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Breast Feeding

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Breast Feeding


Benefits of breastfeeding

It's never too early to start thinking about how you're going to feed your baby. But you don't have to make up your mind until your baby is born.

In the UK, more than 73% of mothers start breastfeeding. These are some of the reasons why :

  • your breast milk is perfectly designed for your baby
  • breast milk protects your baby from infections and diseases
  • breastfeeding provides health benefits for you
  • breast milk is available for your baby whenever your baby needs it
  • breastfeeding can build a strong emotional bond between you and your baby
  • Health benefits of breastfeeding for your baby

    Breastfeeding has long-term benefits for your baby, lasting right into adulthood.

    Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

    Breastfeeding reduces your baby's risk of :

  • infections, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
  • diarrhoea and vomiting, with fewer visits to hospital as a result
  • sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • childhood leukaemia
  • type 2 diabetes
  • obesity
  • cardiovascular disease in adulthood
  • Giving nothing but breast milk is recommended for about the first six months (26 weeks) of your baby's life.

    After that, giving your baby breast milk alongside family foods for as long as you and your baby want will help them grow and develop healthily.

    Breast milk adapts as your baby grows to meet your baby's changing needs.

    Health benefits of breastfeeding for you

    Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.

    Breastfeeding lowers your risk of :

  • breast cancer
  • ovarian cancer
  • osteoporosis (weak bones)
  • cardiovascular disease
  • obesity
  • Breastfeeding During Pregnancy

    You may have just started adjusting to breastfeeding only to find out you are pregnant again. This might lead to a rush of questions and concerns. Is it safe to breastfeed while pregnant? How will this affect the fetus? How will this affect my weaning child? Can I breastfeed two children at once?

    All of these questions and feelings are understandable. While the decision of whether or not to breastfeed while pregnant is not always clear, an understanding of its benefits, its risks, and how ready you and your nursing child are to wean will help you determine what is best for everyone involved.

    It's Safe?

    Many women worry about breastfeeding while pregnant as breastfeeding can cause mild uterine contractions. However, in a healthy pregnancy, these contractions are not a concern, as they generally do not cause preterm labor. This is because oxytocin, the hormone released during breastfeeding that stimulates contractions, is usually released in such a small amount during breastfeeding that is not enough to cause preterm labor. Such contractions are also harmless to the fetus and rarely increase the chances of having a miscarriage. Also, although a small amount of pregnancy hormones pass into your milk, these hormones pose no risk to your child.

    While breastfeeding during pregnancy is generally considered safe, there are some cases where weaning may be advisable :
  • If you have a high-risk pregnancy or are at risk for preterm labor
  • If you are carrying twins
  • If you have been advised to avoid sex while pregnant
  • If you are having bleeding or uterine pain

  • If you experience these symptoms, talk with your doctor to determine whether weaning would be the best option for you, your nursling, and your unborn child.

    Potential Challenges

    While breastfeeding during pregnancy has its benefits, it may also present some challenges. For instance, some physical challenges may include nausea due to the let-down of milk as well as sore nipples. Nearly 75% of mothers experience sore nipples. Focusing your attention towards something other than the discomfort may provide some alleviation.

    Many women also have concerns that breastfeeding while pregnant may contribute to fatigue. Yes, fatigue is a normal part of all pregnancies. Thus, it is certainly understandable that you may be hesitant to breastfeed due to fear that it may require more energy and add to your fatigue. However, breastfeeding is not tiring in and of itself. Sitting or lying down to breastfeed may actually help ensure you get the extra rest you need.

    Eating Well

    If you decide to breastfeed while pregnant, it is essential that you eat well for the health of your nursing child and your unborn child. Your calorie intake will depend on how old your nursling is. You will need around 500 supplemental calories per day if your child is eating other foods besides breast milk or 650 more calories if he is less than six months old.

    This is in addition to the 350 extra calories you need during the second trimester and the 450 extra calories you need during the third trimester. If you are in your first trimester and find it difficult to eat due to nausea, you will be relieved that no additional calories are required during the first trimester.

    If you decide to breastfeed while pregnant, it is essential that you eat well for the health of your nursing child and your unborn child. Your calorie intake will depend on how old your nursling is. You will need around 500 supplemental calories per day if your child is eating other foods besides breast milk or 650 more calories if he is less than six months old.

    This is in addition to the 350 extra calories you need during the second trimester and the 450 extra calories you need during the third trimester. If you are in your first trimester and find it difficult to eat due to nausea, you will be relieved that no additional calories are required during the first trimester.