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Knock Down the Hurdles to Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is one of the greatest health advantages you can give your infant.

A breastfed baby may be less prone to ear infections and diarrhea. The child may also face less risk of developing diabetes, obesity, and asthma, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says. The AAP also recommends breastfeeding because of to its association with the reduced risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Ideally, you should breastfeed exclusively for the first six months, with a goal of continuing breast milk for at least the first year. But you may face obstacles.

Both mom and baby must learn how to breastfeed in the first few days. This is the time when antibody-rich and easily digestible colostrum is produced. Some mothers worry that colostrum isn't enough to nourish their baby, but it's the perfect food for newborns. Breast milk comes in for most mothers from two to five days after birth.

Moms who want to keep breastfeeding when they go back to work may face barriers such as a supervisor's lack of support or rigid work hours.

Knowing the hurdles helps you find ways around them. Here are some tips:

  • Tell the hospital you want only breast milk for your newborn, and keep your baby with you as much as possible for frequent feedings.

  • Don't worry if you don't have a lot of milk in the first 72 hours after the birth.

  • If your baby isn't latching on properly your nipples can get sore. Have an expert watch you feed your baby and offer suggestions.

  • Talk with your superiors and colleagues to arrange to breastfeed at work. If you let coworkers know how important breastfeeding is to your baby, they're more likely to help you.

  • You may experience minor pain from a plugged milk duct. Drinking lots of liquid and encouraging your baby to breastfeed frequently may resolve the problem. But if you're achy and feverish, see a doctor.

  • Get information from sound sources. These include your pediatrician, the AAP, or a certified lactation consultant, such as a member of the International Lactation Consultant Association.

  • Take care of yourself. Have a glass of vegetable juice or milk when you come home from work, relax, and breastfeed.

  • Be realistic about the hurdles of breastfeeding so you don't give up.