milk.
Breastfeeding proves to be beneficial to the mother in many ways. It gives the mother time to bond with the baby, and thus provides the baby with a sense of security, warmth and comfort. The mother also loses weight gained in pregnancy with breastfeeding as breastfeeding burns calories. Another benefit of breastfeeding is that it gives time for the uterus to return to its original size, and also helps in stopping the bleeding that occurs after delivery. It has been proven that breastfeeding also reduces the risk of cancer in the breasts and ovaries.
Breast milk is definitely the best milk for babies. It has the right concentration of fat, water, sugar and protein that the baby needs in his first few months of development. Breast milk also contains antibodies that protect the infant from any harmful bacteria and viruses, which in turn defends the baby from disease and infection. Breastfeeding helps prevent the baby from becoming overweight or obese and also makes the breastfed child score higher on IQ tests when compared to kids who never drank breast milk.
The baby first feeds on thick, yellowish milk called colostrum. As this comes in small amounts, the mother may think that the baby is not getting enough nutrients. However, she should not worry as that is all that the baby needs. As new-born are usually sleepy most of the time, and will not cry when it’s time to eat, it is up to the mother to wake up the baby every hour or every couple of hours to feed him milk.
There are actually two ways in getting to know if the baby is getting the required amount of milk in her system. The first observation would be the baby’s weight. If the baby loses some weight that averages between 7 to 10% of the weight of the first few days, then it is presumed that the baby and the mother are healthy and normal and that everything is ok. The second way would be by keeping track of the number of diapers for the baby. Initially, breastfeeding produces little milk that is high in nutrients. During this time, the baby has to be changed at least two times a day. With the increase of milk supply, the changing of the baby may increase to 6 times a day, to normalize to around 3 or 4 changes later on.